Thursday, 20 November 2014

...just a writer

I cannot keep it in any longer or something is gonna blow! You see, there it is right there. There’s your proof. I’m so fired up I even used an ! and of all the punctuation marks in the universe ! would be my least favourite.

Today’s Nablopomo writing prompt is: Do you have a book in you? Fact or fiction? Related to your blog or totally different? As yet, I have not posted a rant. I haven’t fumed or bristled. I haven’t even grumped and grizzled. Well, that is all about to change. You have been warned.

The next person who utters the words “But when are you going to really start writing? When are you going to write a novel?” — or any combination of meaningful sounds that remotely resembles the aforementioned words — had better duck. Quickly. Coz they’re going to hear the whistling sound my fist makes as it seeks contact with their face.

I have written several books. More than several actually. Yes, lots of them have been for educational reading programs. A couple of them have been teaching texts. And of course then there’s the absolute conversation stopper… the confession I never ever make in a social setting… I have written a Dummies book.  About grammar. Two versions and two editions of it. Thank you, Mr Wiley, by the way, for the helpful donations you deposit into my bank account four times a year.
But apparently those publications don’t count.

“Oh… well… You did write those, but they’re only educational texts. They’re not really books.”

How about the two-part article about infertility and adoption that has been published both in an anthology and a website?
Or the time the Sydney Morning Herald asked me to write Steve Irwin's obituary?
Do I get any credit for those? Coz I can list a few more.

“Again…not really… They’re only articles. And they’re not like REAL stories. You know…like proper short stories.”

Apparently only fiction classifies as REAL writing. And to be honest, that’s why I only ever describe myself as a writer and not an author. Use the word author and people will make the immediate mind-link to the word fiction.

Just a few weeks ago, a friend… a real friend… one I hold dear… commented in response to my having posted my very first blog piece: “ Did you feel weird? Were you nervous about people reading your stuff?”
Ummm…No… I write. That’s what I do. I put words in an order that means something to other people. Hopefully.

And then she said: “ But when are you going to do some REAL writing? Isn’t blogging just a diversion from writing a novel? Isn’t that the whole point of your wanting to write? A novel?”
Ummm…NO…Who told you that? Not me.

Last night, my own mother hit me with: “ I’m enjoying the blog, and have recommended it to Joan. But all your writing is little bits about stuff you know and stuff that happens. It’s all sort of about just everyday things. It’s not like you’re writing anything meaningful. Like a novel.”


Maybe I should take it as a compliment.  Maybe they think that because I love to read fiction, and I also love to write, that there’s a causal link between the two. There’s not. I find writing non-fiction wonderfully challenging. Every one of those not-really-a-book books I’ve written has required a huge amount of creative energy. And research. And editing. Just like a REAL book.

 So YES… I do have a book in me. Several. I also have a book out of me. Several.
 But NO…none of them are fiction.
 That’s why I’m just a writer.


  1. I'm in complete awe of your publishing prowess, for what it's worth. :) (And I think it's silly that people assume all writers write fiction.)

  2. Thanks, Justine. That's very much appreciated. It's exciting to me to have people stop by my blog — I have only just started and have so so much to learn.

  3. I have similar conversations on a regular basis.

    Other person: Did you do any tertiary studies?
    Me: Yeah, I studied writing and editing.
    Other person: Journalism?
    Me: Um... no.
    Other person: *eyes glaze over as they struggle to comprehend the DAUNTING COMPLEXITY of my answer*

    1. Smith, you are a weird and mystifying creature ... that's why we love you...

  4. This is great! I haven't tackled this prompt yet (you must be in a different time zone...I'm guessing Australia since you mention SMH?) but you are very accomplished and I'm glad you have joined the blogging ranks! I'll definitely be back to pour over more!

    And thanks for popping by my little corner of the internet yesterday!

  5. Yep...down here in Oz, Day 20 is fading to sunset. Thank you for your kind words. I am delighted to have REAL people reading what I am offering up.

  6. Congratulations on your publishing success. I would have thought that it was more difficult to write a factual piece, as you have done (several times)! You SHOULD call yourself an author. :-)

    1. I wasn't looking for praise,....insert correct name here... I remember you said it's not Edwina, but the actual name has fallen into the post-menopausal blackhole. Sorry. It's just that I usually DON'T mention what I've had published over the years. And the number of people talking about REAL writing as being fiction was getting right up my nos... which is not an insubstantial size

    2. OMG I left the E off my nosE..sorry

  7. thanks...I've had years of practice...