Okay, an odd question. Maybe. But when I asked it of a writing group I facilitate, some very interesting answer emerged. And they emerged in different ways.
So, for example, some responded to the question with “action” lists like: putting my butt in the chair; making time to write; setting my alarm clock earlier. This kind of list reflects the practicalities and realities of writing. The need to make time and space for it. And certainly, without doing those things, the writing won’t get done. So we have to be responsible for creating a context in which the work can happen.
Others responded with a more psychological approach. I need to be more vulnerable, more open, in order to develop a relationship with my readers. I’ve been given a gift, it matters what I do with it. These speak to the responsibilities we have to our readers and to ourselves. It points to us not taking the gift of writing lightly. We are responsible both for the gift we’ve been given, and how our words effect our readers.
Another writer in the group talked of writing as “service.” Her words are of service to the world and therefore are part of her responsibility, as a citizen of the earth, for making a difference.
There are so many other responsibilities, of course. Like quality, like the busy work of the author’s website or marketing our books, finding agents, editors, publishers. Or taking on the task of self-publishing. The truth is, writing is a path filled with responsibility–to oneself, others, and the magic of creativity. But once you know what you’re responsible for, you can put your energy there.
So make a list of all your responsibilities, tangible and less so. And then ask yourself–am I willing to take on the responsibilities of being a writer?
And while you’re at it, it would be lovely if you would share your list below.