Do You Call Yourself A Writer?


By Claudia Chianese

The conference room door opens unexpectedly, a reference librarian steps inside and says; “I’m sorry to interrupt but I have a college student working on a project who needs to interview a writer.” A petite girl with cropped hair and cocoa skin stands at her side clutching a notebook to her chest. Her brown eyes are saucer like with awe. Dave, sitting to my right, has been unable to access today’s submissions since his computer crashed, and raises his hand, “I’m a writer; I can help you with that.” The melodious cadence of his voice fills the room and reflects his life passion of working in radio. He chuckles amused with himself and adds, “We’re all writers.” I am envious of his quiet confidence and it is an ah ha moment for me. It is true; everyone in attendance is a writer.

Florida Writers Association is the organization behind today’s critique meeting. Many of us are members, although you can attend meetings as a non-member. The feedback is extremely beneficial and the tag line, “Writers helping Writers” is in practice. As a beginner, this is where I learn about writing. Attention to particulars or technical aspects, e.g., where to put a comma, are addressed, as well as plot development, tone and voice.

Words are powerful. Writers have equal access and use of them. However, the art of careful selection and weaving words together touches a reader’s heart, or offends them.

I started writing in retirement and hid my efforts from even my husband until he inquired, “What are you doing behind closed doors?”

I sheepishly had to admit, “Writing.”

When others ask, “What do you do in retirement? I choose from several responses. Sometimes I say; “Writing is my pastime, or I’m learning to write.” Other times that I attend writer groups and practice writing; however, I do not call myself a writer.

Silly isn’t it? Writing is not about the label. It is about the activity and capturing a feeling.

As Dave left the room, I wondered what questions the young lady would ask him, and how many others in the room call themselves a writer.

Do you call yourself a writer?

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