NaNoWriMo starts in two days. For a lot of writers, November is an exciting time to take a chance, accomplish a goal, or maybe even cheat a little bit. But for me, it’s my annual reminder that I’m not a real writer.
Although I spend my Mondays-Fridays writing emails, marketing copy, video scripts, customer stories, and anything else a mid-sized software company might want immortalized in text, when I tell people I’m a writer, the very first thing they always ask is, “So you, like, write novels or something?”
And when I reply, “Nope, I’m really not interested in that,” they earnestly respond, “What about poetry? Short stories?”
No, and also no.
Incredulous looks and the occasional sigh come my way.
Obviously, I am a real writer. I get paid to write things. I write in my free time. I’m writing this blog right now, and then I’ll probably go write a Tweet or two. But that doesn’t change the stereotype.
What people picture when you say you’re a writer is probably closer to a tortured soul furiously typing on typewriter taking swigs of whiskey right from the bottle as the wee hours of morning pass by and a cold sun rises on a grey horizon. And not so much a well-rested twenty-something click clacking away on a laptop in an office building.
But frankly, I think that’s bullshit. Just because I’m not tortured doesn’t mean I’m not a writer. It’s still my craft. I still enjoy getting creative on the page, even if I’m not a creative writer in the traditional sense. And I don’t think I’m the only one.