Saturday, April 26, 2008

What Makes a Writer?

A recent question at an online writer’s forum was when to call one's self a writer. The responses varied, with opinions ranging from someone who is published and makes a living as a writer to those who simply love to write. My opinion was somewhere in the middle.

If someone asks what I do, I say I am a paralegal because this is how I make my living. However, in discussions on what we do outside of our careers, I tell people I love to write short stories, and that I’m working on a novel. But, I don’t call myself a writer because that is not what I do for a living. However, I might say that my hobby is writing.

When I was younger, I had dreams of becoming a lyricist. Then, I wanted to become famous writing short stories and novels. I saw the world through rose colored glasses. My mother thought it was wonderful that I wrote, but she also told me that one does not usually make a lot of money writing.

“You need to go to college, get your education and find a career. You need to learn how to support yourself.”

As any teenager would, I argued with my mother and stood my ground. As any good mother would, she encouraged me to continue writing and pushed me toward college.

Of course, mom was right.

I’m glad I chose my education and a career. On a daily basis, I create legal documents- compile facts and write about them so others can understand the case. Some time of each workday is dedicated to writing, some days it’s all I do. I love the law, and I love writing. What better way to earn a living!

When I come home from work, I write short stories and/or work on my novel, or do some other type of writing. Sometimes it’s 15 minutes, other times it’s an hour or two. It just depends. Once in awhile, I submit. Two stories I have submitted in the last year have been accepted. Two magazines have rejected another story. I think it’s a good story- perhaps I should continue submitting and see what happens.

As for the rest of life: it’s around 80 degrees outside and a wonderful spring day. I am taking a week off from work in a few weeks for window remodeling on my home. I will also be jumping into spring cleaning, as well as looking through some of Grandma’s writings and working toward compiling them into a family history.

Tomorrow, I will be going to the Redwood Writers Club joint meeting with Marin County. This should be loads of fun!

To Go Oxford....or Not

Do you use the Oxford comma or do you omit it? Some grammar sages say to either keep it or omit it, unless omitting the Oxford comma will...