There aren’t too many things that have remained constant over the course of my life, but one of them is that I have (somewhat) consistently been some kind of a writer. When I was younger I wrote poetry, until graduate school squashed 0ut of me any creative urge I might have had. At least for a few years, anyhow. I spent some time exploring memoir. Those were the staring at my navel years. Not. Good. I’m published in a professional journal for nurses, where I condensed research findings into readable news bites for a year or two. I’ve also been a ghost writer, floating around in the background of someone else’s story, helping them find structure and cohesion and the right words. Currently I write proposals for my business clients.
But when I tell people I’m a writer and they ask me what I write, I always answer that I’m a fiction writer. Why? Because I am. My fiction may not be published yet and I may not have earned one penny for it, but my love of writing is firmly grounded in making shit up and writing it down in a clever, interesting, unusual, beautiful, funny or evocative way. Sometimes I do this successfully. Sometimes, not so much. Perhaps if I were a more structured person (or committed?) my second manuscript might be complete. Nevertheless, complete manuscript or not, I’ve walked a long road paved with poetry and research and autobiography, haunted by ghosts. And I’m a fiction writer.
How about you? Do you define yourself by what you produce or by what you say about yourself?