I’m a writer – but what is my role?
I can easily define my role as a medical writer. To produce scientifically accurate, easy-to-read documents that fulfill the guidelines set out by my employer, usually to a set template.
But what about my romance writing? What is my role there? Is it as simple as writing a book? Writing a good book? How do I define good?
I was lucky enough this week to have a wonderful review for my latest novel, Search for the Truth. Here it is if you’d like to read all of it (Double-Edged Words). The words that struck me most were that the book caused tears as well as laughter.
I think that’s my role. If I can make a reader feel, react to my words, then I’ve done my job as a writer, because in some small way I’ve caught at their heart. I’ve immersed them, no matter how temporarily, into my story.
Of course it’s very hard for a writer to know whether they’re fulfilling their role until others read their book. Just because I sit here reading over the last passage I wrote and think ‘blimey, that was okay,’ (yes, it does happen now and then… ) doesn’t mean those words will resonate with someone else.
In the work place we rely on feedback from those we work for to tell us if we’re doing something well, or how to improve. It can be as simple as a ‘well done, good job’ or as onerous as the dreaded annual appraisal I was delighted to escape from when I became self-employed. But though on paper writers work for themselves, actually the people they ultimately work for are their readers.
So if you read a book that captures your imagination, that touches your heart, tell that writer. It’s the only way they know if they’re doing their job.