What do YOU call it?

I’ve called it “my work” … which sounds pretentious as hell. Like I’m trying to be some kind of artiste, high-falutin’, high-nosed, tight-assed self-righteous idiot who thinks art is a black velvet fruit painting. Or worse, someone who hurls gallon cans of paint at a canvas and calls smearing fecal matter over poster board “art”.

Work? I dunno. I have a lot of fun with it. It’s not always easy, and not just anyone can do it, contrary to a popular notion I’ve heard out there. But is it really “work”? Hm. If I’m having this much fun and there’s no commute, I don’t think it’s work. Besides, there’s no money involved.

I’ve called it “my writing,” but honestly, I’m using a computer. In the strictest sense of the word, I’m not “writing” anything. I’m typing. But it sure sounds less meaningful somehow when I say “my typing”. “I’m typing for publication.” “Hey, will you critique my typing for me?” “I’ve joined a typer’s group. We meet once a month to give each other feedback and encouragement on our typing.” “Are you going to the typer’s conference next month?” Hm. I dunno. What do you think?

I’ve called it a “piece” –  “I wrote a piece today…” or “Did you see that piece I sent you?” But c’mon – I’m ASKING to be the butt of a joke that way. Again, I sound like a self-important snob who thinks too much of himself and too little of anything else. It sounds like I’m staring down the end of my nose at the bourgeois, unwashed masses and find them revolting, and I wear my beret at an angle with my cigarette in a slim, black holder. I have a tiny, waxed moustache, no? And I speak and laugh through my nose. It’s a piece, all right. A real piece of… Well.

So, do I call it “fiction”, plain and simple? It’s a little tedious to both write and read repeatedly. “My fiction” seems so … I dunno. Possessive, maybe. Obsessive. It’s not really my fiction, it’s just fiction I produced. I produce it for the rest of the world, to read, enjoy, ridicule, hate … whatever. I give it to the world and its people to have for their own use (I mean, as long as they’re not violating copyright or making money with my stuff … that’s exclusively MY domain, yo).

I don’t know what I call it. I hope it’s entertaining, but … I’m betting a lot of people hate it. I’d love to believe it’s worthwhile, but how would I know?

So, what would you call it? If you’re a writer, what do you call it?


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14 thoughts on “What do YOU call it?

  1. If I was you, I’d call it “my words.” They’re mine. I made them. I own them. And you can’t have them.

    Not bad, not bad. One minor problem: They CAN have them … for a nominal fee to the writer of the words, of course. 🙂

  2. I like “my typing.” lmao

    Hehehe! I was thinking of you pecking away with one hand while your finger was broken when I wrote that. Now THAT’S suffering for your art! THAT’s work!

    Seriously, though, I call it my work with a straight face. It is work. It may be a hobby (oh, there’s another word to use), but I work hard at it.

    Hm. Okay, so then it’s like Onyx mentioned about spring cleaning. Housework isn’t something we get paid for, but show me ONE PERSON who doesn’t suffer and toil at that. Some might enjoy it, but it’s labor nonetheless. Now, how do we measure the “work” of creating fiction? Do you get tired (I do sometimes)? Drained? Sweat? 😉 Seriously, I know some people would dismiss the term “work” because there’s nothing physical involved. So how can we writers measure our efforts?

  3. I’d say “my work”, too.

    I refer to my clay projects, and my paintings as “my work”, I’d say “my art”, but it sounds vain and pretentious.

    You work on it, like you “work” at getting the spring cleaning done. It’s work, enjoyable, or not. It’s time invested, and spent on something, bringing it to fruition. You put effort into it, and you wonder if people will like it, how people will react to it, and if it was worth your time. It’s a part of you.

    I’d call it your work.

    Hehehe — problem is, I don’t know if I “work” at it the way I work at a job or at learning something in school. Still, I do invest the time. Not a lot of energy, least not that I can tell, but certainly butt-in-chair time. 🙂

    • I “work” on my writing, but every story or piece of fiction created is usually referred to as a “project.”

      Ooh, “project” is good! I like that! Covers everything from War and Peace to cleaning the garage. Nice. 🙂

  4. In regards to the “typing”, do you specifically press each key in a certain sequence or do you just mash random body parts onto random places on the keyboard and hope and pray that the result gobbledeegook is something entertaining. Or do you just settle for legible?

    I never settle. I mash until it IS legible, thankewverymuch.

