Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'd Really Like To Know

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When do you feel most like a writer?

When do you feel least like one?

I was thinking about this recently and realized my answers are:

most: when I'm actually writing. If the words are flowing or just eeking out, it feels authentic, genuine and organic.

least: when someone asks me about my writing. Particularly someone who is not a writer themselves. Something about stumbling over that novel description or trying to explain how difficult it is to get agented/published or how long the road is....

*sigh*

that's when I feel the least like a writer. It feels uncomfortable in that moment. Stilted. Rehearsed.

How about you? I'd really love to know!
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44 comments:

Jonathon Arntson said...

OMG, you hit the nail right on the head! When someone from my past runs into me, not only do I feel the least like a writer, I don't even want to be a writer at that moment.

Terresa said...

I feel most like a writer when it's late at night and my head has hit the pillow but the words keep flowing like a rich sauce. So I turn to my nightstand, flip to a blank spiral notebook page and scribble the best opening sentence to the Greatest American Novel ever written. (Until I wake up the next day and laugh when I try & decipher it!)

I feel least like a writer? Probably similar to what you wrote, among non-writers.

Sarah said...

I feel most like a writer when I'm writing something I know is good- or when I reread a portion I thought was good and discover it's STILL good.

The least? When I've wrestled with something for a while and it's still not working.

I've talked about writing to some non-writers recently and they've been tremendously encouraging. They've been nicer to me than I am to myself, sometimes.

Tess said...

Jonathan: so glad to know I'm not alone in that feeling....thanks!

Terresa: ha! I love that -- and have plenty of scribbled 3am notes that seemed brilliant at the moment only to lose their luster in the morning light. It is still a cool writerly moment, though - you are right.

Sarah: you are so blessed! and, please don't misunderstand, my friends are very kind...it's not them, it's totally me.

Amy Saia said...

I'll echo Sara with rereading something and knowing it is good--that's such a nice feeling!

Sharon Mayhew said...

Tess--I think it's hard to feel like a writer when you don't have a book in publication, especially when someone asks you what books you've written. I think lots of people assume that it's a much easier process than it really is...

My 13 year old is at 15,000 words on her first novel! She may be the one that gets published first in our family...

FREE fonts said...

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happy valentine 2010

Susan Fields said...

I feel most like a writer at 4am, wrapped up in my warm fleece blanket with my laptop on my lap and a pot of coffee on the table next to me - far and away my favorite part of the day! I probably feel least like a writer when I'm doing the other twelve million things that need to be done once the day gets rolling, and wishing I could get back to my laptop but knowing it's not going to happen.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Tess, I'm with you exactly.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Great question!

Most...when things are a'flowin' and when I'm tapped into God.
Least...when I'm believing the lies and discouragement.

~ Wendy

Janna Qualman said...

Yes! You nailed it, Tess. I'd say the same things, especially for when I least feel like a writer. It feels all wrong to try and explain myself, or justify the process.

Jody Hedlund said...

Mine is similar. When I share that I'm getting published and the person tells me of someone else they know who's getting published and with a little more probing I learn the person is really self-publishing. It's then I realize that even though I've worked SO hard to go traditionally, the average public really has no clue as to how hard or the difference between traditional and self publishing.

Scott said...

Most - when writing.
Least - when asked what I've published!

Now, back to 'most' - it doesn't have to be actual writing, fingers to keyboard, pen to paper. Sometimes, just tossing ideas around in my mind, working out scenarios, and all that jazz is great fun as well.

S

Jennifer Shirk said...

Sometimes when I'm plotting, I feel less like a writer. You would think it would get easier! LOL
When people ask me about writing, I feel like more of a writer. Isn't that funny?

Linda Kage said...

You know, I think I agree with you. Writing feels the most foreign to me when someone asks me about it.

Danyelle said...

Great question! I feel most like a writer when I'm confident, and least like a writer when my confidence cracks and I stop believing in myself.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Tess, I totally know what you mean. I don't know how to get over it. I keep thinking getting paid might help. But that seems a while off for me.

Free fonts are everywhere today.

Karen said...

Good ponder question!
most: When a new idea hits me and I sit down to get those first words onto paper.

least: When I've been doing non-writerly things like changing diapers, running errands, cleaning the house and suddenly realize, "Oh! I haven't touched a WIP in two days."

Michelle said...

I feel most like a writer when I'm writing, but also when I'm in the company of other writers. I get a "these are my people" feeling at writers' conferences. It's because I hear their stories and I can relate.

I feel least like a writer when I'm not writing and I know I could be, but I'm watching television or doing something else.

Elana Johnson said...

Excellent post, Tess. I feel like a writer when I'm writing too. Sometimes. Mostly when I'm rewriting, because then I know I'm actually making something what it should've been the first time.

I feel the least like a writer when I'm sadly, rewriting. Like, shouldn't I have gotten this the first time if I'm a real writer???

