13 Jun

My dictionary defines definition as: 1. A brief precise statement of what a word or expression means and 6. Somebody or something believed to represent or embody a particular idea or quality.

If I were to describe myself, I would list “writer” in the top four descriptions, even though I am (currently) an unpublished writer. I still consider myself to be a writer. I love words. I love reading words. I love writing. I am a writer.

Yet the other day I met someone new and when she asked me what I do for a living, I failed to mention writing. Why? Because I am not yet published. And in my mind that means I don’t qualify.


After I had left this person, it bugged me. All the way home. Why hadn’t I mentioned writing? I think about it all the time. Characters and ideas are in a never-ending wrestling match in my head. It is a major part of who I am.

And yet . . .

I often fail to mention it. Because I am not yet published. In my mind that means I do not have the street credit. I can’t claim it. This enormous part of who I am. Every writer out there – published or unpublished – was once an aspiring writer with a story in their head.

I am a writer.

Yes, I am not published. Yet. But I am still a writer. It is who I am and part of who I will always be.

How do you define yourself?



Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Idaho


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14 responses to “Definition

  1. Liz Fredericks

    June 13, 2012 at 6:35 AM

    You are a writer. A very talented writer.

    Interesting isn’t it? We, and this is most notably an issue with women, are heavily cued to external validation. It doesn’t matter what WE might believe, think, or feel, but rather what seems apparent to someone else. This blog post illustrates a point raised in moral and political philosophy ~ who are we? How do we know?

    Women often don’t believe themselves beautiful unless they hear it from another. Don’t believe we’re intelligent without certain diplomas. Don’t believe we’re writers without the validation of publication and then ~ the entire self pub issue rises up as an example. I have to believe that a portion of the tension on self vs trad publishing comes from this dilemma. Are we who we think we are? Or are we a function of what others believe.

    I’m laughing at me and my rant as I wrap this very long comment. The thought crossed my mind . . . ‘I am a writer. I am a writer of fiction. I just choose not to disclose in much the same way I don’t discuss gastrointestinal issues or my crush on the pharmacist. It’s private and personal ~ until it becomes public and published.’ 🙂

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      June 13, 2012 at 8:40 AM

      Thanks Liz and you must be reading my mind again. I had ALL those same thoughts running through my head as I was writing this blog, right down to the trad vs self pubbing. So true and crazy.

  2. Janis McCurry

    June 13, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    I’m with you, Meredith. It wouldn’t occur to me to define myself as a writer until I published. I have no problem saying “I write romance” to people but I don’t call myself a writer. If I write, why then am I not a writer? Fine points to ponder. Thanks!

  3. Meredith Allen Conner

    June 13, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    A lot of times I won’t even mention that I write romance. I know the next question is what books have I written and when I tell people that I am currently unpublished they dismiss it. Then my mind goes to the question “Am I a writer if I’m not published?” Full circle again. But I am still a writer, just not an author. Yet. Hah. Now my mind is off on another definition 🙂

  4. stephanieberget

    June 13, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    I’d always thought of myself as an aspiring writer, until I read a wonderful blog. It said, “If you write, you are a writer. An aspiring writer doesn’t write yet.” It changed my POV on the word aspiring. Janis, Meredith and Liz, you are writers. Claim your description flag and wave it proudly,

  5. Peggy Staggs

    June 13, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Aaaaa, the old I’m-a-writer-but-I’m-not-published syndrome. I have it too. The problem is if you tell people you’re a writer they immediately want to know what books you have out. “Aaa, er…I’m not published…yet,” is always my uncomfortable reply. Then I go into the whole publishing industry being in turmoil and generally trying to justify not being talented enough to be on the book shelves. When I know I should be proud of my fortitude and tenacity for the last zillion years while I’m waiting to get published. What a great idea for a book. “Waiting to Get Published.” It would be a collection of short stories and narratives on the trials, missteps and successes of the process. But I wander off topic.
    You’re a very talented writer and I look forward to seeing you on the Best Sellers list. So hold your head up and know you have the guts to follow your dream. That’s huge!

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      June 13, 2012 at 3:08 PM

      I like the idea of the book. I think it would be so helpful emotionally to all of us “Waiting to Get Published.” And then we should have the follow up book in about 5 years – “Published and no longer waiting.” 🙂

  6. marsharwest

    June 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Yes, the “writer, but not published” conumdrum. (Not certain I’ve ever used that word, nor that I’m using it correctly here. It just seems to fit. LOL) INMHO Yes, for certain we are writers. Even if you haven’t finished a book, you’re still writers. I’ve completed 5 novels in the 90,000-word range. Not published. No. But I”m a writer. How many folks out there have said, “Oh, I could write a book.” But they’ve never even begun. We have. We’re writers.
    Yes, I personally struggle with the issue of “needing” someone else to tell me they’re good enough to publish–to validate my work. I have to believe at some point, as I keep improving–which I surely have in the last 5 years–I’ll come to the conclusion it’s good enough, even if I never hear that word of praise from an editor/publisher. Today we have choices. Some of the self-pubbed books I’ve read are every bit as good as any I’ve seen by major publishers. Some aren’t.
    I don’t read everything I buy for my Nook. Sometimes I just buy to support the author.
    Let’s remember we’re talking abut a very subjective business. If we keep acting like writers, and keep writing, eventually, we’ll get our books published–in some form or another. So keep on writing.
    Thanks for post, Meredith, and didn’t I see where you have a book that finaled in a major contest just recently? Good for you! Keep on writing. 🙂

  7. Meredith Allen Conner

    June 13, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Lots of really good points Marsha!!! And I totally agree – even though I am not published yet, my writing has improved tremendously since I started. And we do have choices. I like the “If we keep acting like writers, and keep writing, eventually, we’ll get our books published–in some form or another.” You are right and we will.

  8. ramblingsfromtheleft

    June 13, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Meredith … even before I decided to write novels … before I knew I could … a shrink told me to describe myself with three words … It came out without a single hesitation … I said: writer, woman, mom. Of course putting motherhood last she believed was some kind of problem. No, I said: I will always be all three of those things, but what defines me is not my gender or that I can reproduce, what defines me is what is in my brain, and what is in my brain eventually comes out … like now. No, a publisher has not paid me YET … an agent has not legitimized my effortts to date … but I am still a writer … verbal story teller, comic and life of the party writer, technical, expository or up-market non-fiction writer. Not an aspiring, unpublished … just simply … a writer 🙂

  9. Meredith Allen Conner

    June 13, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    I love that description. Thanks Florence!

  10. Lynn Mapp

    June 13, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Meredith, I don’t often get asked what I do. On the other hand, I do find myself telling people that I write, in my spare time. We laugh because I don’t have that much spare time.

  11. maryvine

    June 14, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Yes, Meredith you are a writer, an award winning writer as your contest entries have proved. I find that I tend to tell people what my day job is first. I don’t tell everyone that I’m a writer-maybe I should. Also, some people don’t even react when you say you are a published author, while some ask questions and are amazed. I’ve heard about the non-reactors from other writers, too. One, an Signet-Eclipse author, said they don’t take her success seriously at work. And then, I suppose it’s never enough for us – published with a small house instead of Dorchester, or then it’s, I’m with Dorcester but not selling like Nora Roberts.It’s like Liz said, “Are we who we think we are? Or are we a function of what others believe.”


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