I’ve already written about this topic in passing before. I mentioned how word count is a terrible way to measure someone’s aptitude in writing. I think I might have even alluded to this same concept again when I mentioned novels are not written overnight. But it’s extremely important to highlight this idea. Or, maybe, just maybe, it’s all because this is an issue that I’ve struggled with myself for a long time.
When I set out to write my thesis for my writing program, I thought I would create something intellectual, the type of thing scholars teach for years. But then, I ended up writing an action science fiction thriller about a guy who loses his online identity. There is a major car chase in the first act, and there’s some gun fights in the second half. It’s more akin a summer blockbuster than English canon material. And, that depressed me. I was writing something so juvenile and dumb at a university level. I was a failure.
But that is the most intrusive thought I could have. I know I was wrong. I know I am wrong every time I get self-conscious (which I still get, sadly) about what I write. There is no reason why anyone should doubt whether they’re a real writer or not, no matter what their medium is. Do you write science fiction? You’re a real writer. Historical fiction? Real writer. Fan fiction? Real writer. All of these things, be it poetry or prose, are writing in the end. They’re just different forms and mediums to be explored, none better than the other.
So, I will always argue. Word count. It doesn’t matter. Medium. It doesn’t matter. Competing with any of these things is ridiculous and pointless. Ignore anyone who says otherwise. A writer is a person who writes. Period.