That’s the easiest question ever to answer, and yet time and time again I see people selling themselves short.
So, what is a writer?
Yep! That’s all a writer is…if you write at all toward your dream of being a ‘writer’, then you’re a writer. You are NOT an aspiring writer. Unless – all you do is dream the dream, and put no words down toward achieving that dream. So, if this is true then WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS HOLY DO SO MANY PEOPLE CALL THEMSELVES THAT?
I’m not screaming at you just making a solid point. I believe that most people use the term aspiring because they think that using the plain old term writer is misleading. After all aren’t the only ‘real writers’ published?
Nope. They aren’t. A ‘real writer’ is defined as someone who writes. It’s someone who’s using a pen and paper or a word processor or a computer or whatever to tell a story or relate information. I am a writer because I am writing this blog post. I am a writer because on another tab I am writing a mystery/suspense novel. I am a writer because in a handy notebook beside my laptop here, I am writing an outline for an entrepreneurial book that I plan to write. I am a writer because I am not an aspiring writer.
I use to be. I use to sit and dream about what it’d be like to be a published author. I would stroll through book shops and dream about seeing my name there someday – but I NEVER WROTE A WORD OF MY OWN STORIES. That’s why I was an aspiring author. I could dream the dream (and boy did I ever dream the dream) but I never trusted myself enough to take that leap of faith to actually pull out an old notebook and WRITE A STORY. Until the day that I did.
No. There wasn’t any fan-fair. No confetti cannons. No groups of literary agents and big publishing company editors standing there trying to force me to sign a publishing contract. No bunches of fans standing around screaming my name for me to sign their copy of my book. No Hollywood execs wanting me to sign for a movie deal for my book. Nope. Nothing. There was just me and my notebook with penciled in lines of MY STORY.
That first story was terrible. No horrible. Actually I’m now ashamed to admit that I even wrote it, except for the fact that it was my first. It’s the physical evidence of me taking that leap from dreaming ‘aspiring’ writer to being a full-fledged writer. I had lost my writer’s virginity. I was a changed woman.
Well not much, but I was brave enough to call myself A WRITER! And it was that day that I contracted the worst-ever case of WRITER-AHOLICISM (Yeah, that doesn’t ‘really’ exist but its effects affect every single person out there brave enough to call themselves WRITER). What is writeraholicism?
The insatiable desire to write. Now, that I had been bitten by that bug – I had to WRITE. So, I did. I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote some more. (I hadn’t discovered that I had to down the revision and editing drugs yet to help stabilize my writeraholicism – that is to come in a different post.) My writing got better. My writing got stronger. My writing was changing my life.
Now, when I use the terms ‘aspiring’ and ‘writer’ together there are other words in between them. Which makes it look like: I am aspiring to be published writer. I’m that; because I’m querying. Which seems to be yet another medicine that you have to swallow to cope with your writeraholicism. I’m told there isn’t a cure for writeraholicism, just drugs that helps you deal with your disorder – but we wouldn’t want a cure if there was one would we?
So, do me a favor. If you’re reading this and you’re still stuck in that ‘aspiring’ name-calling pit – STOP IT! Call yourself what you are, and never ever be ashamed. If you are taking steps along the writeraholicism path, then I’m afraid there’s no hope for you. You’ll just have to take your revision, editing and querying meds with the rest of us, because you’re in it for the long haul. That makes YOU A WRITER – not an aspiring anything, unless you’ve recently started your querying drugs, and if that’s the case you may call yourself an aspiring to be published writer. But, for the sake of those you love, just give it to them straight and call yourself as you are: WRITER.
Now, on the other hand, if you’re still stuck in the dreaming but not writing yet stage – what are you waiting for? This post isn’t meant to scare you off. It’s meant to give you a right smart kick in the bottom. Being a writer isn’t scary. It’s rewarding. There are tons of others out there that are waiting to help you, because unlike most jobs and careers – there isn’t a limit on how many people can do the job. You don’t have to interview and beat other people. You don’t have to compete with everyone else out there that’s doing this writing thing too (and there is A LOT OF THEM- don’t believe me. Check out the #amwriting tag on Twitter sometime, or #writerslife, or #writetip, or so very many others). The writing and publishing industry world is, in my opinion, the most welcoming and helpful career choice out there. There’s enough room in the publishing industry for all of us.
So, off with you – don’t you have some writing to do? I thought so. I’ve a mystery/suspense to finish myself. See all of you on the other side with our names on book spines.
By the way, if you’re feeling brave enough and you haven’t yet – go change your web profiles everywhere and take out that darned ‘ASPIRING’ from in front of WRITER.