You Are Not a Real Writer

March 21, 2018 § 35 Comments

Vonetta YoungBy Vonetta Young

You squirm as you feel the inevitable question bubbling up to the surface whenever you’re around your spouse’s colleagues.

“Are you a lawyer, too?”

You sigh shortly and confess, “No, I’m a writer.”

You still hate saying it because you feel like a Fakey McFakerson every time you do.

“Oh, a writer!” They inevitably exclaim. “What do you write?”

You sigh again. “I write about myself.”

And there it goes: Not only are you a Fakey McFakerson, you’re also a narcissist.

“Would I have read anything you’ve written?”

You blink.

You imagine what they might be thinking since you haven’t responded yet. They might be thinking that you are not a real writer. They are correct.

Real writers don’t panic when their spouse’s colleagues ask what they do.

Real writers don’t have MBAs.

Real writers breathe for the sole purpose of writing.

Real writers enjoy every minute of writing, even the painful bits.

Real writers effortlessly emote and are in touch with their feelings. They are not prone to disassociation.

Real writers don’t let themselves get lured into the shiny darkness of Twitter and Facebook, where they watch nature videos of the smallest cat in Africa catching a bird in her mouth in the dark of night.

Real writers read way more than you do. How the hell do they read so much? Because they stay off the internet.

Real writers don’t need someone to double check every word they’ve written. They’re confident in what they write.

Real writers’ only weakness is that they work too hard. They are perfectionists. They are too honest.

Real writers are white, male alcoholics like Hemingway and Kerouac.

Real writers don’t wonder where they’re going to submit things while they’re writing them. They just write, dammit, because they love it and it’s their calling.

Real writers write every day, even when they don’t feel like they have anything to say.

Real writers always have something to say.

Real writers’ words are edited in the air between their brain and their fingers.

Real writers are quirky and imaginative, not cerebral and realistic.

Real writers don’t question virtually every word they put down on paper.

Real writers love when the sun shines into their windows so bright it physically hurts their eyes.

Real writers use Apple computers.

Real writers are carefree; you are not. Your mother told you so when you were in high school.

Real writers are bold enough to protest and raise their fists and shout.

Real writers make metaphors about making bread, and they…just…work.

Real writers have artist friends.

Real writers do yoga.

Real writers lift weights solely to gain a better understanding of what it means to struggle, as if they weren’t already intimately acquainted with it.

Real writers live in Brooklyn; you lived in Manhattan until you couldn’t cut it, so you left.

Real writers have one childhood home; you had seven.

Real writers were raised by both parents.

You are not a real writer.

But if you’re not a real writer, then who wrote this?

“Maybe,” you finally respond. “Do you read Brevity’s blog?”

Vonetta Young is a DC-based writer working on her first memoir. Her essays have been featured in/by CatapultOzy, The Billfold, and Levo League. Follow her musings at and on Twitter at @VonettaWrites.

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