Writerish, the Art of Writing, and the Writer

By Your Salonniere

To write is not necessarily being a writer. Many pen words down without fully understanding that writing is both an art and a business. They may ignore or neglect other writerly commitments essential to revise words into art or to get published. I might call this being writerish. Here’s what I ask of those who want-to-write, the writerish, and how I differentiate between those committed to the art of writing with the aim of becoming a writer:

*Note: There are right and wrong answers to many of these questions—though not all!

  • How often do you read?
  • Who do you read?
  • How do you read?
  • Why do you read any given text or author?
  • What do you want to learn by reading any given text or author?
  • What do you do with what you learn as you read?
  • What do you do with what you learn after you read any given text or author?
  • What do you plan to read next and why?
  • What kind of research on craft do you do?
  • How often do you read and discuss issues of craft?
  • How do you stay abreast on the the business of writing and publishing?
  • What do you read and which resources do you use on the business of writing and publishing?
  • Who are your first readers?
  • Why are they your first readers?
  • Who asks you to read their work and why?
  • What is your process of exchanging work?
  • How do you stay connected to your artistic community?
  • Who and what is your artistic community?
  • Why are they your artistic community?
  • What role(s) do you serve in your artistic community?
  • How do you plan to strengthen your role(s)?
  • How do you empower and advocate for your artistic community?
  • How do you write?
  • When do you write?
  • How often do you write?
  • How do you revise?
  • When do you revise?
  • How often do you revise?
  • How do you take criticism?
  • How do incorporate critiques into your revision?
  • How do you strengthen your revision and editing skills?
  • How long have you been practicing revision?
  • How often do you practice all of the above?
  • How long do you intend to practice all of the above?

What questions have we missed here at the salon? Is there no need to differentiate between the writerish and those who practice the art of writing?

Peep out Andrea Levy, writer of Small Island and The Long Song, as she lends some savvy wisdom on writing and publishing:

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