Do I Count?

It always amazes me that some people actually enjoy classic literature. Even in high school I rarely read a book that was assigned, though I’ve considered myself an avid reader since age 4. Back at Christmas time Danielle mentioned that she reads classic literature for each holiday, Dickens for Christmas. I remember being blown away like, wow, she’s a real reader. Then what am I? As I reread Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the second time and regularly enjoy Young Adult novels, chick lit, and anything at the top of the New York Times Bestseller list. Somehow even though I understand the importance of those classics, I probably won’t be mad at my children if they spark notes every damn one. Unless at some point my parenting strategy includes “do as I say, not as I do”. I want to love the classics. I admire those who genuinely do. I just don’t.




My thoughts on being a writer are similarly jumbled. I don’t put pen to paper. I don’t dream up characters, plot lines, or themes. Most mornings I drink coffee, turn on a tv show I’m way too old to be watching (today it’s Vampire Diaries), and sit criss-cross applesauce with my computer in my lap. Didn’t you know calling it Indian style isn’t PC anymore? Oops. I open one of my now 94 blog post drafts. I pick at it for a while. Is it working for me today? Do I have new ideas to contribute? Do I have anything to say? Some days, like today, I start fresh. The curser blinks at me wildly and it usually takes me an hour or two, starting and stopping many times, to find something I think may be worth posting. The creative process isn’t easy for me. My brain works in fragments and I rarely write one post all in one sitting. 


It took me a long time to start to sound like myself in writing. To unlearn everything I’d learned in school. Most of my writing up until I started blogging was in essay form, written days (or hours) before it was due, hastily and about topics I just didn’t care about. In blogging, that type of writing just doesn’t translate. Sure, some people pull it off by being the deep, thought provoking blogger. But I’m not that. My early blog posts don’t sound like how I’d speak in real life. The writing is too formal, and frankly it’s not much fun to read. 

2nd Grade Nadine wanted to be a writer. Is she one today?


One thing that really helped me is actually talking my posts out. I use the Dragon Dictation app on my iPhone (usually while driving) and just talk. Even though you have to say out loud “period” to end each sentence, the way you talk sounds a lot more natural and it’s easier to stop yourself from defaulting back to academic speak. I still do sometimes and mark my words, those posts are always less popular than the ones where I’m more off the cuff, more “me” sounding. Because blogging isn’t about proper grammar, perfect punctuation, and sounding wildly intelligent all the time. The cheesiest thing of all? Maybe it’s just about being yourself and relating to other people.

So if I’m just writing on this little blog, do I count as a writer? Fellow bloggers, do you feel like a writer?

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  • Liz

    I like to think of myself as a writer (I do get paid to pretty much be a copywriter, after all), but when it really comes down to writing in my own voice, without any reservation or pretention, it can be really hard — this post is a great reminder that it’s hard for everyone!

    xo, Liz
    {What Dress Code?}

  • Definitely downloading that app today – thanks for the recommendation! And yes, you are definitely a writer. I thoroughly enjoy reading each of your posts, and as long as you enjoy writing them , that’s all that matters in my book! xo

  • I like to think that as bloggers we are writers. Think about it, we may not be getting paid for it (most of the time) but there are people out there willing to read our work. They actually want to know what we have to say! It’s pretty cool it you think about it more. I also think writing is kind of like running. Some people run but know if they’re runners. If you’re running your a runner. So if you’re actually taking the time to write and put your heart into your work, I think you’re a writer. Love this post by the way 🙂

  • If you write, you are a writer. However, we all have our own styles and preferences. You don’t prefer classics, and in a similar way, I don’t usually prefer to read blogs that aren’t written very well. Either it’s too random and not cohesive or it’s boring writing or whatever else. But everyone is going to feel differently about different blogs, which is why it’s so great that there are so many out there! And why we shouldn’t get our feelings hurt if someone unfollows us or doesn’t like our blogs, right? Because they just might not like our style, and I think that’s okay. Great post! I love thinking about stuff like this. ALSO, 94 drafts?! Dang! I thought I had a lot with 24 🙂

  • I like reading true crime books…and also mystery/thrillers (so I guess fake crime books? lol). My tv shows reflect the same interests I’ve noticed…except that I LOVE Grey’s Anatomy.

    Also, I consider myself a writer. I mean, you have to come up with your ideas, write them out, edit, etc. You may not be professionally published, but you’re still writing.

    One way I try to keep my blog posts to sound like me is reading them out loud after I write them (PRIOR to publishing them). If there is a sentence or paragraph that doesn’t sound like me, I rewrite it. 🙂

    xx

  • I definitely consider myself a writer!

    & is that app free?

  • I read bits and pieces of everything – and right now I’m listening to The Chamber of Secrets in my office while I work. And honestly, I feel like Harry Potter is literature. If it isn’t considered that now, it will be later. It’s a modern classic!

