What Makes A Writer

By: Jannelle

Writers write. That’s the big secret.

To be a writer one must write, it is that simple and all at the same time that overwhelmingly difficult.

If you can’t go more than a few hours without spilling something from your brain onto a page, you are a writer.

Many people who write, writers if you will, do not claim to be such because they have not yet, and some never plan to, reached some arbitrary goal of being a writer.

For some just finishing that first draft of a novel, or even a novella might be enough. The bar might be higher for others such as being published. Others still will place that goal all the way at being a best-selling author with major movie deals, etc. But in truth all you need to be a writer is to write.

writ·er
/ˈrīdər/
noun

A person who has written a particular text.
“The writer of the letter”

A person who writes books, stories, or articles as a job or regular occupation.
“The distinguished travel writer Freya Stark”

A person who writes in a specified way.
“Dickens was a prolific writer”

Definition by Oxford

From the first word of your first draft you are a writer, nay from the first words of anything you have written in preparation for the first words of that first draft and so on.

I think where many people get confused, or start seeking validation, is that we as a society like to label ourselves under the titles of our occupations. And so you might not think yourself a writer unless you make a majority of your income from writing alone.

This is in fact a common opinion, that to be a writer you must divine some monetary value from writing. This goal is something a majority of writers never achieve, consistently at least.

In many cases writers are not striving to write solely on the prospect of making money, they are writing for the value it adds to their lives, even without a price tag attached to it.

As I discussed in another post, Why We Write (link), writers often have a profound inner voice that compels them to this the act of writing. A lot of people are surprised by the amount of energy it takes to write everyday, but there are those who feel like they have to, and those people would be writers. There are many reasons why people write. Money not necessarily being at the top of that list.

We have come to rely on how we make money as a term to define ourselves not only within society, but also on a personal level. There is so much more to people than what they spend their time doing to “earn” a paycheck.

There is a word for those who have published books, and have moved into the making money phase, authors, however the word author can be even harder to define than that, because there are too unpublished authors, and even published authors that will never make any money from their writing.

So in truth the definition of what makes a writer can be fast and loose. If you are looking for a form of validation, than you don’t need my, or anyone else’s permission to have it.

Even if your schedule and current life situations are preventing you from pushing yourself to write more, if you write you are a writer, and you don’t have to justify that to others with a daily word count goal or super high standards and career path plans for your writing.


Want to be a writer? Then write. Congratulations you are a writer for fulfilling the one requisite of the title.

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