I receive a litany of writing prompt emails, “make your work better” emails, some “writing workshop” emails and most (due to of lack of funds and lack of free time) wind up in the virtual wastebasket. When I received this email, though, and questioned myself as a writer and what exactly does that mean in my life (professional and personal)? I opened the email.
As with most challenges, there are guidelines – I am more interested in doing the writing than winning anything, because the writing is the ultimate goal, right? Kudos to those who write well enough or are lucky enough to win something – but the writing, the actual writing and typing and formulating a new work (or editing an older one) – that’s the ultimate goal.
Then I saw today’s challenge: Day 1. Define Yourself as a Writer.
What? I read on:
For the first day of this challenge, I want everyone to take a step back and define yourself as a writer. Don’t worry about where you want to be. Instead, focus on who you are, what you’ve done, what you’re currently doing, etc.
Okay, so following the format I did it:
Name (as used in byline): Emily Vieweg
Position(s): Data Processor, NDSU; Adjunct Instructor, NDSCS-Fargo; Published author as poet; Published author as Flash Fiction Writer; Published author as Creative Nonfiction Essay Writer; Published author as Playwright; Blogger; Actor; Theatre Enthusiast; Parent of teen with Autism, Parent of toddler with Chromosomal microdeletion.
I stopped here for a while. Look at that list. First, I indicate that my position is my full-time job at NDSU in the Registration office. I am a Data Processor. I look at a transcript, enter the information, and move on to the next transcript. That is my full time job. It is the job that takes up most of my daily life, it is the job that I spend the most time on during the work week. It is the job that pays most of my bills.
Second, I listed my adjunct teaching position. I teach one 1-credit section of a Composition Lab course at the Fargo campus of NDSCS, a nearby tech and community college. I suppose since I earn an income from this second position, however meager the income is, I do earn a regular income from this position – therefore, I list it second.
My writing positions did not begin until number three. Why am I unable to list my writing positions first? I have been published in print and online for several years, yet I am still not able to list my writing credentials first in my list of positions. Why not? Is my writing not good enough? Do I consider myself less than a good writer because I am not famous like JK Rowling, Saul Williams or Billy Collins?
Shame on me!
I hereby reclaim myself as a writer.
Name: Emily Vieweg, MFA
Position: Published author of Poetry, Playscripts, Flash Fiction and Creative Nonfiction.
Additional professional positions: Data Processor, Adjunct Instructor