Wednesday, October 7, 2020

out my window

 And here we are at another meeting of the IWSG

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!

October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like.

I don't think much of the term working writer. It seems too wordy. My partner doesn't say he is a working carpenter. My pal doesn't say she is a working doctor. Maybe it has become cheapened - the perfectly good word 'writer'- because people feel like if you say you are one, you may be fantasizing. I write. I have written my whole life. On occasion I've been paid to write - journalist, publicist, etc... So...I feel like it is a slippery slope of propping yourself up. I don't much going around presenting myself as my career or work choice anyway. Perhaps that is because at the age of 68 I can lay claim to too many livelihoods. I'm a psychotherapist. I'm a teacher. I'm a clown. I'm a playwright. I'm a cook. I'm a daycare worker. I'm a logger. I'm a cleaner. I'm an entrepreneur. I'm a photographer. I'm a meeting planner. I'm a counsellor. I'm an arts administrator. I'm a publicist. I'm a journalist. I'm a director. I'm a...human. Other than human, I've been paid for all these jobs and more I haven't thought of. But, since I was a teenager, I've written. I've written through all of them. It is the only work I've continued throughout my whole life.

On other fronts - my query packages are out and I'm waiting to see what happens next. I only sent three but they were very directed. (I had someone who had paved the way so they weren't blind submissions)  I'm working on a new novel and have decided that this time I'm going to write at least a skeleton of an outline. I have already begun the first draft - have about ten thousand words and it has the same protagonist as in Crooked Knife so there is already lots of background known. I plan on working on the outline and then doing NaNoWriMo to get my next fifty thousand words or so. It is called Red Bay. 

I love October. I know this is a tough time but I'm continuing to enjoy this new house and the maple trees are turning. Turning is one of my favourite words. Turning, falling, changing...

I went to Tancook Island last week for three nights. I think I found my next place to set a novel. Island people are so interesting no?

Thanks for visiting and see you next month!


Margot Kinberg said...

I think we do acquire a lot of identities as we get experience in life, Jan. It's very hard to call ourselves just one (or even just two or three) things. To me, that variety of identities is a sign of a life richly lived. And I agree with you: if you write, you are a writer.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good luck with the submissions.
You're right, no one says a working doctor. That's just crazy talk.

Liza said...

Love this. Perhaps it's "working" writer and "working" artist because both can be so precarious, or capricious for those who seek to earn a living via those pursuits. But yes, we are "working" to it!

Wishing you much success with your queries and your new story!

(Thank you for your lovely comment on my post.)

Janet said...

You make some great points. I never say I'm a working librarian, even though that pays the bills. People seem to assume that most careers involve, y'know, working--except for careers in the arts. Then we have to specify--working writer, working musician, working artist. Because apparently creative pursuits aren't work. *Sigh*

Good luck with your new novel!

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Jan! I really appreciate your take on working writer. Your post reminds me of when I was working as a geologist. I was always called a "female geologist" rather than a geologist. It used to frost me, but I had to swallow it and prove every time my competence. Later when I became a teacher, I never thought of myself a working teacher, although I did think of myself as a hardworking teacher. Good luck with your submissions and enjoy October!

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

"... doesn't say he's a working carpenter" love that!

Ronel visiting on IWSG day Revamp Your Backlist

Beth Camp said...

You present a persuasive argument for simply saying 'writer'. Perhaps because it took me so many years to begin to seriously write, that I now appreciate 'working writer' during this time of Pandemic because my writing is an anchor every day (and has been since I retired, even though like you, I've written all my life). I love big, unwieldy projects, stories that reach over one novel and mix time periods. My current project is also at about 10K and with a working outline. Yes, I'll be joining you on NaNoWriMo and hope to see you there!

Beth Camp said...

Ooops. mistyped my address: