I've been telling people left and right about how I am now on the Penguin Group "list." Now when authors stop through Chicago on their book tours, Penguin will send me a free copy of their books a month or two beforehand so I can read and review them. "I feel like I've made it," I told someone the other day.
I didn't even understand what I was saying as I said it. Made it in what? Like I'm a real writer now because someone is mailing me books with handwritten notes paperclipped to the jacket begging me to write about them?
I wrote a lot of really crappy stories when I was 12. I studied writing in college and realized I was not half as good of a writer as my high school English grades had made me out to be. Now I write a couple blog posts a week. So I guess I'm a writer?
It's a hard thing, this writer business. Because I don't know what being a writer exactly means. I write all the freaking time — in my emails, twitter and blogging — but obviously those things aren't real writing. So I don't count them in my writing quota for the day. And also, to be a better writer, you're supposed to read. And I try, I really do. But sometimes it's just not possible to put in a couple hours of reading a day. I have to buy groceries and do laundry and go to work and stuff. In other words, I don't always put in the time to really be a writer, so using that term to define myself seems like a lie.
But when it comes down to it, writing is something that I love. I'm more of a writer than I am a mathematician. I could care less about a really difficult math problem. But sometimes I'll be reading something and I'll think to myeself "if only I could do that." If I could only write one great sentence a day.