I’m Not a Writer

Skyrim SE 7000 Steps

Not really. Not in the way that real writers feel an actual drive to write. I don’t mean to say this as an ‘Oh boohoo, please validate me’ way either. I’m not at all upset by this realisation. But it’s a thought that struck me while I was revisiting my NaNoWriMo/Writing story during my recent Blogger Recognition Award post. I slapped the title into drafts and then let it percolate in my mind a bit and to see where I landed with it after a few days.

It was the draft I acknowledged yesterday as not quite being ready to either throw away or to write about yet.

But I’m going to give it a go now.

Now, if you were inclined to argue — your first vector of attack might be the fact that… Well; hello I run this blog. And several before it to boot. Further, I would freely admit to you that by and large I enjoy the act of putting together a post and publishing it to the world. I’ll help you out further — English was far and away my favourite subject in school and even into University where, while I was doing a Bachelor of Science: Computer Science major — I kept with it as a general education paper. Specifically; Creative writing was my area of interest.

But to counter all that — starting with blogging here; I enjoy the benefits associated with blogging way more than actually putting these posts together. By which I mean — keeping in touch with the community; keeping track of my own history for later perusal; having an outlet to discuss my hobby of gaming… These are the reasons why for me.

Skyrim SE 7000 Steps Greybeards Citadel
Getting up these stairs was hard work — but still much easier than forcing oneself to be something one isn’t.

And I don’t think I was always cognisant of this fact. Certainly there was a time when I had aspirations of ‘being’ a writer. More: A published author of a successful fantasy series. But these aspirations were never really put to serious action. Sure I participated in a NaNo or three (and may yet do another). Yep, I researched the crap out of everything surrounding the art of writing and moving into being published.

But what I lacked was the drive to put those aspirations into actual tangible hard work. I loved the concept of being a writer far and away more than I loved the reality of being one. Brandon Sanderson — one of my favourite authors — has said he wrote 13 novels before managing to get one published. Thirteen. THIRTEEN! Craziness. I can’t push myself to finish writing just one.

And therein lies the crux of it. And the basis for the statement in the title of this post — I’m not a writer. Because anything bigger than a blog post really is a push. It isn’t something I have a burning desire to do that I simply cannot quench in any way other than writing. Nor do I have the discipline or inclination to push through that lack of desire long enough and hard enough to develop the craft to such a point where I might hit that umpteenth completed manuscript and have learnt enough to strike upon a winner.

But like I said at the top of this post — this is not something I’m upset about; it is just something I wanted to recognise. And by extension point out: You don’t have to ‘be’ a writer to enjoy the act of blogging. There is so much value to be found in it besides the simple act of writing, that it really have something for everyone. :)


This was a post for Blapril 2020, the annual blogging event (albeit usually as Blaugust), brought forward to help bring a sense of community during the challenging time of COVID-19. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year round!


Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

5 Responses

  1. There’s a big difference between being a fiction writer and a blogger. My writing career started out with short stories and I was confident I could write a novel. Then I realised they, too, required different skills. Maybe longform fiction isn’t for you, but short form still can. If you want, of course :)

    • Bhagpuss says:

      Tessa beat me to it there. My immediate response on reading the post was “but “writer” doesn’t mean “novelist”. The bookshop where I work is huge, sprawling across three large floors, but only about 15-20% of that space is occupied by fiction, even if you include the children’s section. Adult Fiction is still the largest-selling single category but its percentage share is falling year on year and has been for a long time.

      Most writers, by a huge margin, don’t write fiction and most readers don’t read it. Or certainly they don’t read it exclusively. Journalists, historians, popularizers of science, biographers, travellers and explorers, essayists, philosophers, advertizing copywriters, poets, playwrights, the authors of technical journals and instruction manuals and many, many more – they are all writers. And so are bloggers.

      I’ve been writing compulsively since I was about six or seven years old. I’ve dabbled in writing fiction but, like you, I could never get to grips with the sheer amount of effort required, plus I don’t have “ideas” for fiction. I’ve written millions of words over the years and almost all of it has been reportage, journalling, essays and reviews. Or just general, unclassifiable waffling. It’s all writing and that makes me a writer in the same way playing games for so many years makes me, objectively speaking, a gamer. I often rail against the latter qualification while embracing the former but someone looking at what I do, rather than what I say, would surely point out that both are no more than a basic description of the choices I make.

      We’re all writers if we write. It’s nothing more romantic or elective than that.

      • Naithin says:

        My immediate response to the both of you (before I finished reading your comment though, Bhagpuss!) was, ‘All true — but ‘writer’ isn’t really a label I identify as; even in the context of blogging.’

        There would have been more down that path, but then I did finish your comment, or rather, hit this particular part: “It’s all writing and that makes me a writer in the same way playing games for so many years makes me, objectively speaking, a gamer. I often rail against the latter qualification while embracing the former but someone looking at what I do, rather than what I say, would surely point out that both are no more than a basic description of the choices I make.”

        And objectively speaking; well I can’t (or at least won’t, hah) argue with that.

        Of course tis true.

        Considering a ‘writer’ as ‘one who writes’ which is 100% factually true, I am a writer by dint of what I do here.

        But I suppose my point was even within that context, I don’t do this for the sake of writing. I’m not a writer in the, I suppose, more romanticised version. I’m not a writer to the core, where there exists some primal urge to put words down whatever the form.

        Once upon a time I wanted to want that in that way. (And quite specifically for fiction too!)

        • An interesting topic. I do not quite share Bhagpuss’ opinion on writing making you a writer. If you fix stuff around your house, you’re not an electrician or a carpenter. Taking care of your garden does not make you a gardener. On the other hand, if you cook regularly and actively evolve your skills, you’re a home/hobby cook (still not a chef, though).

          The problem here is that “writer” is a very loose term. It’s like saying you’re an artist or a driver. Yes, technically writing just this one comment makes me a writer in a greater sense, and descriptions for different types of writers exist: bloggers, novelists, journalists, poets. All these people are writers.

          Plus, I’d argue that most people don’t think of the term “writer” in the objective way (that is: writing anything = writer), but the more “romanticised” way: a passion for storytelling, earning money (or at least getting published by someone), and a tight connection with books.

          Therefore, I’d say the distinction between writer and non-writer, especially on a platform where writing is the key aspect, is important. It’s also part of understanding what we do here. Most of us aren’t writers. In a professional sense, we’re not even bloggers. Basically, we’re just hobbyists playing around with the idea of being writers and bloggers. It’s for fun, and not really much more. Of course, that doesn’t devalue anything we do!

          But it’s still important to not lose track of this and acknowledging our “non-writer-state” helps see us “real” writers in a new light, appreciate their work, and see it for what it is: hard work, and not a pastime where people randomly get famous.

          • Naithin says:

            I suppose somewhere in the middle of these views is that recognition that the qualification of the terms — at least when it comes to something as big and broad as ‘writer’ — is pretty essential to properly defining the term as well.

            e.g., there is a gulf of difference between, “I’m a writer for the NYTimes” and “I’m a writer for a hobby-blog”.

            But I like the conclusions you reach too, around this not devaluing anything we do — but still providing ample room for increased respect for the hard work that goes into those who can publish longform fiction or even more generally do it as a profession.

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