I was well into my second semester as a Creative Writing major when one of my professors made a comment that greatly altered my perspective. It came at the end of a story he told about his college days.
“That,” he said, “was when I first began to think of myself as a writer.”
As simple a statement as that was, it struck me in a profound way. Did I think of myself as a writer? I had been writing stories and poetry for years, and yet, whenever I described myself, I was a student, an employee, a friend – not a writer. Writing was something I did, not something I was.
That thought stayed with me, and gradually I began to come to view myself as a writer. To think as a writer, to live as a writer, to be a writer.
So what is the difference between a writer and someone who simply writes?
In essence, nothing. Anyone who writes is, in the broadest definition, a writer. However, once writing becomes so much a part of a person’s life that it becomes an inherent part of their identity, then the description ceases being “I am someone who writes” and becomes “I am a writer.”
For me, this happened when I began to see the world in terms of how it could be translated into words. I began to think of conversations and situations in life as potential material for stories, and I began to delve into my own thoughts, experiences, and feelings in terms of how those could be expressed in poetry.
Writing is no longer something I do, it is a part of who I am – I am a writer.