If You Are A Writer, Call Yourself A Writer

I was at a luncheon, where the speaker’s topic was “Becoming a Writer”.

During lunch, before the speaker spoke, the gentleman next to me asked me what I do now that I’m retired.

“I’m a writer,” I said, and all the other six people at the table suddenly looked at me with raised eyebrows.

“Are you now, what do you write?”

“Non-fiction, short stories, blog posts and I’ve just finished my first novel.”

“Anything published?”

“A few articles for a magazine years ago, I publish my blog posts on the internet, and I’m going to self-publish my novel.”

The chap smiled and said:

“Should you really call yourself a writer?”

This guy was getting under my skin. The others at the table were waiting for my answer.

“Of course I’m a writer and I have a pile of rejection letters to prove it! Only writers who write and submit can get rejected. What do you do?”

“I’m a doctor.”

“That’s nice, nobody at this table is going to ask you to prove it!”

Everyone laughed.

“It’s interesting that writing is one of the few jobs where people put the “burden of proof” on you.”

“I guess it’s a form of identity,” one person across from me said.

“Yes, you’re right. I look at myself in the mirror and say, “I am a writer”. It’s a unique way of interacting with and viewing the world.”

“I guess if you call yourself a writer, you have to write often, probably daily,” the doctor said, humbly.

“That’s right, a writer has to produce. Nobody will ever miss something you didn’t write. Writers have to create their own motivation.”

“You must have to discipline yourself to write,” someone said.

“Yes, a writer must have self-discipline. Writers are people who write!”

“What about writer’s block?”

Questions were coming from all directions now!

“Well, questions like the one the doctor put to me, “Should I call myself a writer?”, contribute to writer’s block!”

“What do you mean?”

“All writers have a little negative voice in the back of their heads saying:

“Are you really a writer, maybe you should put your pen down and walk away from the table.”

“Writers hear voices?”

“Yes, so do you, it’s the voice of self-doubt!”

Everyone at the table nodded their head.

“The doctor’s controversial question just fortifies that voice, which is the enemy of writers and really the enemy of all art.”

“Well, you sure know a lot about writing. I’m sorry I said what I did,” said the doctor, shaking my hand.

“Apology accepted.”

At that moment the M.C. announced:

“And now, ladies and gentlemen, our speaker: Writer Dave.”

The applause was deafening. I GOT UP AND WENT TO THE PODIUM!

Family Hate

My friend, Tom, decided to write a family memoir as a legacy since he was getting on. One day, he came to my house, visibly upset.

“What’s wrong with you? You look like you’ve been researching your family tree and found out you don’t exist!”

“It’s not a laughing matter, Dave. My cousin is very mad at me, in fact it’s bordering on hate, since I showed him the first draft of my memoir.”

“Hold on Tom, it sounds like we need a couple of strong cocktails before we continue.”

When I brought the cocktails into the lounge, Tom continued:

“Well, it was the section about Uncle Ernie, my cousin’s father, that ticked him off. Uncle Ernie was in the Korean War and received a couple of medals for valor, he was a war hero.”

“That’s great, what was wrong with that?”

“Nothing, but I decided to write how he appeared to me as a child. He wore a deer stalker cap and loud checked shirts, shorts, knee length socks and walking boots. It was quite a comical sight. And his wife, Aunt Kate, would nag him to change his outfit.”

“It seems to me, you are showing the intimate, human side of a man who goes on to become a war hero.”

“Yes but, my cousin says, I’m mocking his father, the war hero, making fun of him. And further more, he also accuses me of making his mother look like a horrible person because she nagged him.”

We both drained our cocktail glasses.

“Tom, it sounds like your cousin would like to hang you from the family tree!”

“That’s only the half of it. Now, I’m not invited to his daughter’s wedding and he’s going to tell everyone at the wedding how I made fun of his father and mother. The whole family will hate me!”

“Tom, my friend, you made the mistake of showing your cousin the first draft before preparing him about the comedy that leads eventually to stories about his father’s heroism. You should have engaged him in the storytelling process. He might have then realized you were using the comedy to establish a wonderful character, his father.”

“But how do I reconcile this with my cousin now?”

“Ask him to tell you some stories about his father and get him involved in the writing process, it might appeal to his ego. Get him in on the revision also.”

“I’ll try it, but right now he thinks it’s in my genes to be insulting. I hope I can save face in the family.”

“Well, Tom, that’s the problem with the gene pool, there are NO LIFEGUARDS!”


