Am I a Writer?

I am currently in two writing courses: Advanced Writing Composition and Introduction to Screenwriting. Once a week, they fall on the same day, and inevitably pages upon pages, sentences upon sentences are due.

I must confess that, although I try my best, I get quite burned out.

I am a storyteller, I know. It’s one of the first things I mention in my lovingly crafted “About” page. And, of course, stories are written works to most people. There also existed, though, cultures without written word. Some remnants still persist with verbal storytelling to this day, although the tradition is becoming a rarity!

What is a story? It’s hard to define, but I would call it a narrative that can be communicated from a teller to an audience. It could be complex, it could be realistic, and it can come from any medium. Voices, paintings, novels, pictures, films, television shows, and now even video games tell stories. So why, when I mention that I wish to be one, do people consider me a writer?

Status quo, perhaps. Even in film, there is some amount of writing to be done. It’s the base upon which the visuals and sounds are structured. And yet I am lectured for telling “too much” of a story in my screenwriting course (“This is only a spec script. What you’re doing is much too dictating for someone who isn’t the director.”). Conversely, I’ve consistently not divulged enough in my works for my general writing class.

Sometimes I sympathize with Kubrick’s lack of advanced education. I think about Carroll and Steinbeck and what they contributed to written word. I contemplate reaching out to Lynch for an answer. If writing stories is so cut and dry, how can one ever innovate? By the standards presented to me, I am no writer. Perhaps with freedom that will change.

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