You can call yourself a writer ... when exactly?

Mummy, am I a writer yet? - typecast Rino Breebaart

Mummy, am I a writer yet? - typecast Rino Breebaart
Original Word Rebel post


Rob Bowker said...

Not being a writer is one the ways I define myself. I'm this, I'm that, I can do the other ...but I'm not a writer. Thinking on that shows the esteem I hold writers in. As a graphic designer my only ingredients are words and pictures, neither of which means much without the other. I think of a writer as someone who can harvest meaning from experience and bake it into a story. For me, whether or not it gets read isn't the issue. That's more about proving you are a writer. Thanks for sharing.

Richard P said...

All your definitions depend on some sort of readership, no matter how small. Can't someone be a writer without any audience at all?

mpclemens said...

If you write, then you're a writer. If someone else reads it, then I think it's fair to call yourself a writer, too.

Neither of these things make you a good writer, mind you. That comes with practice, and honest criticism taken to heart. I've certainly read over some not-very-good writing produced by "writers," and of course talked up my contribution to the world's amateur literary pool.

"Successful writer" or "published writer" seems to be what most people imagine when they hear "writer." There's a lot in between "wrote something" and "am supporting myself on the royalties."

Jonathan said...

If a bad poem is penned in a bedroom and no one reads it, is it written?

rino breebaart said...

Jon, even a stinkingly bad poem composed in a bedroom could be the worst poem in the universe, so yes it must be written. (Damn, I wanted to strike an Adams line there...)

Thanks for the comments folks, I'm still in two minds about the whole issue. Money on teh one hand, and something needing recognition/audience on the other. hmmmmmm (work in progress)

deek said...

I agree with Mike, in that I think the general thought of one being a "writer" is having been published and paid.

I also think that those that write for a living, whether that be opinion, non-fiction, documentation, per word or by salary, are in that mix, but are not normally thought as the same as a fiction writer. We don't know Asimov as much by the textbooks he wrote, but by the fiction.

Now, I think those that write, but don't call themselves a writer, feel like amateurs or not real writers, even though they are. I think that is more a personal bias than anything else.

I don't think a writer requires a reader/audience. So, simply, as stated above, a person who writes is a writer. Anything beyond that is just more specific.

wordrebel said...

I've always likened being a writer (or referring to oneself as a writer) to someone who plucks corny melodies from a guitar calling themselves a musician. While they may think themselves very capable and talented, reality may prove them wrong. Still, they go on and give it all they've got. This passion is what turns a hobby into something more. Does it make the "professional" musician any less relevant or talented? Not at all. In fact it may go far to help the cause of the better skilled!