I recently had a conversation with someone who, after learning that I work with WordPress, wanted to pepper me with questions about his blog’s plugins. I told him I’d be happy to chat blogging, but that I didn’t know how helpful I’d be — I’m not a developer, I explained, only a writer. I spend a lot of time moving about in a technological world that is not my home planet, where I’m still a second-language learner, and find myself frequently describing my role that way:
Only a writer.
Those designers, they have artistic talent. They make things beautiful. And those developers, they can crush code. They build new tools that change the world.
Me? Eh, I’m only a writer.
Sometimes, if I’m feeling saucy, I’ll call myself an editor, too. Well, “just an editor.”
Something snapped during that last conversation, and my writerly self let out a writerly yawp. Only a writer? NO MORE. I AM A GODDAMN WRITER. I CAN EDIT THE HELL OUT OF SOME WORDS.
Can most people write? Sure, lots of people can put words together in a grammatically correct arrangement. Are they all writers? No. Writing and editing take talent, and skill, and cultivation. I didn’t get to where I am because I happened to be a warm body who remembers the difference between “its” and “it’s,” I got to where I am because I’m a good writer, and an even better editor.
I make words beautiful. I write things that change the world.
I’m a writer.
I just needed to say that.
PS: Never have the wonderful people I have the pleasure of working with made me feel any less because I’m a writer and editor; if anything, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the level of respect they have for what I do. This is my baggage, and my personal need to yawp.