Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On Writing and Being a Writer

Sixthdoctor's review of Ben Domenech's plagiarism led him to contemplation about what it means to write and to be a writer. Much like the sixthdoctor I have created a small collection of rejection slips and found that I didn't have the stick-to-it-tivity to continue when I wasn't getting positive reinforcement. Because writing is, at heart, all about honesty. Which means that it is real and it hurts that much more when it isn't appreciated. My job is just "a job," but my writing is me. Like sixthdoctor, I find the idea of plagiarism isn't even comprehensible. Who would do that? Why? Since writing is all about honesty, plagiarism means you aren't a writer. You can be a transcriber, and a dishonest one at that, but not a writer.

*due to a quantum singularity and a flux in the time/space continuum you may be seeing this post before/during/after the time it was/is/will be posted - mileage may vary*


  1. I guess it depends what kind of writing you do. I write far, far more non-fiction than fiction. I make my living as a technical writer, which is writing, but not literary writing. I also write articles on various (usually technical) subjects. From that point of view, plagiarism is comprehensible, albeit reprehensible. (Maybe I understand because I used to teach writing at a community college?) Plagiarising would save on, not really research per se, but actually having to think about the points you're trying to make.

    Modern conservatives specialise in that sort of thing, though.

  2. Ok, I admit that my language could have been much clearer. I guess I'm referring to writing that should be assumed to be "creative" writing. Places where, you know, if someone figures out that you've ripped off their words they can sue you. We do a lot of policy and procedure writing at work which requires a lot of research and near-plagiarism. Why beat your head against the table to come up with a sexier way to describe bank deposit procedures? Find the one you like and "model" yours on theirs. So, yeah, I get your point. But I'm sure you get mine, too. :)