Maybe today, I’ll be a real writer. Because I said so. Because starting today, and for the next week and a half, I’m spending six hours a day locked to a chair, in a cafe with my laptop (resolutely ignoring the internet’s sirenic song) so I can finish The Damn Book. Isn’t it funny how people get these rules-for-being-a-REALLY REAL-artist embedded in their brains? You’re only an author if you sell something. You’re only an writer if you’re drunk and suicidal. You’re only a writer if you dig yourself a hole, crouch in it and write your epic in your own blood on your own skin, surviving only on fingernails and muse-piss.
I’ll be honest: I’ve been a writer since I was nine. A real one because, you know, I write things. But I don’t feel the need shove the fact in people’s faces. I don’t stagger about, spraying out my self-appointed title like it’s lifeblood (though writing does happen to constitute a good portion of mine) which can obviously only be shared and disseminated by ripping out my jugular and hosing everyone down with my hot hot true writer-ly AWESOME.
Like this woman I met at the teen writing club I used to coordinate. First, I was confused as to why a seventy year old showed up to an event with teen in the title. But everyone was comfortable with her being there, so the age difference didn’t matter. What did matter was her constant self-promotion. I write memoirs! I teach memoir-writing workshops! Writer’s Digest is publishing my book, so Ima Writer! All those things are awesome (except the Writer’s Digest bit. I am not impressed with anything Writer’s Digest-related. Unless it involves bonfires…), but really. Writers talk about writing. Not credentials. (I made that up. I have no idea what writers talk about, because we are human and weird and prone to tangents.) If you’re a writer, we’ll figure it out. Cause you’re at a writing club…
So anyway, I’m going to a cafe to finish my book, but really only so I can call myself a real writer. Or maybe it’s because nine years is far too long to work on a book and it needs to be done. Most people would say that if it’s taken that long, burn it. And I probably should. Only, I’m THIS close, so I’m going to finish the gods-damned thing and write the next one in five months. The. End.