Blogging Frustrations

One grey day, there was a knock on my door. I wasn’t expecting anyone. When I opened the door, there stood my website guru, Eric, the man who helps me keep on the cyber space straight and narrow!

“ Come in, Eric, you’re just the man I need to see right now. You must be psychic, dropping by when I need you.”

“Well Dave, I did feel some vibrations in the air. But to tell you the truth, I just felt like sampling some of your wine. What’s the problem?”

“I’m a frustrated blogger. I have a thousand hits on my writer’s blog, where I feature my short stories. But, I only have 300 comments and some of those are mine!”

“So, you’re frustrated because people don’t comment!”

I poured Eric and myself a large glass of red wine each and continued:

“Yes, but not only that, when I tell people about my blog, they say, they don’t have time to read it!”

“Well, people do need time to absorb and process a piece of writing so they know what to comment.”

“But Eric, I tell people my stories are only 400 to 500 words in length. It only takes a few minutes to read and comment on a story.”

“More wine, please,” said Eric, pointing to his empty glass.

Upon getting his glass refilled, he continued:

“Well, lets see if you’re doing things right. Do you close your stories with a question?”

“Probably not as much as I should.”

“Do you work hard enough at blogging?”

“I most certainly do. I put a lot of sweat, stress and energy into my writer’s blog.”

“Do you reply to your comments to keep the conversation going?”

“I do reply sometimes, but I will do it more often now.”

“Is it easy to comment on your blog?”

“Oh yes, only name and email are required and the email address is not published.”

“Well, it seems you’re doing everything right. The only thing I would say is that a lot of people don’t want to open themselves up online, they’re scared. People are insecure and don’t comment for fear of humiliation. Also, we live in an environment of bystanders, watchers. There are commenters and viewers. By the way, do you need comments for affirmation?”

“No, not really, but a comment shows that the reader cared enough to let you know the blog was read.”

“Do you enjoy blogging?”

“Oh yes, I enjoy writing the blog, it’s a way of getting my stories out to the public.”

“Well Dave, I’ll leave you now with this gem: work hard on your writing, the secrets of success won’t work unless you do. And always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them!”

With that, I was left alone to wash up the wine glasses!


Well readers, I have 80 stories on this blog. Will you take time to read and comment? I will appreciate it.



Is This All There Is?

My cousin climbed onto the green padded stool next to me. I took one look at him and said:

“You look terrible! What’s wrong?”

“It’s strange, I woke up this morning feeling caged, imprisoned, restricted, and barred!”

“Well, I guess you don’t feel so good,” I smiled.

“It’s not a laughing matter, cousin.”

“I’m sorry. Bartender, two beers here.”

My cousin took a gulp of his beer and continued:

“My wife wants this, my wife wants that, I don’t like my job and I feel very unsatisfied. I seem to be looking for something, but I’m not sure what it is or where to look for it!”

I took a sip of my beer and thought for a moment.

“I think I can explain your feelings, cousin.”

“I hope you can, because if you think about it, I really have everything I need, food, clothes, shelter, job, and a wife, yet I have an overdose of depression!”

“Well, cousin, the question is: Why, when our basic needs are met, do we still feel unsatisfied?”

“Why, indeed, cousin.”

He stared at me, waiting for the answer.

“I think our constant searching for something else is because our brains, bodies and society in general have changed so radically in the last 50 or so years. We have evolved!”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Our culture has evolved, in what we do, how we get our food, how long we live, where we live, what we buy, and how we think about life. So, in our abundant society, we no longer focus on what we NEED, we think more about what we WANT.”

“Wow! I want a lot of things!”

My cousin stared into his glass of beer like it was a crystal ball.

“So, what do we do to adapt to this evolution?”

“Probably you need to become more electrified, search for more adventures and meaning in life, challenge yourself more.”

“I always feel like life is passing me by quickly.”

“That’s the thing, my cousin, the grim-reaper is always right behind us, whispering, “I am coming!”

My cousin was wide-eyed!

“That’s a scary thought.”

“It’s meant to be scary, to get you moving, doing different things in life. As the years pass, ask yourself, Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter? It’s soul-shaking to question yourself this way, but it needs to be done”

“Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one that feels unsatisfied with life.”

“That’s not true, cousin, 4 out of 5 people suffer from the “Is This All There Is” syndrome.”

My cousin pondered that statistic and said:

“I wonder if I’m the ONE that Enjoys it?”