The One Question Every Writer Needs to Answer

reality

by Kathryn Graham

“Am I a real writer?”

There are lots of memes that float around facebook about what makes something ‘real’. They say things like ‘real women have curves’ or ‘real men wear pink’ usually typed over photographs of what some dingbat with Photoshop or MS Paint thinks represents reality.  It’s all hogwash. A ‘real’ woman or man simply is because they feel they are. There is no prerequisite to becoming what you already are.

The same goes for asking if you’re a real writer. It can be worthwhile to ask yourself just how passionately you feel about writing, in what venue, if you care about creating great television, being published, or any other number of things that come along with the business of writing. It’s worth it to ask yourself how much writing means to you because it will require a lot out of you. But asking if you’re a real writer?

I asked myself this question during a time in my life when I wasn’t writing as much as I would have liked. The conventional wisdom always came back to: “Real writers write. Period.” This bit of wisdom sounds all tied up with bow and a tag that reads “This is the final word”. In actuality, it’s probably just as worthless as ‘real men wear kilts’.

Let’s put it this way. If Stephen King stops writing for months, even years, and doesn’t put a word down on paper – is he still a ‘real writer’? Does he only become a real writer again once he commits to sit in front of a blank page on a computer screen and tap tap tap away at the keys?

I’d like to tell you that if you ask yourself if you’re a ‘real writer’ and you feel like you are, poof, that’s all you need. But the fact is you can think that you’re not a real writer and still be one. You can also believe that you’re a ‘real writer’ and spend your entire life never actually writing anything.

So you want to know if you’re a real writer? If asking yourself that question makes you feel good, reassured of your identity, and ready to follow through on your choices, that’s great. If not, try re-framing the question. How much do you care about writing right now? What are you willing to do or sacrifice to get it done? What kind of impact does writing have on your life and your well-being? Whatever the answers are now, you can always come back at another time and find out if your feelings or your circumstances have changed. The only thing being ‘real’ requires is being honest with yourself and making choices you can live with.


Kathryn Graham is a Contributing Writer to TVWriter™. Learn more about Kate HERE