Identifying my writer self
Ok hokey title yet still very important, it is something that I have been thinking about and discovering on this journey from hobby writer to professional writer.
What do you think of when I say writer?
At first I am thinking New York Times Best Seller List, author. People who write are authors. I need to make big money and be one of those! Yet even as I looked into it, which list? There are so many now, non-fiction, fiction, thriller, romance, children's literature? On and on it all comes back to the question anyone who takes on the blank page faces... "What do I write about?"
Time tells all.
Time tells a lot about what a writer can do. With small kids, a family, volunteer work and other various things that need to be done I don't have the brain cells or energy left at the end of the day to create cohesive string of thoughts to create a novel of any sort. Maybe one day.
I like the short bursts of information from blogging and article writing. The beauty of the blog is the ability to just let it go. Let the words flow and see what is there. Articles should have research behind them though I have read some articles where that clearly was not the case. However, to me integrity is so important and as such it is important to put best practices and best work out there. All you have as a writer is your reputation it should be protected with good work.
Journalism is another way to go. To be a journalist you need to be able to be mobile, do research and meet deadlines. This tends to be rather consuming and is good for single young people, or others who are otherwise unattached and have a much shorter list of distractions. There isn't much creativity going on in journalism just observe and report. If you do it well the story is there already you just put it on paper in a way that people might want to read. As opposed to the creative writer whose challenge is to keep it believable. However, other than that a creative writer can construct a completely new reality. I think that is why I am so attracted to the idea of creative writing one day.
The poet plays with words and pushes limits. Poetry done well is magical. However, it is not for the timid or impatient. I can create some poetry in the right mood, consistency is another thing. Patience is something I have little of and so I blog. That is my favorite method. Short and sweet, reality-based with some latitude of creativity. Not too much of a fact check extravaganza of course I do my best to be genuine and speak from the heart it's what I am most comfortable with.
A timeless truth and no less true in writing. Know thyself. What I am doing now on my writer's journey is trying out many kinds of writing styles to answer the question " Where are my strengths?"
Many topics, many styles trying them on like a child tries on her mother's clothes. Seeing what works and what doesn't as I take the journey to self discovery as a writer. I really like Julia Cameron's books from her program The Artist's Way to help with this process. I have found benefit from them. Yet I know enough to know ultimately it is a very personal and private experience (though I am sharing it with you).
No one can do the work for you nor tell you what will work for you. Primarily what I find works for me are the topics that get my heart racing. Which unfortunately for me has little to do with celebrity news. Which brings us to the second part of the equation of writing for a living and that is finding something you want to write AND something others want to read. People want to read Cosmopolitan however I can't stop blushing enough to write even a sample article. As my skills improve I may be able to fit in more with the Oprah magazine crowd that plays more to my strengths. However, I feel I need much more practice before that happens. We'll see how it goes. I believe in miracles. :)
Well that's it for today's installment. Children are now going crazy in the other room. Time to put the mom hat back on.
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Sophia Tesch is a graduate of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. Sophia is a community advocate. She lives in San Tan Valley, Arizona with her husband and children.