A recent topic has emerged on one of my writing forums (Litopia.com) about the term “aspiring writer”. Why do some people call themselves “Aspiring Writers”? Why not “Writers”. Why tack on the modifier? What keeps them from reaching their aspiration? It of course boils down to perception. They perceive “writers” as “published.” Heck, for a long time, I perceived the title “Writer” as meaning “published”. I guess it’s a right of passage that confers the title. Doctors are not doctors until they go to med-school, pass their MCAPS , etc. Likewise, some do not consider themselves “Writers” with the capital “W” until they are published.
But is that the right definition of being a writer?
if you are a painter you paint. You can be a good painter, an okay painter or a really AWFUL painter. But no one would question if you called yourself a painter.
if you are an artist, you create art. You might create something every one loves, hates or is indifferent to, but still you are an artist.
I am a knitter because I knit. Now, I don’t knit very complex things (yet). I can make hats, scarves, gloves and socks. I have made one simple tube top with straps. But I am still a knitter. I am accepted by other knitters because I knit. We can talk about fiber and yarn and needles and technique. They teach me things and even in my novice state I teach them.
I am a baker because I love to bake. I am not a professional baker, nor am I an expert baker – but my oatmeal cookies are DELISH!
I am a dreamer who dreams up stories. I was a dreamer long before I wrote them down. But in the writing down I started on a new path. A journey of growth and becoming more. I am a dreamer in transition. My stories were good in the beginning, but I lacked (and still lack) discipline, experience and technique. The only way to gain these things and become a writer worthy of my dreams is by writing.
I am a writer.
That’s right. I put it out there without a modifier, without apology and without equivocating what I mean by the word. I am a writer!
I avoided the “writer” label for a long time. I did this because EVERYONE says they are writer(well not everyone but you know what I mean). I go to Starbucks and there are 20 “writers” plugging away on trendy laptops. I buy a book on writing at Barnes and Noble and guess what….the clerk ringing me up is a writer, as is everyone else behind the counter. I felt like a pretender, an imposter, if I said I was a writer. Instead I would say I was working on a story. (Don’t get me started on what I call my writing! Is it a book or a novel? Is it a story, but gosh that sounds immature)
I just kept writing (without the title), plugging away towards my dream. Then I got published in an E-Zine for my Ribbons and Ivy piece. I asked myself, am I a writer now? I asked my friends this question. Deep in my core I thought “No not a writer yet…that’s just online and doesn’t count”. Then three pieces were printed in an anthology and I asked myself the same thing. My answer was, “No, not yet, my name isn’t on the book.”
I started calling myself a writer when a friend told me to stop apologizing and equivocating and gave me the smack on the head I needed. I am a writer.
I write because the voices in my head get to loud when I don’t. I write because I come up with a story idea and wish someone would write the book so I could read it. Then I realize only I can write it. I forget some times that I wrote the story. I will start thinking about a story I remember reading…wonder what happened next and then realize CRAP… I haven’t written it yet.
I am a Writer, because I write. I read about it, think about it and study it. I work at writing. Perhaps that is the difference between aspiring to be a writer and perspiring for your writing. Many people dream of being a writer. Some for the money and fame, others for the love of a book. But the line is drawn not by what you dream, but by what you do.
To borrow a phrase from on of my favorite characters; “Do or do not – there is no aspire”!
So raise your laptop’s high, my fellow writers and declare to the world with pride that you are a Writer. Do not hesitate in owning who and what your are.