How have others defined this term? (Feel free to use dictionaries, magazines, or even essays written on this topic)
The Oxford dictionary defines a writer as “A person who has written a particular text” as their first definition, and “A person who writes books, stories, or articles as a job or regular occupation” as their second.
Do you agree with these definitions? How does your definition differ from these definitions?
I myself do not completely agree with the dictionary terms, simply because they are more technical and my own definition heavily rests on emotions towards writing as well as the actual hobby of writing in all forms… So I suppose that I would agree with the second definition more than the first overall.
What criteria will you use to define this term? (Explore both accidental and necessary criteria)
- Write AT LEAST once a week, a few hours collectively.
- Be passionate about writing, no matter what your medium.
- Possess a certain amount of skill, at least being able to put a proper plot together or some sort, no matter how skeletal and cliche it may be.
- Write for FUN.
- Be a fully published author/songwriter/storyteller.
- Stereotypes: drinking coffee, owning a typewriter, having depression or troubles with alcohol.
- Love reading, or at least read a lot.
- Have an extensive knowledge of the language you’re using, as well as it’s meanings.
- Own a dictionary. Or two. Or ten. So many dictionaries.
Of course most of the stereotypical attributes of a writer are accidental– if not all! These things– loving coffee, owning a typewriter (I don’t own a typewriter, man.) and being depressed… They’re all unnecessary! I figure, as long as it isn’t crucial to they way you write, you don’t need it to be a writer, so therefore the criteria will be different for everyone in a certain sense. Still, I stand firmly on the bounds that to be a writer, you must be passionate about writing, must love writing, and must spend a decent amount of time weekly actually doing so.
And not just Persuasive Writing drafts.
What examples from history or pop culture might you use as evidence of what this label? What examples of this label are stereotypical or “wrong” (in your opinion)?
Of course I can go all the way back to the Epic of Gilgamesh when I talk about writers, blab on about Sappho and Whitman and Rowling… However for most of the argument, while yes, referencing a lot of major historical figures, I will try to interview some average people online who I consider to be writers. Role players, that on fan fiction and the such, poets and just wordsmiths in general. I want to gather what they feel is the definition of a writer, what they feel is wrong associated with the label, and how they associate it with themselves.
Of course, many labels are unfortunately branded with negative and ‘wrong’ stereotypes. Certainly if none of them mean any harm to the persons self-esteem or hurt their feelings, I have no real problems with stereotypes. All writers love coffee– well no that’s not true in any retrospect, but as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings, I certainly won’t consider it horribly ‘wrong’. However I do very much disagree with how the word ‘depression’ seems to go hand in hand with the label ‘writer’. Not only is it a downplay of a very serious clinical condition, but some writers who do have depression don’t want to seem that way. Writing is a creative outlet for many emotions, and nobody should be ridiculed for what they write about, as long as it puts a smile on their face and a spark in their heart.
What stereotypes have you heard or read about this label? What problems do you find with these stereotypes?
Unfortunately, a lot of people think that writers are just people who are in denial about reality. We just use writing as a way to escape our feelings and we have no real life, just constantly scribbling down in our notebooks and typing away at our laptops about dragons fighting wizards so we don’t have to face the fact that rent is due in a couple days. I find this to be a horrible offensive stereotype that is all too often shown in media. Certainly I will admit that writing does give me an escape from reality, and while that may hold true, it is not simply about denying life’s existence. Writing has gotten me through the hardest times of my life, being able to express my emotions through complex words in characters that come from the heart and mind. It has helped immensely with my anxiety and depression, and can be considered my true friend through the good times and bad.
Of course, this isn’t saying that everyone deals with the same thing. Some people write because they simply love to, because it makes them happy– no venting necessary. No anxiety or depression– just simply the love of writing, and that’s what makes a genuine writer.
What argument will you make about this label? (This will eventually turn into your thesis)
I will make the argument of what truly makes a writer, and the criteria that is held with it by both me and others as well. I will further delve into stereotypes, the history of the term and how it’s grown and shrunk, as well as what we can do to better understand the people with this label.