What Makes You a Writer?

When you try to maintain a daily blog, it is easy to lose sight of your other writing goals. Blogging takes a up a lot of time, and if you work a more than full-time job during the day, coming home and writing one blog post is hard, let alone trying to write anything else. Or even tending to normal grooming habits. My eyebrows have retreated back to their 1995 state. When I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I am startled by the large caterpillars crawling over my face, only to remember I forgot to pluck. Five months ago.

There are times where I begin writing the semi-makings of a book or screenplay only to have them abandoned wayside like a Gosselin child. They start piling up in the graveyard of forgotten stories, occasionally seeing a sliver of light when free time and creative spark coincide- which rarely happens these days. Free time means relaxing. Writing can often be anything but. Where some people feel it is therapeutic, I feel that writing is a constant struggle, trying to regularly get better at something, but not really knowing if I am. It’s a challenge that my brain can’t accept on a daily basis, though will have to learn if I want to go anywhere.

Wading in the static of online life is what happens most of these days. Gobbling up minutes Stumbling, Tweeting, Facebook’in, and GooglePlus’in definitely leaves limited brain space for a writing piece longer than 1000 words. I can’t remember the last time I wrote more than two pages of a document. Was it back in college, when I was a screenwriting major? Hell bent on writing the next great screenplay for my generation? Gosh, writing a feature-length screenplay seems so difficult now. Writing a short story even seems painful. What happened to those characters that keep floating in the back of my brain, trying to break free, hoping one day they escape through paper? They seem like ghosts now. Spirits squashed dead by the minutia of technology.

And if only I could promise myself to shut it all down, run away to the beach or wooded spot, sit there, reconnecting with the planet, finding divine inspiration from everything that is natural. But who are we kidding? Constant inundation of information is what keeps us relevant. I am still too young to write about lifetimes before, so I need that information from others. I’m 28 and I only know what I’ve experienced. What sort of writer would I be if I relied on that? But instead, I get older, trying to figure out how to balance it all, feeling like I’m getting closer to figuring it out, but fearing that one day I’ll wake up 20 years older before I ever do.

But my life means something too. I can write about it, and I do. But sometimes I get tired of analyzing it. Dissecting it. Putting a flowery accent to it all. Sometimes I want to put on paper my new found joys of falling in love or the realization that the generations of my family our shifting into a time I never thought would come. Or sometimes I just want to live it and not be wondering if it would make a good blog post or a tweet.  Or sometimes I don’t want to verbalize to myself the reality of something that causes pain. But isn’t pain what makes a writer?

I’ve never thought myself as a writer because the only thing I’ve stuck with is this blog. This could be what is holding me back above all things. This precise statement, proclaiming that I’m not something, is making me write a blog post of excuses. Maybe it’s not about time, or energy, or technology, or the dislike of dealing with emotions. Maybe it’s the age old fear that one day I will be discovered to be a hack. Someone who can’t actually write. Who relies on dictionary.com. Who doesn’t proofread nearly enough. A girl that starts her sentences with “I” too much. A girl with a blog and nothing to else to show for.

Society tells us that blogging is not writing, but I’m telling myself now, I don’t believe it. If it makes us lose sight of our other writing goals, what could happen if it became the writing goal?

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  • Reply Allison July 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I will tell you now, you are a good writer. Your blog has nearly 2000 followers, it is a blog of note, yet it is all words and your experiences. People wouldn't be reading if your life sounded phony, mundane, or ill-written.
    Although I do love your blog, don't feel guilty for putting this blog to the side to write a screenplay. Because when you finish that screenplay, whether it is the one of our generation or not, you will be more proud of yourself than you would've been if you had made 50 blog posts in the meantime. Best of luck and I believe in you.

  • Reply vickichristine July 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    i blogged something very similar yesterday – deciding that i'm a writer. even when i tell people that and they ask me: oh, what do you write? a blog, i say. their response is usually a short: oh. faces full of question or disappointment or…pity? luckily though, it doesnt matter what they think! i sorta blogged about that too. love your blog! keep it up!

  • Reply Hipstercrite July 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Allison- Damn, girl. That brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for that. I hope this post doesn't sound like I'm fishing for compliments. Ha. It was just kind of a stream of consciousness thingy. I really appreciate your encouragement!

    @VickiChristine- Send me link! I'm looking for it on your blog….

  • Reply Mallory July 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    There are some people that make writing seem so easy. They write a flow of words that others read and say to themselves 'that's exactly how I feel, but I never in a million years could have put those feelings into words like that.'

    You are one of those people, in my opinion. Every time I read your posts, I am an awe of how well put and thought out your words are.

    So, if writing is something you struggle with…you fooled me. Your blog is awesome.

  • Reply girluntitled July 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    your blog is one of the only ones i read start to finish…let's keep the written word alive!

  • Reply Robert Stackhouse July 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    The difference between bloggers like us and the so called "Men of Letters" of the past is that they used paper.

  • Reply Brooke Farmer July 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    What makes you a writer?


    And blogging is becoming a more acceptable form all the time. A friend of mine emails me about the creation of the literary blog post as it's own, new genre that is being created day by day.

    Be part of that creation.

  • Reply Big Mark 243 July 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Lauren, you are an excellent writer. Your stories have a way of making me feel that I know all of the characters or have at least seen them wandering about Austin. This is pretty amazing since the closest I have been to Austin is Houston!!

    I don't have any advice… I am not nearly half the writer that you are… I only have encouragement and I hope that you get that screenplay written and produced!

