If you write, you’re a writer.

I hate when I hear people say they’re “an aspiring writer.”
Because invariably, they’re wrong. They don’t want to be, they already are.

If you write, you’re a writer.
If you’ve written a book (even just a spotty and fractured first draft), you’re an author.

The only way to be an aspiring writer is to never actually try. If you spend all your time thinking about it without ever putting pen to paper or fingers to keys… then you can say you’re aspiring and be completely truthful.

Aspirations are about not doing something. Once you’ve started doing it, you’re no longer aspiring, you’ve passed that bar!


There are two reasons I think people use this:

1- Most of the times I have heard this (when it wasn’t said directly to me) the statement was made to a traditionally published author, or someone on a convention panel. And I think it became the thing to say in this situation because it sounds better than “I want what you have.”

Maybe people think that sort of statement will come off as something akin to jealousy and they don’t want to be seen that way, maybe they think they think they’re being polite… I don’t know.

2 - (And this is both the more likely, and--I think--the more important to address) The writing/book world is an incredibly discouraging place.

Even if you don’t run into the negativity from outside forces, we are conditioned to look at the amazing things that other people have done and think, “How can I possibly compare?”

I would guess that many people who aspire to be a writer (even though they already are) have faced, and still face, people in their lives who subtly tear them apart. Or, not so subtly--people are horrible.


I guess what I’m here to say is:
Stop aspiring. Stop telling people that’s what you’re doing.

If you write, you’re a writer.

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Comments

  1. Good food for thought. I was guilty of calling myself an aspiring writer. Now, I hesitate to call myself an author even though I've published books. Somehow, I still feel like a fraud.

    Cheers - Ellen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Imposter syndrome is real. I think one of the things that helps the most is probably looking at the word objectively. "A writer of a book, article, or report." You've written books. You are definitely an author.

      Delete
  2. Hi,
    I truly understand what you're saying but some writers don't believe they're writers until they have gotten something published.
    Wishing you all the best.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love this post. Being in any creative field is terrifying. People tear you down and make you feel like you aren't good enough and never will be. I mean – sometimes you come across a kind soul who wants to help, but I feel like that is less than it really ought to be.

    Anyway, thanks for this post. It was a fantastic reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! There's always going to be room for improvement, but telling someone they aren't--when they categorically are--is just spiteful nonsense.

      Delete
  4. Well said. It took me 25 years to get my first novel out. And then, that Rubicon passed, I got the rest out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations on passing that hurdle! I hope you never let anyone try to tell you you weren't a writer as you made your way through the plot trenches.

      Delete
  5. Love this. Identities are critical for success. If you want to write more, write better, you must believe you are a writer, that you belong, that writing is part of your identity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm certain there are a lot of people who manage to do those things without believing they are a writer. But it's definitely a roadblock that shouldn't have to be in their way.

      Delete
  6. I've never called myself an aspiring writer--I know that writing makes me a writer. I have used the adjective to describe myself as an author though. I dropped it sometime after finishing my first novel draft or publishing my novelette. I don't remember which inspired it. I didn't think about why I used the term, but I think it was just a way to make it clear up front that I hadn't put out any works yet. I do think it's often used as a form of self-deprecation though.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've always thought of 'aspiring' as wanting to be more. I'm an aspiring writer. I'm proud of it. Every day I write and hope to get better. Every day I read and want to learn more about the craft. I'll never be perfect, yet I aim to try. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree, A.B. I have been writing most of my life. I haven't published a book yet, but I have published a short story and many newspaper articles, countless papers and reports, letters, journals, blog posts. I just have to snag "author" which I'm working on. No way am I aspiring! Loved your post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you go by definition, you are an author already, but I understand if you attach that particular word to books/novels specifically. Good luck with your book!

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I appreciate you making me think about the difference between 'writer' and 'author'. Just a matter of being in print I guess and even 'print' on the internet is print. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

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