Over the years, I’ve noticed there tends to be a lot of bloviating on who has the right to call themselves a writer.
Some people think you have to be published.
(I’m not sure how that works. Does one publication count? Two? Or does it have to be constant? What about consistent? Can you publish something and then five years later publish something else and still fit the title?)
Others think you have to make a living with the written word. Still others seem to think that if you don’t write this type of fiction or that type of non-fiction, you’re not really a writer.
It’s enough to give you a complex.
I subscribe to the school of thought that says: if you write (because you can’t not write), then you’re a writer.
You may be a novelist, an essayist, a short story writer, a blogger. Those are all writers. You may be a technical writer or an instructional writer or a proposal writer. That’s still writing.
You may write fanfiction; you’re still a writer. (And, hey, people legitimately publish and make money off movie and TV show tie-ins, so….)
You may be unpublished…that just makes you an unpublished writer. You may only publish a handful of stories or one novel in your lifetime but so did many well-known authors, would you say they weren’t writers?
You may not be able to quit your day job to write but you’re still a writer.
Hell, you may not want to quit your day job to write—you may enjoy the job and then the peace of escaping into a different world at the end of the day—and that can throw you in the category of hobbyist instead of careerist, but you’re still a writer.
So the next time you hesitate about calling yourself a writer, the next time you come across someone who looks askance at you for calling yourself a writer, just remember: writers abound. From poets to playwrights, textbook to technical writers; unpublished, widely published, little published.
It’s not the type of writing or the amount of publication that makes you a writer. The fact that you write—and continue to write—makes you a writer.