Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I am a wannabe writer

"Alicethewriter" is something of a misnomer, because I haven't ever been published.  For Christmas one year, my father gave me a book of common writing questions, along with the promise of a monetary reward once I was published.  I haven't collected.

Still, "alicetheowl," my usual internet pseudonym, was already taken, so it's as good a title as any.  I'm told I think like a writer.  I get a lot of encouraging noises from my writing group.  I've been writing stories since before I even started school, and, after I taught myself how to type, I kept my parents awake into the wee hours, tap-tapping away in the next room on something I never intended to see the light of day.

I suppose I've heard so many definitions of what constitutes a writer that I don't even know where to draw the line.  By the definition of "one who writes," I am, indeed, a writer.  But I'm too snobbish to put myself into such an inclusive category.  By that definition, everyone I know is a writer.  "One who is paid for publication?"  I don't fit in there, but how can something I've spent a quarter of my life working at not define me?  "One who devotes most of one's mental energy composing words for the consumption of others?"  Clunky, but the closest definition I have of what I do.

I haven't put the words out there for the consumption of others, not including this blog and LJ and twitter and whatever other shiny thing has caught my attention on the internet this week.  It doesn't count.  There's no quality control, no filter by which the wrong words can be tossed out, the remainder sifted through to be polished up until my point shines through.

Honestly, the idea of holding up my words for judgment frightens me.  I want them to stand in for my voice, to show people the wonderful things I can dream up when given the time and mental space.  I want to share these solitary experiences with others.  I'm constantly afraid that I've failed them, that I haven't gotten my ideas across, that I'm inadequate to the task.

I'm no college student now, trembling under the judgment of my peers, just learning, with the rest of them, how this writing thing works.  I like to think I've come a long way.

And there's only one way to tell:  by submitting my work to editors, letting them judge the words on their own merits, and trusting their judgment in whether my writing makes it to the next level, to the public's scrutiny.

It's the most exciting, yet terrifying thought I allow myself to entertain.

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