That’s a trick question, right?
I had a writing professor as an undergrad that defined a “writer” as someone who got paid to write. I disagree. It’s like saying you’re not anything unless you get paid to do it. We are all a lot of things that we choose to be – I write because I enjoy it, not because I might get a dime or two out of it.
I think she meant it as a job title. No, I’m not a “writer” on my taxes. I’m a writer because I write in my spare time. I enjoy writing. My mom doesn’t get paid to garden, yet every summer she’s outside.
If you write, you are a writer by laws of English grammar. You don’t have to be published to consider yourself a writer. Maybe you keep your poems or stories in a shoe box or on a specially named file on your computer. Publication should be the goal of writers – unless it’s not. Maybe you post your writings online for the world, that’s fine to. Technically, that’s publishing them online.
That same professor was very proud of her literary novel, too. She struck me as the traditionalist when it came to publishing – it’s the same sort of “snobby” attitude people of the publishing world have when it comes to self-publishing. They see it as a way for writers who aren’t “good enough” to land a traditional agent to skip the process. It’s a “cheap” way to call yourself a writer.
Unfortunately, that’s sometimes true. But, it is up to the other indie writers who spend time, brain cells, and money to make our stories the best we can. We’ve got to shatter that mold of bad indie writing!
I am a writer. I will continue to be until I am nothing.
3 thoughts on “When Do I Start Calling Myself a “Writer?””
I think calling yourself a writer is a personal choice that can happen at all sorts of different skill levels depending on the person. I would define a writer as a person the spends most of their waking time working on or thinking about writing. But for other people the definition might be different. As for poor self published writing quality, I think those writers are weeding themselves out. Bad writers don’t put a whole lot of effort into their writing and they are quick to quit when they don’t make a bunch of fast cash.
I’ve dealt with writer like that. They write and self-published a novel without getting much feedback, thinking that they’ll be the J. K. Rowling, and then they don’t understand why the cash isn’t rolling in. I struggle with what to say to these writers. How to do help them understand where they went wrong? Do I, as a self-published writer, even quality to help them in that understand?
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Reblogged this on Amanda McCoy and commented:
I really thought this was a thought provoking post. It instantly got my brain churning with all the ways people can define and redefine what it is to be a writer and what a person has to achieve to be called a writer.