    As for writing, I go back and forth. I think it’s because my blog writing, and my other writing are so different. I really want to publish a novel someday, and my novels are COMPLETELY different than what I put on my blog. Sometimes I go all deep and stuff on my blog, other times I don’t. But I feel like if you write at all, then you are. Or even if you just hit that publish button you are. And good writing varies, which I think you’ve stated. Good writing for a blog, is going to be way different than good writing for an essay or a paper or a novel. I think you’re good at what you do!

  • My early blog posts were way boring and formal too! I was always trying to be too perfect and write the way I learned one should in school. You do have to write differently on a blog so that your personality shines and it’s more interesting to read. I really want to consider myself a “real” writer but I don’t think I will unless I actually publish a book. Or unless I was actually getting paid regularly to write. I’ve been paid for something I wrote (not a lot) but I don’t even think that counts. I guess I’ll just have to keep working on that novel.

  • Sometimes I think of myself as a writer. My blog is definitely more text based than pretty pictures or tutorials. I really miss college in the sense of writing. I told my mom the other day I’d go back to grad school in a heart beat just to write papers. I know…I’m such a nerd. I think of my blog as my creative outlet. There are literally volumes of journals hidden somewhere at my mother’s house, and now I blog. So yes. You count!

  • I definitely don’t feel like a writer. I feel like my posts are just longer Facebook statuses (is that a word?).

  • I totally understand this. It goes against every I’ve preached to my students in the past, but it’s the way I write. Sometimes it takes me months to finish a post…literally. I just pick at it when I feel like coming back to it. Some never make it out of “draft” because I’ve lost the will to pick at it. Right now, I’m writing while watching America’s Next Top Model. Not exactly a step above V. Diaries 🙂

  • I know this post is about so much more, but I’m rereading the HP series too! I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it! On another note, I definitely agree that the best posts are the ones where the writer sounds genuine and where they sound like themselves.

  • Hmmm using Dragon Dictation…brilliant. I need to start doing that..my idea pop in at the most inopportune times and I lose it later.

  • I start my day the same way- coffee, TV (Vampire Diaries for me too today), and my computer on my lap 🙂
    I don’t feel like I count as a writer. To me, it feels like a goal, like I’m a wannabe. Which is strange because it’s not something I hope to do someday – it’s something I do everyday. Like you, it took me a while to sound like myself. The more I sound like me, the more comfortable I am with the idea that I’m a writer, but I still don’t feel like I’m there yet.

  • I think that’s such an interesting question. I’ve never thought of myself as a writer, but when I tell people that I have a blog, they tell me I am. I always associate being a writer with being an author, but I guess a writer could be anyone that writes – authors, journalists, bloggers, etc. I suppose bloggers could consider themselves writers as well.

  • I think you are a write and what a great intro!

    xx
    Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • I definitely consider myself a writer and I think blogging helps with that. I talk about different issues and being an activist, so sometimes my writing is more formal but blogging helps. Although my posts are definitely longer than many other blogs, I’ve gone back to read old posts and I can see the difference in style and technique. It’s something that I get excited about and I’m hoping will translate into writing a book.

  • I consider myself a writer, I do. but that’s because I could possibly be lying to myself. I like to think that this has grown from a hobby to an actual way of life. if that makes sense?

  • You are totally a writer! I have a post on a similar topic written for tomorrow, about trying to be a “real” writer (author?) and hating it. Blogging is so much more “me”. And it seems to be perfect for you as well because I always love what you write!

  • Haha, Nadine!! I am so flattered that you think I’m a “real reader.” 😉 I do love my classics, no doubt. But I’m also a HUGE fan of Harry Potter and the Hunger Games! I love to dabble in a bit of everything. And, from one writer to another, you are a writer, my dear!! And a very thoughtful one at that (as you proved in this post). It takes a while to find your voice and it can be a continuous struggle. I still struggle with it all the time! I think we all do and that’s why so many can relate to this post.

    You keep writing and I’ll keep reading!! 🙂

  • I teach English, and I just did a post all about how to better appreciate the classics. If you’ve ever got the inkling to give it a go, check it out 🙂

    http://autodidacticambitions.blogspot.com/2013/08/suggestions-for-reading-classics.html

    P.S. I’ve adored your blog from the moment I first found it, so keep on writing!

  • I look forward to your posts every day. I’m a reader of YOUR writing. You’re inspirational, freaking hilarious, and allow all of us strangers into your beautiful life. That’s a writer to me. A true writer.

    XOXO Fal
    Falfindshappiness.blogspot.com

  • I struggle with the same thing! I want to come off as “me” as possible when I write. All those essays made my writing stiff. I love the idea of speaking out your writing though! I’ll try that app out.

    -Angelina
    http://www.The360woman.blogspot.com

  • I’m an English major, and I hate the classics too! I just cannot get into literature, nuh-uh, not for me. Although I’m sure my blog is going to suffer TERRIBLY as I try to balance blogging along with essay-writing. (Ew.)

