When it comes to being a writer, there’s really only one criteria that has to be met. You have to WRITE!
Sounds pretty simple, right? Okay, then why do so many people call themselves aspiring writers. When I see (or hear that) I automatically assume that they’re aspiring to write some words, they’re thinking about it, and one day, with any luck, they will put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and…write.
I realize that’s not how everyone else sees it. In fact, I visited a website the other day of a woman who had written three books. But, right there, across the top of her webpage, right next to her name, were the words: aspiring writer. She had written three full length novels, but she obviously didn’t consider herself to be a writer, she was still aspiring to be one. Hmm.
That got me thinking. At what point ARE you a writer?
Maybe that differs for everyone. Maybe that particular woman didn’t consider herself a writer until a ‘gatekeeper’ told her she was one by offering her representation? Maybe she wouldn’t consider herself a writer until she’d sold her first book? I don’t know. I probably never will.
I do realize that this differs for everyone. But in my eyes, I’m a writer because, well… I write. Even before I was selling my books, I was still a writer. (At least in my own eyes.) I don’t need an agent to tell me I’m ‘good enough’ in order to be a writer. I don’t need to write ten books. Heck, I don’t even need to show anyone my writing if I don’t want to. I’m still a writer, because I write.
I went through a period during University and my first few years of marriage when I didn’t write. I wanted to. I thought about it a lot. I thought about how much I’d enjoyed it all through school. I thought about book ideas. I thought about characters. But…I didn’t write. Not a word. Then I heard this piece of advice, the same advice I give to aspiring writers:
If you wish to be a writer…WRITE!