At What Point Are We “Writers”?

Posted: October 31, 2012 in Discussions, On Writing
Tags: , , ,

Recently I was scrolling through a list of comments on another’s blog (I’d cite it, but honestly cannot remember which, sorry), and I saw that someone left a comment referring to themself as a writer then wrote “if I can call myself that”. I’m guilty of using the same phrase, and I used it often until just recently. But, it got me wondering, when is it safe to say you’re a writer?

I wrote the blogger back, telling the person that regardless the reasons you write, if you do it, you are it. I was trying to be inspirational, though I think I may have come off as a little offensive. If I did, and you’re reading this, I apologize.

How many of you have found yourselves wondering whether or not you deserve that elusive title of “Writer” or “Author”? For me, there’s a difference between a writer and an author (but this, I think, is all perspective). When I think author, the word implies to me that said writer has been published, though that doesn’t mean that the writer is always unpublished. I suppose what it all boils down to is where the line is in your mind. How much do you have to write, how seriously do you have to take it, how hard do you have to work at it, in order to give yourself that title? You know, no one else will do it for you.

If you’re afraid to stand up and shout that you are a writer, take a second to look at what you do. Even if the most writing you do all day is blogging, you are still stringing together words to create sentences that capture a reader. If that’s not the definition of a writer, I don’t know what is. Don’t let the opportunity to be what you want slip by because you were too afraid to reach out and grab it.

Say it with me all, “I AM A WRITER”.

What? What was that? I think I heard a fly fart.

I want louder, “I AM A WRITER!!!”

There, now don’t you feel better? Liberated? I bet so.

I hope this helps someone out there in limbo. I know it took me a little while to realize that there’s no “club” or “in crowd” of writers (though I suppose there could be at conventions and what not, but that’s beside the point) to invite me in and give me a title. I might not be part of a “club” or secret writer’s fraternity, but I’m here to hand you this invisible diploma, careful, don’t drop it in front of everyone. Yes, you all get one. This diploma states that regardless of age, education, social status, writing topics, writing methods, what job you have to work to stay afloat while you work on the next great american novel, publication status, and what you may think, you are a writer, and should be proud to say so. Congratulations.

Do what you want with your invisible “Writer” diploma. Just know that no matter what, it’s always hanging on the wall, there to remind you of your dream. Take down your diploma every once in a while, dust it off, look at its invisible page, and smile, knowing that you are what you are, and nothing can change that. I think I’ll hang my diploma right next to my invisible “Biggest Bull-Shitter” award.

Please feel free to comment. I look forward to reading other thoughts on this topic.

  1. The Hook says:

    You’re a writer – trust me!

  2. cjcleach says:

    Good question.

    When I first started I figured I would call myself a writer when I got published. Until then I was an aspiring writer. Those three syllables mean a lot.

    Lately I’ve realised that being a writer is more than a job though. It’s more like a hair colour. You’re born a writer like you’re born a brunette You can bleach it out, cut it off or cover it up. But it will always show through eventually. You may as well wear it proudly.

    • When I started writing, I figured I couldn’t call myself a “Writer” until I was published as well, but between my job only requiring two to three hours a week (I do accounting for my in-law’s construction business), and how much time I put into my writing, I figured I deserved the title. It is afterall, subjective and mostly a matter of opinion. I agree that being a writer is more than just a job too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! =]

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