Monday, August 1, 2011

Are You a 'Writer', Writer?

Why haven't I published a How-To video for solving the Rubik's Cube?  Good question.  After all, the theme of this blog almost begs it.

Just search for the Rubik's Cube on YouTube and you'll find various videos offering their favorite methods for solving the cube.  In fact, you'll find over 20,000 videos.

So many methods for beginners, intermediate, and advanced cubers!  Yet, most methods require memorization of complex notation and mathematical algorithms.  Should I take the time to deliver my drop of wisdom into the ocean of knowledge?  Can I even be considered a "cuber" worthy enough to preach my gospel?

Yes, actually.  On both accounts.
I can teach my easy-to-understand method to solve the cube and it doesn't require memorization.

What makes a cuber a 'cuber'?:
I have always been a cuber.  But what makes a cuber a 'cuber'?
What's the distinction?  I used to be just some guy who liked challenging puzzles.  I always have been.  But now I'm a 'cuber'?  What happened?  I haven't won any competitions.  Admittedly, I don't have any popular tutorials published on the web. 

I have learned from others, though.  I have studied concepts.  And I have learned new things by solving very different types of twisty puzzles.  Through a combination of dedication, humbleness, and confidence, I have gained a certain amount of credibility.  I'm a 'cuber', cuber because that's how I define myself.

What makes a writer a 'writer'?:
I have always been a writer, (said just like every other writer).  But I didn't consider myself a serious writer until recently.  It has nothing to do with publishing credentials or literary merit.  It's all about how I define myself.  I don't write articles for Writer's Digest, nor do I make millions of dollars writing subpar prose like Dean Koontz, but I am a 'writer' writer.

I consider myself a writer with credibility.  One reason is because I have a unique perspective that I may not have had before.  Just like my 'cuber' alter ego, I have gained credibility through dedication, humbleness, and confidence.  My unique experience writing can benefit other writers.  Just like I can benefit from every other writer out there, (including how to sell books like Dean Koontz).

One secret weapon teachers have in their arsenal is to ask the better students to tutor other struggling students.  This actually benefits both students.  By helping the struggling students to understand topics they have already mastered themselves, their own learning tends to be reinforced.  It can also give them fresh insight on the topic and make them an even better student.

The thing that's really exciting about writing is there are no rules.  Some may not consider the über-prolific Nora Roberts to be a 'writer' writer on grounds of literary merit.  While others may not consider an unpublished author to be a 'writer' writer simply because they are unknown.  It doesn't matter.  Every writer can offer wisdom to other writers.

So share your writing tips with others.  Don't worry about your word counts or publication record.  Don't worry if you suffer adequately enough for your craft.  Prepare something to teach to others and you'll learn, or at least reinforce, writing concepts.  Do that and you'll become a 'writer', writer.

What do you think makes a writer a 'writer'?


  1. I think purposeful writing makes a writer a writer. Sitting down with the intent of writing - be it a blog, a journal, a novel etc.
    With the advent of the blog, I believe there are many people who have discovered writing skills they never knew they had.
    I don't have any tips (though I have read a lot of books that do), and I've never taken any writing classes, but through starting websites, blogs and the like, I have found that I enjoy putting words down - and I think that's another thing that makes a writer a writer.
    Oh, I do have one tip for those inclined towards group activity (some people aren't)- join a writing group. There's nothing like having other people(meaning not your family or significant other)read your work, even if you're quaking a bit the first time.

  2. Nancy, great points. I totally agree with the writing group suggestion. One thing belonging to any type of writing group does is it gets you to reflect on the question, "Am I a writer?" I think being around other writers, whether virtually or in person, encourages you to 'step up to the plate'.

    And I think you're right about the purposeful writing. Once you do that, you step over the threshold. More so than the instant you become a 'published' writer...which is really quite arbitrary. What if an author's only novel gets published AFTER the author dies, does that mean they were never a writer? I don't think so.

    Thanks for your great insight!

  3. As basic as this sounds, a writer spends time actually WRITING. I have met many people who call themselves writers. When I ask them what they write, they hem and haw. It makes me wonder if they are simply infatuated with the idea of being a writer.

    Writing requires dedication and investment in the craft, just like any other creative profession.

    Great stuff, Jason!

  4. Hi Mindi! You're right. It takes a lot of work, not just self-affirmations to be a writer.

    It reminds me of an SNL character, Stuart Smalley, who would tell himself that he was "good enough, and smart enough, and doggone it people like me." But these affirmations become empty if they're only talking to the mirror, (or worse yet boasting) instead of actually doing the work and writing.