What Does it Mean to be a Writer?

This question cropped up in one of the Blogs I follow:

But what exactly do you earn if not money? Is there something else to being a writer?
Cristian Mihai

Good question. What does it mean to be a writer? There had to be a reward or we wouldn’t keep writing. Good ole Dr. Phil. How’s that working for you? I know my answer would be ‘while frustrating about NOT writing, it’s going well thank you.’ But that’s because I’ve always known deep in my heart that I am a writer. There has always been that voice inside saying ‘keep going. You’re going to get there.’ Then again, I keep writing those words, but how do you know what’s inside me? Hopefully, because you have that same driving, incessant, need inside of you.

So what do I earn if not money? I earn the privilege of becoming the person I was born to be. I earn the right to know and share the lives of characters that honor me with their stories. I win the wonderful experience of exploring a thousand worlds inside my own head, of being everywhere and every time at once. Now, if only I could bottle that scent, open the cork on a bad writing day, and take a whiff.

To me, being a writer means being open to the possibilities of the everlasting. Not that I think my writing will be remembered or even read a hundred years from now. Sure, it would be great, but I’ll be gone so what will I care? It is the stories themselves that are important; the lives, the loves, the hopes and fears and triumphants – and failures – of the characters. For it is the loves, the hopes and fears and triumphants and failures that make us human, that bind us all together.

I’ve often heard writers say ‘if one person reads my writing and is touched or changed, then I’ve done my job.’ Truer words and all that. I think, like most writers (and correct me if I’m wrong), I write for myself. I write to unfold the worlds within, to explore my own psyche and heal my own wounds, to be the person I was born to be. And what reason is more important than that?

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