Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Really Writer

I've written of this before, how the word writer feels strange on the tongue. I am, I have discovered, after all these years, a children's writer, because I write for children every day.  My written work is not always visible, it is more often audible, through toys and games, inside ebooks and mobile apps.

For years, I have tacked on the role of producer to my title.  I am a writer and producer, I will say, at dinner parties and networking events.  It is what you see in the sidebar of this blog and in the lines of my business card.  Because producer is more marketable. It is easier explained.

At a doctor's visit a few weeks ago (just an annual checkup), my new doctor asked me what I did for a living.  Perhaps it was because I sat naked under a gown that wouldn't stay closed, perhaps it was because she held tight to a needle and would soon draw blood, but I did not, could not, hide. I'm a writer, I said. Not a producer in sight.

She asked me what I write and I rattled off the list of preschool brands, the toys and games, and all the etceteras. Again, perhaps it was because she'd just weighed me naked, then plunked me down on that  papery mat, but I went on to tell her something I rarely tell anyone. I told her I really write books.

I'm not sure what made me say this.  What I really do.  And what it even means to really do anything at all.

I knew what questions would come.  I knew I would have to explain myself out of that hole. I would have to share awkwardly rehearsed plot synopses. I would have to answer the genre questions and the labels, explain my way through the success of Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.  Then I would have to say the words I hate saying, that, no, I am not published, and, no, you can not read my work anywhere. And my head spun thinking, Why, why, did I dig this deep? Why did I place myself here?

I wish I could say that our conversation did not go there.  I wish I could say it ended and I knew what it meant to really write, that calling myself a writer is the first step in a journey of self discovery and satisfaction.

But she asked me all of those questions.  I answered dutifully. She made me say ahh.  She listened to my heart beat.


  1. That's the story of my life. It always feels like since I'm not published as a fiction writer that I'm not actually a writer. But truth be told, to be published puts you in the realm of author, not a writer. I write every chance I get. My life feels incomplete without writing. My passion for storytelling and entertainment through words is what makes me a writer. I try to embrace that and educate people along the way. Oh, and your blog is a wonderful display of your writing. I enjoy reading your posts. Be proud.

  2. The fact that you are a writer is beautifully portrayed through your blog. It is lovely and you have such a way with words!

  3. ...even Sue Monk Kidd said it took her a long time to actually say she was a writer.

    I had a similar experience recently at the dentist when I had to update my paperwork. My dentist already knows I'm a writer, but when she asked, "Occupation?", I stumbled. We both laughed, and I told her to just put "N/A" in the blank. Shame on me.

  4. It *is* hard to say, but how bold of you to say it while NAKED in front of a doctor!

    Did you ever knooooow that you're my heeeeerooooo?

  5. isn't it small talk for a doctor or anyone giving you service would make? I wouldn't know how to answer any writing questions. I think you can say what you're writing/working on is a secret and that you haven't make any decisions yet and that you know nothing about other writer's success. or so I would say but I'll probably end up complying and answering every questions even the ones I wasn't sure of.

    but I think you're allow to say whatever you want and besides the doctor probably has already forgotten what you told her.

    have a great day.

  6. I have a hard time saying it, too. I'll freely admit to being a teacher, but I rarely add "and I write books."

    My husband doesn't have a problem using that word, though. If you sit next to him on an airplane (he travels often) and ask him what he does for a living, he says: "I'm an engineer, but that's boring. My wife is a writer. Let's talk about her."

  7. So beautiful, Melissa, so truthful. The first step in self-discovery and satisfaction is always the claiming, not for anyone else but ourselves. I've been sitting with this issue a lot lately, of really a writer, what it means and where I want it to take me. And I've had to claim this for myself, so I can help others through my words.... Thanks for sharing yourself and for your kindred spirit...we do not "know" each other, but we do through shared experience. We are not alone. Thank you.