  • This post really spoke to me, Nadine! I like to think of myself as a writer in many ways and I’ve always loved the craft, but I can relate to so many things about your own writing process.
    I also found it interesting to hear how you blog. So many people blog that I think I forget that we each do it differently. I was especially intrigued by the fact that you write in fragments, always have many posts that you’re working on, and rarely finish a post in one sitting. I am sort of the opposite. I write down ideas, but almost never start and stop posts. I have to write them in one sitting otherwise when I come back to it later, it’s hard for me to get back into the exact mindset I had before. Anyways, I really enjoyed hearing about how you do things and loved that you brought up the connecting bloggers and writers share. After all, we are all part of the same craft! 🙂

  • I consider myself a writer, and I’m pursuing a career in words. I think blogging is definitely one way to pursue writing–though I think we all consider it slightly more of an ‘accomplishment’ to get published ‘for real’ as opposed to the self-publishing we do on our blogs every day. I know I do. Probably because…of course I think my own blog posts are good, but other people are much harder to impress, and when I get an article accepted for publication in a magazine, I feel, “Yes, Rachel, someone else approved of your writing.” It’s just that extra note of affirmation. But writers can be writers in many different ways. One time my Mom told me, after reading something of mine, “Rachel, don’t always say you want to be a writer. You are a writer. You say you want to be a writer because you want to make a living off of it…but whether or not you make a living, you already are. You have that talent.” Those words have stuck with me a long time.

  • It’s so funny that you posted this. I was scheming up something similar. I was on a phone call last week and the guy I was speaking to said that I AM a writer. I may not write stories or novels, but I have a passion for writing. I like to be sure my point is conveyed through what I’m typing. I want to the person to experience what I did or recall their own similar experience. He said that is who a writer is. Someone who tells a story that others see themselves in and relate to.

    You are a writer.

  • I think this is an interesting question/point. As bloggers do we count as legit writers? I’ve always wanted to be a writer, that was my one and only goal was to be a published author. I’m one of those typical english majors/professional writing minor people who love the classics, who study them intensively (with multiple copies, tons of highlighters and sticky notes). I’m the dork that drops references to Anglo-Norman lit in everyday conversation. But I also love contemporary works as well. And even though Harry Potter isn’t a classic (although they say in the future it will be considered a classic of our time period), I think Harry Potter is the best thing to hit the earth.

    But do I consider myself, who writes my own blog, a writer? Well, kind of – but not really. I think of myself as a “blog writer” just like when I write for my newspaper I consider myself a ‘journalist.’ But for me, I take a lot of pride in the word writer & I don’t want to doll it out easily. I feel like it’s a title that you have to work for. You have to prove yourself in order to have that title. So until I become a solid published author, until I’ve written something that I firmly believe is a true work of art I won’t officially call myself a writer. Idk I just feel like Hemingway was a writer. Chaucer was a writer. Salinger was a writer. Rowling is a writer. Collins is a writer. I just do not feel that at this point I could meet JK Rowling and say with confidence “I am a writer, too.” She’s the true writer, not me. At least, not yet. But I will be 🙂

    Zauni | The Kind Side

  • I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Many of my posts don’t sound like what I sound like in real life. Academia has taken over my style of writing.

    I’m gonna have to look into that Dragon Dictation app. Thanks lady!

  • I’m so far behind! Thank you so much for posting my spotlight on such an awesome, awesome post. We use the Dragon for case notes in counseling… isn’t it the BEST?!

  • I’m working on a novel and I don’t even consider myself a writer! And I also never liked reading the classics lol.

    Also, I freaking LOVE the vampire diaries even though I’m too old for it.

  • I’ve heard great things about dragon — I need to try it!

    PS, I’m the same way about both. I work with some high schoolers that are really eager to prove themselves as serious academics and serious readers and won’t stop talking about classical books or books about the most ridiculous things that i am sooo over. I read 50 shades of grey… does that count? Yes, it does.

    We write. A diary some days. A joke on others. Some posts are horrible, some posts are great. (Some posts I write and then don’t edit at all and people probably think I didn’t pass high school.) The point is that we put our thoughts into writing, whatever they may be, and we are writers for it.

    XO.

  • I love this. I have two cousins who truly are fantastic writers. They are more poetic and Fitzgerald-y than my every-day talk on the blog. They also read classics. One of the two has her book shelves lined with them, and every time I see them I think, “maybe I should start trying to get into classics…”. Charles Dickens – Tale of Two Cities – was the prescribed book for my final year of school, and I hated it. I have no shame in saying that – it definitely wasn’t my thing. This post reminded me that I don’t need to feel bad for the person that I am, the style of my writing or the books that I love and the ones that I don’t like. Thank you!

  • Very good post! We are linking to this great article on our website.
    Keep up the great writing.

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