It should be fairly obvious that a writer writes. That's part of the definition. I've seen a couple of movies recently, though, with portrayals of writers that aren't entirely flattering and certainly don't suggest at all that writers do much writing. Limitless begins with the main character trying to write a novel but suffering from what you might call writer's block as he just sits in his apartment throwing a ball around or at his computer not typing anything, and then taking a break after an hour of doing nothing to get a drink; You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger shows throughout the falling confidence of a married man that doesn't seem to do anything productive or positive throughout the entire movie and then has to resort to stealing another man's book because, well, it's his last resort. In the latter movie we at least hear that the man has published four novels but none of them seem to have received much acclaim and his stock with the publishers appears to have run out. Neither movie, then, would give you the impression that writers write. Instead it would seem that writers are silly creatures with little to no prospects in life that, even if they were successful, wouldn't add much to society anyway.
No doubt the perception of what a writer does bothers me. When people ask me what I hope to do with my life I am quite timid, though it was only a few months ago that I boasted a confidence level that neared or topped the heights of cockiness. I do not want to say that I intend to be a writer and then have the person think that means that I don't intend to do anything with my life, that I'm sitting around, that I'm not at all useful to myself, a potential family, or to anyone they could imagine. If only I could restore my confidence to insist that my writing will be useful. Most writing is useful in some way, if only that it is found to be meaningful. But I need to re-convince myself that it is useful before I can persuade others.
A nice breakfast with Joel and Megan and some other UMC pastor friends this morning helped remind me, though, that a writer writes. For now I can't worry about what the perception of a writer is. I certainly can't worry about what the perception of John Lucy is. Pondering either thing too long would no doubt be crippling, it has already been crippling for a little while. Rather, I need to just focus on writing, on putting the time in, on getting my fingers moving on the keyboard and the notepads. I need to stick to my routines of writing out introductions, essays, and short stories by hand; to writing ideas, lines, and outlines on scrap pieces of paper or my handy-dandy moleskin notebook given to me by my great friends the Ulmers; to writing at least a couple of letters by hand every week. If I want to be a writer to hopefully improve the lives of others, I must write, and write and write and write.