May 16, 2010

Scribe Me a Writer

This post from Lydia's France got me thinking about definitions. More specifically, how I define myself.

These days, when people ask me what I do, I typically reply that I'm unemployed. If I don't feel like saying that, I tell them I'm a lawyer. Only rarely do I ever answer: "writer." (Notice I never say ex-consultant!)

So why not? Why don't I tell people I'm a writer? It is what I purposefully became unemployed for, after all. It's what I do all day (or what I try to do...) But why does it feel so unnatural to say, "I'm a writer"?

My gut instinct tells me I can't be called a writer until I'm published. Fair enough. But what is it about publishing that will push me over the line between lazy git and author?

Is it that I will be paid for something I wrote? That can't be it. I haven't made any money from being a lawyer for four years and yet I never stopped referring to myself as one. Damn it, I worked hard for that bar exam! Also, I've never made any money from blogging, but I'm not ashamed to have it known that I'm a blogger (albeit a minor one!)

So what is it?

Recognition, obviously.

The State of New York recognizes me as a lawyer. The 250-odd people who read my blog recognize me as a blogger.

No one recognizes me as a writer. Least of all myself.

Aye, there's the rub.

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