What it means to be a writer

Editorial staff

Being a writer means having a passion for words and the structure of communication. There are many sides to being a writer. There are worlds inside a creative writer’s mind that other people cannot even begin to fathom. On the other side, the technicalities of language are engaging, and the task of editing and writing brings a feeling of satisfaction. Many of us found that satisfaction through journalism with The Paisano, but there are multiple avenues of writing that a person may take. A writer can master one field or many. The possibilities are endless.

To be a writer one must have patience, an ear for sound, a mind for grammar, an understanding of language and dedication. It’s not about sitting in front of a computer or a journal and writing all day. Being a writer, journalist or novelist involves research, editing, creativity and time management. To obtain these skills sometimes a writer must delve into a range of fields. Ernest Hemingway was a journalist before he became the iconic novelist that many American Literature professors teach in their classrooms.

A creative writer must illustrate an image full of color and emotion out of black ink and white pages. Worlds must come to life clearly and engage the reader’s interest. This is no small task. The time it takes to gather research, develop plots and create characters can range from a few minutes to years. Even a short story or poem can go through multiple revisions and still not be done, but the toil yields results. Poet Rupi Kaur gained visibility one poem at a time through her relatable collection Milk and Honey. A creative writer’s work is never done. This is an important point to mention. The emotional drain a writer feels is significant. How can you expect a reaction from the reader if you do not feel it yourself?

A professional writer must be able to convey content in a creative, concise and clear manner. Solid knowledge of grammar and rhetoric are important. Professional writers can work as content editors for a publishing house, business consultants and lawyers. The Paisano is proof of that: a number of our alumni have gone on to law school, from St. Mary’s to Harvard. Being able to convert messy, inconsistent content into something understandable and organized is a talent many people do not realize they need for other careers.

While a creative writer will fill the pages with beautiful descriptions about “nervous students eagerly preparing themselves for another difficult battle through a new fall semester,” a technical writer would cut that down to “the students are preparing for a new semester.” The fields are different but a solid knowledge of what is expected from the project is important for any writer to have.

Being a writer means taking time to pick up a pencil or pen and scribble away at something that interests you. It means long nights and even longer days. You can be a doctor or lawyer and still be a writer. A person can be more than just a writer. William Carlos Williams was a physician and Franz Kafka was a legal clerk. Being a writer means taking a chance, learning a new trade (or many) and getting your voice heard or helping save people from grammatical embarrassment. Being a writer doesn’t mean you’re a hippie or bound to become a hobo (yes, I have been told this many times). Being a writer means you are willing to work hard, test new waters and learn new skills that will propel you forward.

Many opportunities exist for students who enjoy writing. Organizations such as The Paisano offer students the opportunity to learn new skills and discover talents they never knew they had.

Being a writer means taking a chance. The road ahead in any field is difficult, but that should never discourage people from pursuing their passion.