Are We Artists

Blocks are to writers as Unidentified Flying Objects are to other cranks.

This is the quote I came across in one of my notebooks that I leaf through once in a while. In my notebook there’s no mention of the author or the book that I have taken it from. The notebook is old, from the days I was taking creative courses in Dubai with a British instructor. I continue to read:

“There are no blocks that you do not create yourself. Proper work methods prevent blocks.”

I remember these being my tutor’s words. I close my eyes and I remember the room in Dubai Arts Centre where the creative writing workshops were held. I remember my place in that small room, opposite the tutor, even though it was decades ago. I remember also one day when one of us students hadn’t been able to produce any writing, and complained that she suffered from writer’s block. The teacher’s response was:

“Writer’s Block is a non-existent phenomenon that thousands truly believe they have not only observed but experienced.”

Then he continued on to say, to our surprise:

“Until you’re published you should not call yourself an artist.”

Which makes me think. Things have changed so much for artists and writers since then. With the invention and boom of digital art and digital publishing, I wonder if what our instructor said at the time still applies. With the e-books, e-magazines and blogging can we call ourselves artists?

According to statistics there are over three million bloggers who post articles in English almost every day, let alone those who write in all different languages. Articles that we publish without being paid for. Articles we write out of mere passion and the love of writing, without even getting the recognition that some, the more lucky ones, get. And yet we do it with the same enthusiasm, with the same gut feeling in our stomach, with the same heart warming satisfaction we get each time we share our thoughts and feelings with the rest of the world.

And yet still, not all of us are published in the same old traditional way. We don’t have signed contracts with big, or even small publishers, but we have digital books published on Kindle, etc. We have friends and fellow bloggers who read what we write. We have people who view our posts on a daily basis.

If we are not artists then what are we?


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2 Responses to Are We Artists

  1. Where I live, writers are considered artists. We can get grants from the national or provincial, even the city’s Art Council for writing projects, school visits, etc. If you consider yourself a writer and are a member of our Writer’s Guild (& you don’t have to be officially ‘published’ to join) you are eligible for one of their grants. So, yes, I definitely consider writers as artists and don’t care what anyone else tells us. 🙂

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