Sunday, February 3, 2013

What does it feel like to be a writer?

I subscribe to "The Writer." The print magazine arrives in my mailbox 12 times a year. It offers practical tips on writing for a living, writing because you want to, and writing because you need to. Typically, I find more than a few tips in each issue and easily can justify the subscription cost. (Actually, the subscription rate is very reasonable.)

"The Writer" frequently addresses how many writers don't really think of themselves as a "writer." I know the feeling. It's not like I think I should be wearing a beret to my office or anything. Maybe if I wrote more fiction I'd feel more like a writer. Maybe I should be yearning to write. (One thing I do yearn to do is use my forearm to swipe all the stuff of my desk. A swift and definitive windshield wipe.)

As one would expect, advertisements for writing programs punctuate the magazine. There is something for every level and for all types of degrees and certificates. One quarter-page ad was about "writing in Paris," which of course is the stereotypical dream of all writers.

That ad made me feel like a writer fraud. When I went to Paris I did not want to write. Indeed, I went there on vacation ... to get away from writing. I went there to see the sights, eat the food, drink the wine. I went there to get away from myself. To rejuvenate. So I could come home and pick up the writing.