When do you call yourself a writer?

I feel uncomfortable calling myself a writer. When fellow aspiring authors address blog posts to writers, I shy away, thinking they can’t possibly mean me. And, yes, sometimes they are looking for answers from published authors. I have nothing to offer a blogger requesting advice on seeking representation for a novel, because I have never done so. But does that mean I shouldn’t share my experiences when they fit the topic? I am a writer by the very definition of the term – I am a person who writes.

In real life, too, if I tell people I’m a writer, they think that means I’m published and, unless you count a poem printed in a student journal at university, I’m not. I usually end up saying I write “for fun” or “as a hobby”, but that hardly encompasses the passion, dedication and, sometimes, mental agony that goes into my writing.

This is how I tend to look both when I'm writing and when I'm thinking about whether or not I'm a writer.
This is not only how I often look while writing, but also while thinking about whether or not I’m a writer.

I’m curious how other aspiring authors and bloggers feel about this question. Do you feel comfortable calling yourself a writer? Or do you, too, avoid considering yourself such?

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3 thoughts on “When do you call yourself a writer?

  1. I am a little leary of “labels”. I write, but then doesn’t almost everyone? I may tell people that I write, I enjoy writing, or that I write poetry, but neither wish to exalt nor limit myself by defining myself as “a poet”. And from the meditation/mindfulness perspective too I try not to focus on labels.

    Setting that aside, I think I understand what you are getting at here. And once again, I feel labelling is best avoided We can talk about what we do, but saying what we *are* is a whole other kettle of fish, and perhaps a rather stinky one. 🙂

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    1. I think, in a way, you’ve gotten at the crux of my issue here. The problem with labels, as you allude to, is that they come with attendant connotations, and it’s the connotations other people associate with the word “writer” that make me wary of calling myself one. In a way, though, it doesn’t really matter. If a blogger asks for responses from writers, it will generally be clear from the post whether or not I have the experience and skill to give a relevant reply, rather than trying to puzzle out whether or not that particular person defines the word ‘writer’ solely as someone who writes.

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      1. I suppose it should not be too surprising that someone whose craft, whatever proportion of their time and attention they devote to it, employs words might ponder on their associations and connotations, including those they use in describing themselves or encouraging others to do so.

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