Furry Writers' Guild Forum

The Writer Identity

Hello everyone,

I’ve been thinking a lot in the last year or so about writing, specifically, my relationship with it, in terms of writing being an identity. I’ve always felt hesitant about calling myself a writer in the past, and now I actively don’t consider myself as one. Introducing yourself as a writer is making a statement, and it’s one I don’t believe I live up to, in terms of writing output - both publications and gross words written. If anything, considering myself anything but a writer has been more of a relief, as I don’t feel so held by waiting on editor responses, getting work out in print regularly, networking, and receiving feedback. If anything, I don’t see myself as a writer or even an FWG member, just a furry who gets some words out there.

How do other people feel about being a writer?

It almost appears as though you’d rather be comfortable considering yourself as more of a creator, than one beholden just to a singular title. For example, as you say up there, you are a furry who just manages to get some words out there and you’re more comfortable doing things that don’t seem to hold you to a standard of widespread acceptance (critiques, editing responses, networking, again to borrow your reasons). Well, even if you’re not wholly considering yourself a writer per se, there’s still some thought processes and world building going on that would mean you’re still actively pursuing the hobby of creating, if not considering the title of writing as the main sum of yourself (if that makes any sense…sorry for going into some mystic, meta type explanation).

This is the reasoning I go through with myself. I spent a long time not writing even though during that long time I was doing everything but writing. I still introduced myself as one, even with not a single new piece of work to show to back up the title, and maybe that was because it felt like I was one deep down inside. Sometimes I’d sit down and work on editing friends’ pieces or do reviews for various websites on toys and horror comics. It still didn’t feel like real writing because I wasn’t creating my own worlds or characters, not like before and especially when I was younger just writing fanfictions for my Ghostbusters group every month. Even when I wasn’t writing, there was still something of the “writer sense” tingling in any other occupation or hobby I pursued: for example, I’m also a photographer and it’s nothing professional. But every time I sit down to do something with my action figures or pets, I’m always thinking in terms of a “scene”: how would this play out if it were in a novel or written in a screenplay? The ideas have to come from somewhere, even if they’re not being actively written on a page. It’s the creating that still gives my “writer sense” a place of direction.

I guess my point I’m making, is that being a writer is probably no different from any other title. You can be a creator, as long as you’re still getting ideas and getting them out of you and finding ways to feel creatively fulfilled, even without all the networking, editing responses, waiting to see print or submissions online. The old saying, “You do you” probably applies here in spades, in the sense that as long you’re still being creative and pursuing things that make you happy and comfortably, you can call yourself whatever you want because in the end, you’re really the only one doing things that can give you any sense of internal fulfillment.

My Twitter profile says ‘Writer, Biker, Furry, Spy’, and while I wrote it as a joke, those are all things that are important to me and form part of my identity. If I feel I’m failing in one of them, I’m unhappy. (Two years ago I felt I was failing as a biker, because I lost a lot of confidence. Last year it was writing, as I completed little and didn’t have success with submissions).

I realise these are completely artificial, arbitrary labels I’ve made up to punish myself with. But when I’m winning with them, it feels so good.

It is a label. Like all labels, it is a descriptor and not the thing it describes. I don’t mind wearing a shoe that fits, but it doesn’t define me.

Saying “I’m a writer” could imply something professional, so instead I tend to say, “I write”. But those are just the definitions in my head.