Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On Writing vs. Having Written

I've been hanging around in-person and online writing communities for a lot of years now, and there's one phenomenon which is a constant. If you, too, observe or participate in any group of writers, you've no doubt seen it yourself.

There are a lot of people who call themselves writers who write very, very little, if at all. I don't mean this month, or even this year. We all know life takes some crazy turns which can eat all of a person's available time or every bit of energy, creativity, or motivation they can muster.

What I'm talking about is the person who likes to consider himself a writer among his own kind when he only talks the talk and rarely walks the walk. You know these people. They're the self-identified writers who talk about their story, who figure out what actors at what ages would play their characters, who draw maps of the settings or create the world where it takes place, who generate detailed character biographies and determine the limits of the monsters' or aliens' abilities, who run potential titles or plot ideas past their "fellow writers"--but do not sit down before the blank screen or page to put down the words to make it so.

These people don't want to write. They don't like to write. What they want is to have written, and what they like is to call themselves writers.

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