    Oh, I can see it now.
    “Hey honey, looky here what I just wroted with my pennis!”
    Yes, that’s right. When I imagine you working by your computer, I imagine a slack-jawed yokel with no pants.

    Well, I’m not QUITE Cletus, but … close enough.

  5. The only thing I write any more is my blog. That’s what I call it.

    Nice. 🙂 Too bad about your fiction stuff though. Had a lot of potential, I thought. Maybe someday when time falls out of the trees. Along with money. 🙂

  6. I call it the one thing that keeps me from wandering the streets wearing a gorilla mask, sundress and strap-on sexual device.

    There are people around here who’d pay to see that, you know. You really should think about doing it professionally, Al. 😉

  7. Yeah, the vocabulary is tricky. I say “my story” or sometimes “the manuscript.” I don’t put my in front of it. That seems too strong. But I like the word story. As for writing, I don’t call it typing because typing is just hitting the keys. Writing is everything that goes into a story–plot, characters, blah, blah blah. The word you use has to get your point across. Who are you talking to when you have this vocabulary riddle anyway?

    Oh, those three Bozos who harass me endlessly about stuff, day and night … Me, Myself and I. No one else, really. Who’d bother?

    Sometimes I just get tired of trying to second guess what other people are going to think. They’re never going to think about it the way I do, so really, some artists are pretentious. But some are not. I think it is also limiting to go around assuming that artists or writers are ALL pretentious and I just want to write not spend hours of my life worrying about what other people think of me.

    I think we all worry about what other people think to some degree; we want them to love our art even if they don’t love us. If we didn’t want others to like it we wouldn’t do it. Or we’d never tell anyone we do it. Or we wouldn’t work so hard to get better.

    Of course, I do worry about what other people think. That’s why I squirm when I tell someone I watch almost no TV (I watch a couple hours a week). They often think I’m a snob. But I love TV. I’d watch tons of TV if I could, but I can’t write and parent and make art watching E! But then people act as if I’m judging them because they watch TV.

    Hm. Interesting. I went something like a year and a half without even OWNING a TV, then when I got one all I did was play video games on it. But that’s me.

    Why say anything at all? Just get something on the page. Say that. Say you put stuff on paper.

    Same problem here as with “writing” … I’m NOT putting it on paper, only in pixels. Ah well; a nice thought.

    Everyone has got an opinion. Whose opinion matters?

    Um … I dunno. But I like the different thoughts on this I’ve see so far. Fun stuff.

    • You aren’t printing your work out, but you could. Close enough. How about stringing words together? Or would you really want string? You seem to be aiming for the literal and not the figurative or metaphorical. How about, “I put my thoughts into words.” “I pixelate my ideas.” or “I spend too much time in my own head.”

      I think you’re onto something with that last one. And this was really just a tongue-in-cheek sort of thing, I wasn’t all that serious. I just wondered how other wannabes handle it is all.

      I guess technically I’m not a wannabe anymore since I’ve been “published”, but something in me forgets that all the time since it wasn’t fiction and I didn’t have to jump through all the hoops a real fiction writer does.

  8. I’m glad you said this was a little tongue in cheek: I was just thinking, Whoa, he is definitely thinking too hard…!

    “Work” is the right word. It doesn’t make any differencev if it’s fun sometimes, or even most of the time. What makes it your work is that you keep doing it even when it’s not fun – even if your only objective is to get back to the fun part. And you know all that second-guessing (and pissing and moaning :)) you do about your craft/skill at writing? That’s a BIG symptom that you take it way more seriously than a plain old game.

    I love somebody who loves their work, paid for it or not, y’know?

    Aw, JES, that’s a HUGE uplifter right there, bud. I’ve never had anyone describe my pissing and moaning as a symptom of someone serious about something. I did this post tongue-in-cheek for sure, but I guess I am serious about every other aspect of my writing. Yes, my writing, that search for the right word, phrase, or textually created image to elicit an emotional response or manipulate the mood and feelings of a reader. Yeah. That’s sort of a lot to say, though, so maybe I’ll just call it whatever the heck pops into my head when I’m discussing it.

    Yeah, it can be work sometimes. Real work. Thanks again for the shot in the arm.

  9. I’m always working on ‘a chapter’ or ‘a story’, but I don’t often get to say that aloud ’cause I don’t know a lot of real, live writers where I live. 😀

    Hi Joy! Well, come on over here and say it as often as you like — lots of writers ’round these parts, and if you’re on Twitter you can find a ton more. Join the party! And it’s nice to have you back again!

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