Something I struggled with in college was this kind of shaming of my writing. My first creative writing class was taught by a stoned Northampton poet who essentially told me that my work had no value. I didn’t register for another creative writing class for two years, and even when I did get back into it, I still faced a lot of disparaging remarks. I know my family doesn’t consider me a writer. Most people don’t know I’m a writer because I’ve never produced anything “of value.” But I still am a writer.
I really appreciate the notion that “Being published or even financially compensated does not make you a “real” writer. Earning public acclaim, industry awards, or the envious admiration of your peers does not make you a “real” writer. All you need to do to be a “real” writer is commit to the practice of writing.”
I’ve spent so much time away from my writing. I take hiding to a new level. Where many writers produce their work and never share it because they’re afraid, I give up altogether on ideas that I once had so much passion for, because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of disappointing my readers, but moreso, I’m afraid of disappointing myself.
I know an MFA won’t fix this. Nothing will fix this but the act of gathering enough courage to sit down and finish what I started. If I can do that, I’ll have no excuse not to share my work with whoever will listen.
Thank you for the little bit of sunshine.
How to Tell If You’re a “Real” Writer
There has been a bit of a kerfuffle around the Internet for the past few weeks. Like drunken participants in a virtual bar brawl, the topics of MFAs and creative exclusion have careened from blog to blog, crashing into our headspace and spilling beer on our reading material. While I’m glad that people are talking about writing (even if they are being a little unruly about it), I’m discouraged that the conversation focuses so heavily on the idea of external validation – of whether or not (and how) someone else can say that you are (or are not) a “real” writer. And, for that matter, what’s with this term “Real” Writer?
This isn’t the first time we have been caught in the crossfire, but this particular…
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