I wanted to be a writer so I joined a creative writing class and learned that I would have to write a million words before I could expect to be published. So, I started writing and counting words, but one question haunted me.
When could I call myself a writer?
One answer I heard has stayed with me all these years: If you write, you’re a writer.
Okay. I’m a writer. But…
Did I become a writer when I learned to print the alphabet? Or was it when I learned cursive writing? Printer vs. writer? And, I don’t just write, I rewrite and rewrite. Revise and revise.
Is writer the right term?
Once I learned my craft well enough to begin submitting work, most of my manuscripts were returned with polite letters. I browsed my files this morning and found rejects addressed to Dear Writer and Dear Author along with a large number of form letters with no greeting, just straight to the point… sorry to inform you– dot ta da ta da. But the more encouraging ones began with Dear Deanne Durrett followed by a personal, encouraging note signed by an editor. Best of all, a few of the editors who wrote the Deanne Durrett letters liked my story and wanted to publish it.
None of my published works have Writer on the byline or spine. They all have Deanne Durrett in that special spot and my signature is required on all the contracts.
Writer is ordinary. One among millions who write, that’s what we do. But who has a name. Deanne Durrett is special, uniquely me.
I’m Deanne Durrett, the author of 200+ newspaper and magazine articles, one novel, and twenty-three nonfiction books. I’m a person who writes.