Monday, September 21, 2009
Who Am I?
This week on the blog chain we are getting all existential with a question brought to us by Michelle:
Do you choose WHAT you do because of WHO you are? Or is who you are determined by what you do?
Wow. BIG question. It's not quite: "what's the meaning of life", but it's pretty darn close.
So, I'm just going to jump right in and say straight out: I label myself by what I do. This means that even though I have been writing stories for as long as I've known how to put words on paper, I wouldn't say "I've been a writer my whole life." I mean, I've always had a passion for writing, but then again I've always had a passion for chocolate, but I wouldn't call myself a chocolatier either.
The thing is despite the notebooks that I've over the years filled with short stories and bits of novels - writing was very rarely my focus. In undergrad I planned on getting an English degree, but then the acting bug bit and suddenly I was working towards a BFA in theatre. Even though I loved the opportunities to write - even taking a playwriting class - the experience that I seized upon during those four years for my future goals was when I directed a one-act play my senior year. I was meant to direct, I decided, and not wanting to limit myself to the stage I headed off to California for film school.
Luckily, the MFA program at Chapman encouraged writer/directors, which meant that I had the chance to do not only do a lot of writing, but also see it come to life on screen. Even as I fell out of love with directing, I came to became more passionate than ever about my writing. I still wasn't a writer though. Why? Because over the next few years I intermittently worked on one full length screenplay and began a handful of half-baked novels.
So when did I actually become a writer? That is difficult to capture. Was it two years ago when I began writing the first novel that I would actually finish? Was it when I began to research how to send that novel out to agent's and had to tackle my first query letter? Was it when I received my first agent request or, even better, my first rejections? Or maybe it was the moment when I trunked that first book and started writing the second one?
Perhaps it is simply the accumulation of all those moments.
And is there a moment when I would stop being a writer? I think so, and that one is easier to pin-point - it's when I say to myself, "Enough with this writing crap. It's time to follow my real passion: chocolate!"
Okay, what about you: are you a believer in the motto "writers write" or do you think there is something more to the whole thing than merely action? And was there a moment when you first said to yourself, "I am a writer?"
For more thoughts on this topic make sure to check out Rebecca before me and Amanda who is up next!