  • Reply Tara Rose Stromberg July 20, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    It might be because I am too highly caffeinated with Excedrin right now to accurately form my words, but I don't even know where to begin on this one. If I allow myself to fleetingly believe that the universe moves in mysterious ways, I would take your blog about writing about not writing as a sign that everything happens for a reason. Or that somehow you have tapped into my brain. OR that we are somehow telepathically joined in alternate dimensions.

    WHATEVER the reason….your entry spoke to me today. It might not be comforting to know that there are people out there who feel the exact same way (hello! my name is Tara, and I am a neurotic would-be writer. We should have a coffee if you visit NY sometime…ever), but….you should. And if that doesn't help, know this….

    You just wrote a blog entry, and there are many people who haven't gotten even that far. Keep them big wheels turnin girl, like that Tina Turner song.

    And keep preaching to the rest of us.

  • Reply Adria July 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I feel your pain. I have hundreds (HUNDREDS) of word and final draft documents saved on my computer (and from past computers) that are under 500 words.

    I think persistence is key. Turning off the distractions and just writing. That's what I came to this cafe to do, though, and here I am. So who knows…

  • Reply smedette July 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    I keep a blog, but definitely do not consider myself a writer. I actually feel bad commenting on blogs belonging to writers because I worry they will click over to my pathetic blog.

    I'm in awe of writers and writers who blog and everything in between.

  • Reply Accidental Euphoria July 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Sometimes I read your posts and am convinced you have snuck into my apartment and discovered my diary hidden under my bed. You have a great way of connecting and sharing your stories and I identify so much with what you write. I have only recently begun to identify myself as a writer out loud to the world. I have blogged for years, contributed to school papers, and I have spirals and computer files overflowing in unfinished stories. Still, I often feel like an impostor saying it. I'm hoping if I say it more I will believe it more and perhaps it will inspire me to write more…we'll see.

  • Reply allie o'bannon July 21, 2011 at 3:50 am

    This. This is my life. Right now, in this very minute, this is my life. I've always thought of myself as a writer but the more I pour over the graveyard of half finished word documents on my hard drive the more I feel like a hack.

    You, however, are an amazing writer. I lurk more than I comment but when I see your blog pop up on google reader i am instantly happy. just so you know.

  • Reply HD July 21, 2011 at 6:33 am

    What Makes you A Writer?

    "There are times where I begin writing the semi-makings of a book or screenplay only to have them abandoned wayside like a Gosselin child.
    They start piling up in the graveyard of forgotten stories, occasionally seeing a sliver of light when free time and creative spark coincide- which rarely happens these days"

    THIS RIGHT HERE. Painting pictures with words. Crafting visuals with metaphors and comparisons. Making these puppies come to life on paper.

    This is what seperates writers from people who just take down words with a pencil. Honestly, I lose steam with my writing too. Heck, I might be about to take a break soon cause of a slight writer's block.
    But you strike me as a writer, simply based on what you posted here.
    I was in love with this piece as soon as my eyes glazed the title. She came through my LCD enforced screen, enticing me with her wit to give her a look.
    This is another example I did on the fly.

  • Reply Loulou July 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

    you are not fishing for compliments.

    you are a writer.


    ps: glad i have found this place!

  • Reply nova July 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I love the way you write.

  • Reply Sassy Stylings July 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    As a playwright, the one thing I've learned is to be disciplined. If you can, write every day. Don't wait for inspiration to "strike".

    Some of my best ideas have come about while attempting to write without a clue as to what I would write about.

    It's like anything you want to excel at, you get better with practice.

    That being said, you're already a great writer. There's something very engaging about your blog posts that always makes me want to keep reading.

    Whether you're a novelist, playwright, screenwriter or blogger, you're a writer. You translate ideas into words. And you're damn good at it.

  • Reply ISRAEL CARRASCO July 22, 2011 at 12:54 am

    I too have struggled with this. I came close to shutting down my blog but then it occurred to me that my blog sort of forces me to have a writing schedule. In "The Artist Way", the author recommends that you have a "date" by yourself at least once a week where you do that activity that brings you joy. I have felt burned out since my work and life scheduled got more intense and oftentimes I tell myself that I will "write" when I gvet home only to crash and fall asleep bc of exhaustion. I like what Bukowski aid about writing. It has to flow out of you (paraphrased). You can't want to write, it should come bursting out of you. If it doesn't, just wait.

  • Reply Dr Blood July 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Writing is writing whether it's a blog, a book or a shopping list. It's all about communication and you do it very well.

  • Reply ClevelandPoet July 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    blogging began (for me) as a way to help my creativity mingle and spread in a different form. I found things competing in my head and they needed an outlet and it started off wonderfully. It fueled my other writing and helped jettison the stuff I didn't need.

    life and work got in the way and blogging took up some of the energy that could have should have gone to other writing.

    I often debate with others who bash blog writing as not valid. I couldn't disagree more. I've found so many blogs (such as yours) that are filled with more creativity and energy than other "true art forms." It is these blogs that redouble my writing efforts and pushes me forward.

    I've always felt writing is about growing about building block by block. It takes pain, it takes effort and desire mixed in with the talent. It also takes real living and being.

    I say write that screenplay, write the blog do what the words let you.

    wow I am totally Mr. Cheesball cheerleader writer guy right now. Perhaps this post will force me to stop pretending it's okay that I've not worked on my play this week.

    ok pointless rambling rant over now.

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