Someone once said that going to a conference is like getting a drink from a fire hydrant. There is so much to learn and process in such a short time. Spring WorDshop was like that. I took notes like crazy and left feeling that I had so many ideas, I didn’t know where to start. I’ve been doing more freelancing and writing lately, and seeing some success, but the conference was still a huge encouragement and inspiration.
One question that always comes up, especially among writers, is, “What do you write?” As I stammered out my usual vague answer (“fiction, long and short, nonfiction because it pays, some poetry—in other words, a bit of everything”) and listened to a few other equally vague answers, I thought, “I need a better answer.” I was among writers here—why did I still find it hard to talk about what I write?
This conference, I actually came prepared with business cards to exchange with writers I chatted with and wanted to keep in touch with (thanks to Kathleen Gibson, who gave me that tip about ten years ago at my very first Fall Conference). And I did exchange a few cards with a few other writers. As I left this conference, I decided that I needed to come prepared with an answer to “what I write” as well.
It’s a question that we writers face anytime someone asks us “What do you do?” and we answer, “I’m a writer.” Somehow, we’re a species of professionals that are rather a curiosity to others. Maybe because we’re rare. Maybe because of the romantic glow that surrounds the writing profession—the idea that we just sit at our desks for a few hours a day, churn out bestsellers, and earn millions like Francine Rivers—or at least enough to pay the bills, as Sigmund Brouwer says.
So what do I write? I’m currently a contributing writer for Suite 101.com, where I post short articles on a variety of topics, from parenting to travelling. I’m also working on travel articles and book reviews for a variety of publications. I’m the editor of FellowScript and try to write a few articles about writing for other writing newsletters. And I’ve also written a few novels, which I need to polish and submit.
How about you? What do you write?