I am a writer.
When six students started their MA in Creative Writing and Publishing at West Dean College, in September 2015, we discussed what being a writer meant, and we wondered if we were writers. We wondered when we would become writers if we weren’t writers already.
The students at West Dean are an eclectic group, and they have names. There are ‘the Clocks’, ‘the Metals’, and ‘the Creatives’. As Creatives we were included with the Visual Artists. The word writer wasn’t in our nickname. As the first year passed and we worked on our first draft I think we began to wonder if we were… if we might possibly be… but after handing in our 60000 word first drafts we all agreed. We were writers.
The next year started and we quickly learnt that a first draft is not a novel; and is just a beginning. The second year of the MA was far harder than the first. We still had a lot to learn, but we were learning the foundations of our craft, and trying to master it. We were writers but not authors. An author is somone who has published their novel, and we certainly haven’t done that yet.
But our course draws to its conclusion. The three remaining students turn our thoughts to the editing and revision that turns a first draft into a second draft to a manuscript that is as clean and shiny as we can make it. Our anthology of first chapters will be launched in less than two weeks time. We have learnt about the publishing industry and the novel and ourselves. And with a lot of hard work, some networking and a bit of luck we’ll be able to meet up for a reunion in a few years time with copies of our novels to give each other as presents.
We aren’t authors yet, but we are going to be. Of that I have no doubt.