So, I went to a hen party over the weekend, and it was a total blast. Between eating far too much, wandering around in picturesque Cambridge, England, and punting (and not falling in!) I had the traditional problem that almost all of us writers have: how do we introduce ourselves?
Now, I know that sounds a little bit strange. After all, we were all taught from the time that we were very small exactly how to say our name, and a little bit about ourselves. But for people who are creative and move within fields such as writing, the lines are a little more blurred.
I used to introduce myself with the title ‘writer’. That was what I did, after all, and it was a nice sort of cover all for all the multitude of things that I wrote. But then my first novel was published.
Then I started calling myself an ‘author’. I was. I was an author. But that seemed a little too vague for me, which is why I then chose ‘novelist’.
Which worked perfectly until I published a novella. And I have a screenplay complete. I’m not a scriptwriter. But was I?
Poet, novelist, author, writer . . . does it really matter? Each of them have their own indiosyncracies, their own methods, and their own status. A writer is too vague, but a novelist can sound pretentious – but never more pretentious than a poet.
That weekend, I had to introduce myself to around ten people, none of whom I had ever met before, and inevitably the question came up: “What do you do?”
I still haven’t worked out the answer to that.