Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What Are You?

I had to fill out an online questionaire the other day and one of the questions was --what is your occupation? I really wanted to say "Domestic Goddess" but thought that might not be suitable. "Domestic Engineer" as I do have my own power tools, but then again, no. I'm a stay at home mother, who can build things and is not afraid of climbing ladders. I can mix cement, and lay flooring, hang sheetrock and cedar shingles. I know the difference between joint compound and spackle. I can prune trees, trim shrubs and grow just about anything. I can even make dirt.

I can also sew, mend, crochet, bake, cook, type, repair broken toys, broken hearts and broken videos, scoop doggy poop, get rid of stains, build a perfect fire in the fireplace, am an expert in the placement of band-aids, can conserve money, energy, gas and water, help my friends, forgive my enemies, and sometimes see into the future.

But still, what is my occupation? I didn't want to say stay-at-home-mom. And I am not knocking that profession at all, no way, no how. I think stay at homers should make at least $20-$35 per hour. It's hard work and a dirty, ungrateful job most of the time. I mean, I do it too. But that's not what I am.

I am a writer. I finished writing a novel. Yes, I looked in the mirror and said to my reflection "I am a writer." (Janet Reid and Davin Malasarn at the Literary Lab both had posts on this, funnily within weeks of each other last year. Coincidentally, just as I finished with Masquerade.)

Now, some could say, I am a pre-published author, but I will not use that term. I think it's cheating. It's like pre-cooked bacon. Sure you could eat it cold out of the box, it's been cooked, but yuk, heat it up again. "Pre-published" is like "domestic goddess". We are all goddesses (with the exception of the men -- who would then be referred to as gods but we don't want their egos blowing up all around us now do we), hence, we are also all pre-published.

Then I had the most amazing, fantastical, mind-blowing thought -- I could be a novelist. Ooooh, doesn't that sound rich? And fancy, and so F. Scott Fitzgerald-ish. So I looked it up in The New Lexicon Webster's Dictionary -- "novelist - a person who writes novels." Hey, wow, look at that. Isn't that what I do? I write romance novels. So couldn't I call myself a novelist then? And well, yes, yes I did. I finished filling out the questionaire and I wrote down novelist where it says occupation. How much fun was that?

I'll tell you what, it changed my way of looking at the world. I used to be a writer. I could write all day long and it was pretty good. Now that I'm a novelist, well, let me tell you about the sky, or the flowers, or the great dialogue I had with a friend. Even the air smells better. I could be channeling Hemingway. Okay, maybe it's not all that. But it is kind of fun if you think about it.

The question today gentle readers, is, which are you -- writer or novelist?


sarahjayne smythe said...

I love the way you look at things. It makes everything better. It makes me feel better. It's like you perform a public service each time you post. Seriously.

I have also finished a novel. So I guess that makes me a novelist. And a writer. I hate to have to choose. Both work very well for me.

Strangely enough, author works less well. I'm not sure why.

Christi Goddard said...

Yay, I'm a novelist! I feel so special now. This calls for a celebration with chocolate.

Piedmont Writer said...

Sarah Jayne -- awww That's so sweet of you to say. I think we can be writers as we're writing and a novelist when we finished, how's that? And then an author when we're published.
And I think being an author is scary, there are so many expectations: will the book sell, when is the next one coming out, what if I can't write another one. I read the 37 questions and didn't have a problem, I know I want to be published. I know I want to be an author.

Christi -- Chocolate away my dear, you deserve it.

Shelley Sly said...

Wow, I guess this makes me a novelist. I'm so excited to tell everyone that! Hehe. Thanks for this encouragement, Anne!

Summer said...

I'm a poet, a short-storiest (?--hehe), and a writer. Hopefully will be a novelist someday, too!

Piedmont Writer said...

Shelley -- I know, isn't it great. A writer is so...but a NOVELIST, now that's....!!!!

Summer -- You can be short-storiest, however, you began as a POETESS! Now that's something I could never aspire to.

Simon C. Larter said...

P.S. You haz a bloggie award waiting, good lady. In honor of your 3rd partial... :)

Davin Malasarn said...

