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« Daily Readings - John 13:31-36 | Main | What is worldliness? »
Saturday
Jul152017

Reflecting on "writers write."

A while back, Tim Challies wrote a brief article about how writers write. That reminded me of an anecdote a teacher shared with me from Mordecai Richler. Apparently, in front of an audience (students, if I remember correctly) Richler was asked for advice about how to write. He said to just write. Simple as that.

When people ask me what I do, I don't tell them I'm a writer. Even though I write a lot, that is not my occupation, and I know what they mean when they ask that question. I have been writing in some form since I got my first diary as an adolescent girl. Some of those hard backed black notebooks made their way into the fire at some point (something I wish now I had not done), but many of them live in a box in my attic. Hopefully, the mice haven't got into that box.

If we tell people we're writers, they assume we are paid for writing; that we have articles and books to show our work. My daughter, between undergraduate, Master's and PhD student years, spent ten years writing, and yet she wouldn't tell you she's a writer. She's a writer and researcher at her job today, but she probably wouldn't say that she's a writer per se.

In the past couple of years since I've begun seminary, I've written a lot. And I've written things that are much bigger and more complicated than a blog post. But I don't tell people I'm a writer. I write every day. In fact, I have a "Daily Writing Log" in my bullet journal, where I keep track of the goal I have set to write every day. But I don't tell people I'm a writer.

Sometimes, it really stands out to me how wage-driven we are. Of course, it's a necessity to have a wage. We all must eat. But we are more characterized by our earning power than anything else. To say I'm a stay-at-home mother says something about my wage earning potential, i.e. it's zero. We often treat people who have jobs which command a high wage differently than others. We make assumptions about people based on their employment. And yes, our employment is a huge part of who we are, because it is the majority of our daily lives.

Writing is a big part of what I do. I think in words, and when I'm reading, I'm often thinking about writing. But I don't say I'm a writer. I don't know if I ever will unless I produce something more than research papers. Until then, I will likely continue to tell people I'm a student. Telling people that will probably be easier on them then telling them that I've spent the last 28 years contributing nothing financially to my family other than a tax break for my husband. I have, however, produced a lot of writing in that time.

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