Call yourself a Writer?

There is only one answer to this question: I would like to, very much, but I can’t yet proclaim it with any honesty.  I post a few blog pieces, read as much as time allows and aspire to be a writer, but I think I am in fact a long way from achieving that.  This makes me wonder at what point in the future I will think of myself as a writer.  What level of competence will I need to attain?  I call myself an aspiring writer, but I feel that I need to move on with the aspiration and start making the dream a reality.  Walk the talk, you might say.

I’ve read that declaring oneself to be a writer, particularly in writing, on forms for example, makes it seem more real, more possible.  In a previous life I trained to be a nurse, and at the end of the first week in college the tutor asked if we’d told anyone yet that we were nursing students.  As many of us had changed careers, identifying ourselves as nursing students made it more real to us after numerous years of identifying ourselves as other things; administrators, insurance clerks or mothers for example.   It was like putting on a different cloak and adopting the new role even though we were at the very beginning of our training.

I’ve been reading books about how to write and began with Stephen King’s “On Writing” which I found enjoyable and informative.  I’m now reading Louise Doughty’s “How to Write a Novel in a Year.”  Although I’ve no intention of completing that particular challenge just yet, I think I might make an attempt at writing short stories.  With that in mind, today I went to the local independent bookshop, where all the staff members have forgotten more about books than I will ever know, and asked what they stock on writing short stories.  I felt a small flutter of apprehension as if I expected them to take one look at me and say “you’re not a writer!” and throw me out of the shop for being a fraud.  But of course, they did no such thing.  They took me seriously and showed me the books they had.  I don’t think they were just being kind.

So now proper, independent booksellers appear to believe that I might be a potential writer, and I’m a little more inclined to believe it myself.  I have a long way to go before I declare myself a writer when completing forms, but today I feel that I’ve taken a very small step in that direction.  It’s a new dawn.  And I’m feeling good.

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8 Responses to Call yourself a Writer?

  1. Ally Bean says:

    I believe that if you write something and then you share it with an audience, you are a writer. Hence, as a blogger you are already a writer and can refer to yourself as such.

    I know that in writing circles there are all sorts of opinions about when to call yourself an author– and when to call yourself a journalist. I just go with the flow on those two terms, but when it comes to the good ‘ole generic term “writer” I stick with a basic definition. fwiw.

  2. Kate says:

    You are a writer to me and as you seem to respect my opinion,you are stymied and are, indeed, a writer. Your writing it out there and valued already. Keep up the good work and well done on the short story idea.

  3. Zazzy says:

    I agree with Ally and Kate – I suspect that what you might be feeling is similar to an actor who also waits tables. Which do I do most and is that what I really am?

    I remember reading something Isaac Asimov wrote about writing, to the effect that it was his job. He got up in the morning and he went and wrote. It wasn’t about waiting for inspiration or motivation, it was what he did. Perhaps to feel more like a writer you need to act like one – write every day whether or not you feel like, whether or not you like what you’ve written.

  4. Susan Mann says:

    It is said if you write you are a writer. I’m not so sure. I have a short story published and wouldn’t dream of saying I’m a writer. I love to write but I don’t think I’ll ever call myself a writer. Good luck to you x

  5. Amodernmother says:

    You are most definitely a writer.

  6. Older Mum says:

    Hope your blogging month is going well. You are definately a writer – a very prosaic one. Your writing flows really well, and is very thought provoking – loved your piece about the motherless mother. Keep writing!