Great post, Anne. I think it's a huge deal to be able to call yourself a writer of a novelist. I'm very glad to hear you embrace that. I think I still call myself a writer, mainly because I still have short stories floating around in my head. I do tend to love novel-writing more, but it feels a bit like cutting off an arm to call myself only a novelist. :)

Elana Johnson said...

Oooh, I like the thought of being a novelist. It sounds so new and shiny. But what about AUTHOR? I think you're an author. :)

Nicole Ducleroir said...

Anne, this is hands down my favorite of your posts, to date. I was cracking up from "Domestic Goddess" on!! I loved your list qualifying you as such, or as Domestic Engineer. I have decided, by the way, you are both :))

I want to be a novelist. I really, really, really do. I aspire to be one, and I will be one. But I think it's too early for me to call myself one. Nineteen first draft chapters, all of which I want to scrap and begin again, hardly qualifies me as novelist.

I'm a writer. I say "Creative Writer," since I find that more colorful. For me, an Author is someone whose paid for their work. That's a job description. Me, I'm a writer.

...for now...

...soon to be novelist!

((hugs)) Nicole

roxy said...

Go novelist, author-lady! Great post. I've barely come to turns with identifying myself as a writer and now, even better, I'm a novelist. Thanks for highlighting my day.

coffeelvnmom said...

I love novelist. But I love writer too. Saying you're a writer makes it sound like an "ongoing" job, whereas saying "novelist" sounds like something has been completed. So I'm both. But I'd choose novelist first, because it sounds more glamorous to me =)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Congrats on the requests, novelist!

By the way, my local bookstore just called saying The Black Whippet is out of print and that someone is asking $120 for a copy!

Guess I'm not meant to read it. Maybe someday...

Nicole Ducleroir said...

Hi again! I follow a wonderful lady named Natalie Murphy, and in her post today she says she's a Regency writer. I know you're establishing your blog platform and welcome like-genre writers, so I passed a link to your blog to her. Here's her corner of cyberspace:


:)) Have a wonderful day!

Piedmont Writer said...

Oh my most generous friends, my heart is overwhelmed with such love and gratitude.

Simon -- Thank you good sir, that is so much better than chocolate any day.

Davin -- I was in the theatre for a very long time and my friends who've known me since then refer to me as "THE DRAMA QUEEN". I have always been larger than life and of course, being a novelist, is, well, sooooo much larger than being a writer.

Elana -- No, you can't be an author until you're published. So, because I'm not - YET - I remain a humble writer. Novelist.

Nicole -- The beauty I've found in this life is that you can be whatever or whoever you want to be. I'm first and foremost a GODDESS in my own right, domestic or otherwise, my Precious Child's Mommy, and then a writer/novelist. You can be too. It's just a shift in your consiousness. It's all how you think about things.

Roxy -- You're very welcome.

Jessica -- That's how I look at it too, until the book is complete, you're a writer, when it's finished you have completed a novel, therefore you have become a novelist. And I like the fact it is such a 'glamorous' word.

Caroline -- I have now taken up the quest to find that book for you. We have several book stores here and there are a few libraries that have book sales so I will scout around. I would give you my copy but I can't. I love it too much to part with it. And I would say the person charging $120- loves it too.

Nicole -- Thank you for the information, I shall remove to her shire, post haste, for a viewing of her blog. Thank you dearest for thinking of me.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

You are incredibly generous. Thank you!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome said...

I am a writer and a novelist also an author. I write daily, novel monthly, and author everything. :) And I'm berry berry sneaky!

Piedmont Writer said...

Hannah -- You remind me of the very (VERY) old commercial on tv for the cereal Crunchberries. They were berry berry sneaky (and delicious) too.

Dominique said...

I'm a writer, because I've written things. However, I'm not a novelist, in my mind, until I've published a novel. That's my personal opinion.

Also, congrats on the partial request. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Dominique -- Thanks. Yeah, you know, novelist is just a word, albeit a glamorous, exciting word. It just makes me feel better. I'm still just a writer though. Even Hemmingway was just a writer.