Mmm, good question. But what exactly is a writer? Here at Wordsworks Copywriting, we like to think we know a fair bit about the subject, but to help answer that question we decided to invite some friends round who are quite handy with words.

It was the usual crowd, including dear old Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde and a few others.

As you can imagine it took a while to settle them down, but when we did we put the question to them. Naturally, Oscar was the first to flourish an opinion: “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”

He’d hardly finished when there was a low growl from Ernest – who was knocking back a large cuba libre he’d produced from nowhere. “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

With that he stumbled out, presumably for the nearest bar. Bit awkward. But Thomas Mann was nodding sagely. “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people” he intoned with surprising irony. Well, there was just no stopping them all now.

“I do not know what makes a writer, but it probably isn’t happiness.” That was William Saroyan. Even Roald Dahl gave a gloomy view. “A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom”. Which jolted John Steinbeck out of his cheerful mood, prompting him to come out with: In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable”.

We were beginning to wonder if this whole thing had been such a good idea. Fortunately, Virginia Woolf – as usual – lightened the mood, quipping: “Language is wine upon the lips.”

Her old friend Jane Austen, reaching for her handbag and getting ready to leave, sighed and said: “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” Charlotte Bronte, who had offered them a lift home, was typically unromantic on the subject. “I’m just going to write because I cannot help it”.

Lighting a Gauloises, Albert Camus watched them go and shrugged. “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Mumbling to himself about the non-existence of an ashtray, he shuffled out of the room.