On Writing but not just being a Writer
David Toussaint talks about when he realized he was a writer:
I’ve answered the question a million times, and it still confuses me. Truth is, I never discovered I “wanted” to be a writer in the same way that I never discovered I wanted to have four limbs, brown eyes, or food to eat. To invoke that perennial gay expression, I was born that way. —David Toussaint, When Did You Realize You ‘Weren’t’ An Artist?
I’m an artist not a “writer”. I write as a form of self expression, but I don’t consider myself exactly a writer. Before writing fiction I wrote code, before I wrote code I painted, before I painted I took photos and before that, in a time now long forgotten, I made money as an illustrator. I constantly read about writers that “always knew they were writers” or how they “couldn’t be anything but a writer”. I very much understand that sentiment, but what I feel is a slight but noticeable variation.
I create because I have to, but I also find freedom in changing mediums. I do feel that I have to focus on a medium, but that’s slightly different than being loyal to it. Without focus there can be no progress, no growth of skills, and ultimately no mastery of the trade.
I’m a creator first. A writer second.
Being a writer is in my blood, like being gay or being white or having those brown eyes. There’s nothing I can do about my DNA, and I have no plans to suppress the urge. —David Toussaint