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> A number
> of people I know just say "I'm a writer," and I'm starting to do
> the same among certain kinds of crowds. The person almost inevitably
> asks, "Oh, what do you write?" and you can then tailor your answer
> to your estimation of the person's experience.
Actually, I've written freelance articles on a wide variety of subjects,
some of which were published, as well as a novel that hasn't been. The fact
that technical (and occasional PR) writing pays the bills doesn't mean I'm
not a "writer." I always say "writer" unless I'm in with a techie crowd,
who generally have some idea what a tech writer does.
If you can't say "writer" without feeling guilty because most or all of your
writing is technical, you're not writing about enough other stuff in your
BTW, for Ohio residents, Wright State U offers some really fun writing
seminars every summer, and some of them are underwritten for Ohio residents,
making a whole week of meeting and studying with poets, technical writers,
short fiction writers, novelists, etc., very affordable. I took a short
fiction track this summer, overseen by Ron Carlson, who's been published in
a variety of international magazines, and enjoyed it thoroughly. It's
excellent cross training. Most of the people attending are teachers (trying
to renew their certification) but there are technical writers interested in
fiction, fiction writers interested in poetry, and so on. At the end of the
week it was obvious to me just how broad a spectrum the word "writing"
covered. In addition, I realized that anybody whose vocation or avocation
was anywhere along that line should wear the name "writer" with pride. I
even bought a T-shirt that says "Wright State Writer."
If technically illiterate people ask what you write, tell them "non-fiction,
mostly," and they'll leave you alone. You can even sport a Briar pipe and
wool jacket if you want to. Trust me, a lot of published authors or
academic types haven't paid the dues some of you have, and many of them
don't have the skills.
Address flames to Paul -dot- D -dot- Race -at- daytonOH -dot- ncr -dot- com