What Makes A Writer? – Guest post by Kim Cook

01 Nov 2019 / Uncategorized

Kim Cook

This is a question that anyone reading this has surely asked themselves.  For me some days I’m a writer, other days I’m a podiatrist. (I really am a podiatrist). But I’m barely published, have made very little money from writing and the worst sin, I don’t write every day. So, what makes a writer and when can you actually describe yourself as one?

When I’m in rehearsal at the community theatre company I started six years ago, I feel like a writer. This is partly due to the fact that others, especially new members, look to me as if I actually know what I’m doing. And whilst I concede that I know more now than at the start,  I spend a lot of time flaying around between ‘great work guys’ and ‘what the hell am I doing.’  My  bright idea back then was to approach our  town council, tell them I had never acted, nor produced a play, did not have a membership, had no professional  writing credits, and then ask  if I could use the theatre for free, put on original plays and share the revenue for the ticket sales. Of course, in my writerly mind they would laugh me out of the building, but at least I would have a humorous anecdote and maybe even a sketch to perform in my imaginary comedy club. But guess what, they said yes. And now we have a membership, a growing audience, have facilitated budding writers, directors, actors and for those with minds greater than mine, techies.

But I am a writer because someone believed me.

During my writing life I have continued to make my way to Totleigh or the Hurst and the Clockhouse, but weirdly never Lumb Bank, (no offence Ted, it’s just how it falls) at least once a year, okay twice. Fine, sometimes three times. I admit it, I’m an Arvon slut, so shoot me.  I arrive on Monday and meet my fellow terrifiees, and know for a fact that I am the worst writer there. But by Friday night after the wine and the reading that publishing deal/commission is within my grasp and no-one can wipe the smile off my face.

And I am a writer, because I go to writing weeks.

So, after years of delicious food, stimulating company and blissful surroundings what do I do next. Apply for the Arvon/Jerwood mentoring scheme of course. (I’d like to put a LOL in there, but I’m 57 years old for goodness sake).

Anyway, first year, last ten. Not bad, I’ll keep trying. Second year, top six, I get an interview. Muck that up spectacularly, by talking nonsense for an hour. Then I get the news. I’m on and spend an idyllic year with the remarkable Chris Thorpe and two other (way better than me) playwrights, as well as talented poets and fictioneers.

And then I know I’m a writer. Because a proper writer has told me I am.

But all this aside, and looking at today. I’m still writing plays for my company, and I’m trying my hand at a novel. I’m still not published or earned any money, that’s maybe because I haven’t really tried. And I still don’t write every day – will I ever learn?

But, and here’s my answer, I am a writer, because I write.


This post was written by Kim Cook, an Arvon Friend.

Kim Cook 39, a real housewife of Somerset.
Okay fine, Kim Cook 57,  a podiatrist, mother, grandmother, writer, actor, director and producer who occasionally puts a duster round.




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