Writer and professor Cathy Day has a terrific blog post that is framed as her last lecture of the semester. It’s about the relationship between publishing and the question her students really want to know: But am I a writer?
Here are a few exquisite tidbits from her post:
In my experience, a writing apprenticeship is about 5-10 years long. The timer starts the day you start taking writing seriously—meaning you stop thinking of writing as homework and start incorporating it into your daily life.
The apprenticeship period is key. I have addressed my own ten-year apprenticeship in a previous post: Get Back to Me in Ten Years
Day continues to quote from and respond to her students:
You say things to me like: “I just want to publish a book and hold it in my hand.” Are you sure that’s all you want? Because these days, you can publish a book and hold it in your hands fairly easily. What I’m trying to talk about are all the different ways to publish. Only you can decide what it means to you to be meaningfully published.
This is one of my favorite points from the post. How it’s not just about being published, but deciding for yourself what it means to be “meaningfully published.” And the thing is, this will change over time. As soon as you have reached the level you wanted to achieve, you’ll set a new level.
Day, who has published two books and achieved lots of acclaim for her writing, closes with the following point:
I’m 43 years old, and I thought that publishing a book meant I was a writer, but I was wrong. Convincing yourself each day to keep going, this means that you are a writer.
Read the whole post here: http://cathyday.com/2012/04/30/last-lecture-am-i-a-writer/
And keep an eye out for my interview, How Cathy Day Became a Writer, coming this fall!