Oh, oh. You’re a writer? You’re it! By Beth Camp

You may find yourself invited to play tag these days. A kind of virtual blog hop tag where you answer four questions about your writing process on your own blog and then tag two or three others to do the same, sometimes within the week, sometimes on a specific schedule. The questions are a little innocuous, and yet, there’s something endlessly fascinating about the responses, that allow the reader to look behind the door or under the veil.

Essentially we are being asked: Who are we as writers? How do we do what we do? Here are the “official” questions:

  • What am I working on currently or just finishing?
  • How does my work differ from others in this genre?
  • Why do I write what I do?
  • How does my writing process work?

Not everyone wants to play, even if they first say yes, for we all know how hard it is to say no.

So when one of my writing friends hit a wall and couldn’t post her response, I invited a colleague from my working days, Sandy Brown Jensen.

Sandy writes poetry, paints, teaches writing, and has embarked on something called digital storytelling, combining voice and image in a video. She is committed, each day, to be creative, to inspire others, and to write. In this photo, she talks about a painting by her sister, Cheryl Renee Long.

And here is Sandy’s video using VIMEO, “The Current is Everything” — her response to the first question: What am I currently working on?

Her video brought me to tears, in the way something true and exceptional evokes that emotional response.

Technology continues to change how we read and how we write. Yes, I carry my Kindle with me everywhere, a neat repository of books read and unread. I have used a computer for decades now, the keyboard invisible as I type, research immediately accessible. And we will all learn new techniques for publishing, marketing, and now, perhaps digital storytelling.

Here at ROW80, we are an online community of writers. We bitch and moan, we make goals, we celebrate our struggles and our accomplishments. And each week, we inspire each other.

What is it that keeps us writing is some inner voice, sometimes dark, sometimes stubborn, sometimes that germ of creativity, characters that grab us and do not let go, our irrepressible connection to that which is essential – our unique voice. Sometimes we work slowly. Sometimes we suffer from what is truly known as writer’s block, that inability to put the words we want down on paper.

With each twice-weekly check-in, we build our own progress towards our writing goals. We persevere. We will challenge ourselves, regardless of the medium, to tell our stories from the deepest part of ourselves. As Natalie Goldberg says in Writing Down the Bones, ““Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

So if someone invites you to play tag, consider saying, “Yes!” Dive into those four questions. Articulate who you are as a writer and write!


Beth Camp

4 thoughts on “Oh, oh. You’re a writer? You’re it! By Beth Camp

  1. My writing has changed since joining ROW80. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I feel internally pushed now, almost continuously, even though I don’t always accomplish things. Sometimes life gets in the way. That’s mostly it, really, as I don’t think I’ve ever had writer’s block as long as I have coffee – no coffee will stop me dead. No coffee, no words. Simple as that.

    I’m grateful, more than I can say, to everyone here – for responding to my often lackluster posts, and for somehow changing things so that some subconscious part of me thinks I can do more, and do it better.


    1. I feel just the same way, Lara. It’s hard to put a value on the presence of ROW80 in our writing lives, never obtrusive, encouraging, and, perhaps most importantly, in a very subtle way, motivating. May your writing continue to go well.

  2. Thank you for sharing Sandy’s video, which makes me think about the springs of my inspiration. I also appreciate your thoughts on this community. I’ve found such support here, such understanding and encouragement. When I would have given up, someone always encourages me to clear the leaves from the spring and look again.

    1. Hello, Elizabeth. Sandy was my first creative writing teacher the year before I retired. I respect her creativity so much, and she keeps learning and trying new media and inspiring me to move beyond my safe boundaries, just as ROW80 does! Thank you for watching Sandy’s video!

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