So for me, they're the same moment in time. My life is complicated.

Dominique said...

Tess, I think you nailed it in this post. Though, like Elana, I do get a strong writer feeling from rewriting passages from my books, because then I feel I'm really getting my idea out.

B.J. Anderson said...

I most feel like a writer when I'm writing. I feel least like a writer when I'm querying, lol. That's when I feel like a big fat sham.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Same. I feel the most like one when it flows. I feel the least like one when I get overwhelmed and wonder if I'm just fruitlessy dreaming.

WindyA said...

Wow, you really hit the spot, Tess. I most definitely feel like a writer when I'm in front of the keyboard, or with pen/paper in hand, whether I'm writing or revising. But as soon as someone says "oh, you're a writer?" I can't seem to find words to articulate a decent answer.

Carolyn V. said...

Most: When I'm at my table imagining worlds.

Least: Last week, when I ran into a famous author's uncle and embarrassed myself. I was so not a writer then. =)

Angie said...

Most like a writer: When I am writing. Or when someone responds positively to what I have written. Least like a writer: When a rejection letter comes. Weird, because that really ought to make me feel more like a writer.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Oh, Tess, me too!!!

I actually cringe when people ask about my writing because I don't have a book on the shelves, I don't have an agent and they just look at me like I'm a wannabe loser! Hate that!!

But when I'm writing, I know I can do this, I know I write well. And hopefully someday I'll have something to show for it that isn't just on my laptop!

Cindy said...

I feel most like a writer when I've finished a novel, polished it and am ready to submit it. I agree with not feeling like a writer when someone asks me about what I write. Especially when I stumble over my words.

Susan R. Mills said...

My answers would be the same as yours. I love it when I'm just writing and the words just flow onto the page. I don't like being questioned about my writing, though.

MG Higgins said...

Yes, what you said. Exactly. Especially that sense of being a writer when my writing flows "organically." It's so hard to convey that feeling to nonwriters, even good friends.

Jill Kemerer said...

Great questions! I feel most like a writer when I'm revising. I procrastinate less and really immerse myself.

I feel not like a writer at all when I procrastinate! Meeting my daily goals is a huge part of my writing identity.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I felt like a real writer when I'm so involved in my work that I don't notice a whole day fly by. Time stands still when I'm in a writing groove. That's the best feeling in the world.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I agree that I feel most like a writer when I'm in the midst of writing. But, also, when someone hands me one of my novels and asks me to sign it for them. Seeing my books in print, in someone's hands other than mine always stuns me, like I still can't quite believe that the words I once wrestled with are now in print--and that people are actually reading that print! It's a wild and wonderful writerly feeling that almost makes up for all those times when I'm not sure what I'm feeling like. ; )

Davin Malasarn said...

I feel most like a writer when I am sharing my work with other people. I feel like that when I'm writing too, but actually displaying it feels so much more finished. I feel least like a writer when I read about all the people in (usually writers and some agents) who don't call me a writer. That's depressing, even when I feel like it isn't true.

L.T. Elliot said...

I think you hit the nail on the head, Tess. I feel just the same way.

DL Hammons said...

When do I feel most like a writer?
When someone reads a piece of my manuscript and comments how much they liked the way I phrased something.

When do I feel least like a writer?
Five minutes later.

Michelle said...

I think I'm pretty much like you. I start shrinking when people ask me about my writing and how I plan to get published.

Jackee said...

You've got the size of it. When a nonwriter asks me about my writing I often feel like they're smirking at me and asking about an obsession as bizarre as underwater basket weaving. Even if they are nice about it, I feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. Silly of me, but there it is if I'm honest.

superpaige said...

So, I guess we should stop asking you about your writing. Being not much of a writer myself, I was so happy when someone reads one of my articles or a blog post and says, "That's good writing." It makes me feel like I could be a writer. Someday.

Abby Annis said...

I think my answers would be very similar to yours. I hate explaining my book to people. It makes me feel like such a poser. Great questions!

Robyn Campbell said...

Tess, My answers and your are the same. If someone asks me about my writing I go into a shell, or into a PANIC mode.

But when I am actually writing and words are coming at me with such force it is then that I KNOW, that I KNOW THAT, "hey, I'm a writer." And it feels so GOOD!!!!

Mary Aalgaard said...

I feel most like a writer when I start getting an idea from conversations and I pull out a pen and any old scrap of paper (last time it was the envelope the money comes back to you at the bank) and take notes! Also, seeing my words in print.

Not like a writer when I put off writing, or sit down to write and can't think of a darn thing to type.

Tess said...

Ah....no one really understands an aspiring author like other authors/aspiring authors. Thanks for listening and sharing. It helps :D And, for my non writing friends - thanks for peeking in on my neurotic-ness and not laughing (too loud) xo

PJ Hoover said...

Yes, when I'm writing. But the words have to be flowing during this time also to make the feeling complete.