Feeling like a writer

When do you feel like a writer?

An obvious answer might be “when you’re writing,” but that’s not true for me.

When I write fiction, and it’s going well, I don’t feel like anything or anyone in particular — “I” has retreated and if she’s anywhere, she’s somewhere inside the world of the story. When I write fiction and it isn’t going well, I hear a critical chorus in my head detailing everything that’s wrong, and if I’m conscious of myself at all as a writer, it’s simply as a wildly inadequate one.

When I blog, I feel like a blogger, and although that’s perhaps a false distinction, blogging versus writing, it’s one that I nonetheless make.

I’ve kept paper journals intermittently since I was in kindergarten. One of my earliest entries revealed my deep concern for Batman, who’d been capchurd, and Robin, who was going to be diceed.



But when I write in a paper journal, I’m either a chronicler of the quotidian or, more often, a roiling mass of anxieties and sloppy penmanship. I don’t think of that as writing, either.

Another answer that might seem appropriate: “when you look at your published writing.” Nope. I can look at copies of Rules or Empress and recognize that yes, I did indeed write those books, but that was then. I understand intellectually that it’s not like there’s an expiration date, but again, that’s how I feel.

So, geez, when do you feel like a writer?

When I’m introduced as one.

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