Writing is what I do, not who I am

Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start. Starting, that’s where I fall down. Motivation is definitely an issue. My name is Kay Barrett and I write. Or, more accurately, my name is Kay Barrett and I do not write. At the moment.

Flash fiction is easy. Poems, ten a penny. Anyone can sit down and blurt out what creative nonsense is in their head for half an hour. I’d like to think that my efforts are well crafted blurtings; but blurtings they are nonetheless.

You can read them here if you want to.

Writing takes more effort. A writer friend once told me that writing is more of a craft than an art. Lately I’ve been thinking that he might have something there. Writing takes time. For a lot of people that I see on social media, writing is also a part of their identity. How many #amwriting updates have you seen this weeks, how many word counts? I can almost imagine them mopping their dewy brows. Phew. I did a thousand words today. If it’s November (NaNoWriMo month) triple that at least.

Side note: I did take part in NaNoWriMo once and it turned into a novel about a year later when I got tired of editing and re-editing. Pyramids is the title by the way, and it’s on Kindle right now.

However. More than one review said that the ending felt “rushed”. They were right. I want to write, I really do. But do I want to be a writer more than I want to write? Which is more important to me, the work or the title?

Incidentally this blog post is the most amount of words I have typed on one page for weeks. If you counted the words in my twitter posts then it would have a rival, but that’s about it. I let social media distract me way too much.

There are other reasons why I don’t write as much as I feel that I should. Note that I feel. The only person berating me for not writing enough is me.Why do I feel guilty? Because I know I don’t deserve to call myself a writer? Anyway, the reasons are that I work full time, and I commute for hours every day. By the time I get home I am too tired to write. Funnily enough I had enough time to play a quick mission in XCOM2 the other night though. And if there’s a particularly juicy spat going on on twitter, you can bet your arse I’ll be watching that unfold.

Another friend of mine, a writer too (you can’t turn around on social media without bumping into a writer). Says that writers write. Makes sense huh? So what am I? A part time writer? A fairweather writer? A writer unless something else is going on that’s more important?

I think what I am is just a person who writes. I don’t necessarily want the identity that goes along with that. I have other facets to my personality after all. We all do. It would be pretty one dimensional to always be writing, or tweeting about writing, or talking about writing. Or posting those annoying book memes incessantly. You know the ones.

Also, I like to let the stories revolve around in my head. I research my characters. I try and sketch what I think they look like. I save articles that I think they would be interested in. I save photos of places that scenes could happen in.

There’s a novel I have been wanting to write for some time that had it’s seeds about twenty years ago. How many words have I written? Enough for a novella maybe. And I am due to scrap them and start again, as I have just thought of a twist ending. I also like the idea of the story unfolding from another perspective. That’s the part of writing that I really like.

So maybe it’s okay for a person to be a writer just when it suits them. Great works can’t be crafted  in one sitting.This article might give me some reassurance. There are so many great writers who have taken their time and got great results. Look how long it’s taking George RR Martin to write the next Game of Thrones book. Looks at watch. Just don’t take too long, George. Okay?


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