Six-year-old me wanted to be a writer, I wonder what six-year-old me would have thought about the idea if she’d had a look at twenty-eight-year-old me. I still want to ‘be a writer’, but I guess my idea of what that actually means has changed quite a lot. In a world where you can’t turn around for another article decrying the end of print or the decline in reading levels, writing for a living seems like a much more slippery beast than the small version of myself ever anticipated.
But in a way, that’s exactly what I do – it’s just that the money tends to come from copy and marketing content. Which isn’t such a bad thing, I suppose. Obviously, I’d love to spend all of my time writing fiction but the more I write, the more I seem to see the weak points in my writing and the more I start thinking to myself that maybe I’m not ready.
Not only am I seeing flaws I’d never even have thought of looking for in the past, but I’m starting to wonder whether writing fiction full-time would actually suit my temperament. Maybe I need to spend a certain quota of the week writing about travel insurance or cosmetic surgery as a way to empty my mind and get myself warmed up. The deadlines that aren’t self-imposed certainly help too.
Churning out sentence after sentence about things I’m not that interested in is certainly good practice, not to mention an incentive to spend more time writing about things I am interested in out of work.
I suppose what I really thinking think of myself as is a writer in training – which is a much more forgiving view as well as one that lets me make plenty of mistakes along the way. Looking at everything as a learning experience is a pain in the ass, especially when you’re as impatient as I really am, but it’s my best bet at improving.
If you write, how do you think of yourself? Do you call yourself a writer and what type of things do you think have been your biggest learning experiences?