“Why is she using a blacksmith coffee cup on a writing blog?” you may ask. Yes, it was the only clean mug this morning, but today it also reminded me of something I’ve battled with myself.
My son is a blacksmith, although he resisted, for a long time, calling himself one. Blacksmithing takes a lot of time and practice to do well. Despite hours of training, heat exhaustion and sore muscles, items are created that make you say “nope” and throw them back in the scrap pile. And other times, the finished objects are so good that you can’t wait to post them on Instagram and say, “look what I made!”. But no matter how much work he put in, my son thought he couldn’t call himself a blacksmith until he sold something.
Writers are often the same way. We take courses, study books, join critique groups, go to conferences, and get feedback from contests. We absorb what we learn and use it to write, delete, start all over, delete half of it again, and write some more. Instead of hammer and tongs we use keyboard and pen. Our fire is experience, emotions, and dreams. And every now and them our creation is so special even we can’t believe we wrote it.
My son wears a leather apron with scorch marks and swings a hammer to turn discarded metal into the useful and decorative. I told him that by doing the work, even if he gives away every object he makes, he is still a blacksmith.
We writers hone our craft and put our butts in the chair to pound a keyboard. We turn stories that only existed in our imagination into something that’s never been read before. Published or not published, we are writers.
So if you are wondering if you can call yourself a writer, now you know.