Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Kind Of Writer?

It's only in the past six months that I've actually felt comfortable calling myself a writer. Before then I wasn't really sure what to call myself. Aspiring writer? Emerging writer? Beginning writer?

I always had a problem with aspiring writer.  That makes you sound like someone who wants to be a writer but may or may not be actually doing anything.  An emerging writer has similar connotations. Emerging from where? From the great unknown to fame and fortune?  Then I suspect I'll be emerging for a very long time, although this is the term I personally favoured for a long time.

And then there's just writer. All on its own.

There are a whole bunch of writers out there who simply say if you write, then you're a writer. But I don't think it's that simple or that accurate. Someone who writes? Then every single student in school is a writer.

But no.  We don't allow that for other pastimes or career pursuits. And are we demeaning the professional writer by suggesting anyone can write?

If an adults performs scenes in their own house we would never consider them an actor. The same as someone who kicks a football around their backyard isn't a player. My mother used to make her own clothes, back in the day. But she would never call herself a fashion designer. We need to have some kind of levels of ability, result, professionalism. This, perhaps unfortunately, is measured through sales and publications - external validation.

When people asked me, I used to tell them that I wrote short fiction and aimed to become a professional writer (and that doesn't necessarily mean you'll make a full time living from it). But despite what some will tell you, there are tiers of markets, people who write do have varied talents, and not all stories are equal.

But I now have that external validation. I have sales to respected markets, purchased by recognised and awarded editors and publishers.

I've just started and I have a long way to go, but I am a writer.

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