What is a writer?

Writer in disguiseYou know those questions that seem so obvious, they shouldn’t need asking? Well this is one of those. Or at least, that’s what I thought. But it seems that some people have different ideas as to what constitutes a writer. Or an author, or novelist for that matter.

The main issue seems to be whether you can give yourself an official title if you are unpublished. Which is to say, you are only a writer if you’ve written a book and had it published.

Bollocks, says I.

As far as I’m concerned, a writer is someone who writes. If you’ve written, or are writing, you are a writer. There’s nothing fake about it. You’re not pretending (unless you’re just telling people you write but never actually do), you’re an actual writer. If you’ve been published then you’re a published writer. If you’ve not been published then you’re an unpublished writer.

Anyone who says different is just plain wrong.

The same goes for novelist. A novelist is one who writes novels. That’s all there is to it. Published or not, if you write novels please feel free to call yourself a novelist. If you write short stories, I insist you start referring to yourself as a short storiest.

Author? An author is one who creates written articles or books. If your name is on the front, you’re the author. Fact.

People like titles, they make us feel like we belong. Sadly they also allow us to exclude people we deem unworthy of belonging which is just another way of making ourselves feel more special. And it’s quite pathetic.

If there’s one thing I know about writers, it’s that we need a lot of support. We need it from family, but don’t always get it. We’d love it from friends, but they often don’t understand our needs. We should get it from other writers, but if other writers are going to get snobby about what we’re allowed to call ourselves, then we’re not going to feel very supported.

Maybe it’s because they want us to give up. I wouldn’t be too surprised, I’ve heard a few writers complaining about how their life as a writer is getting harder thanks to Amazon and the evil Kindle.

“Everyone thinks they’re a writer now because of self-publishing,” they whine. “And that’s why I’m not making any money.”

Bollocks, says I again. You just need to up your game. Which as a “real” writer should be easy for you. but that’s another rant.

As writers we owe it to each other to give support and any kind of snobbish behaviour when it comes to whether you should be allowed to call yourself a writer or not simply won’t do. As long as you write you have permission to call yourself a writer or a novelist or an author or whatever you like.

I quite fancy being, The Pope of Words.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Annette May 5, 2014 at 8:29 pm

It chokes me to say it, but you’re quite right. I also hate terms like “emerging author” or “fledgling author”. You’re a writer. You may be relatively inexperienced, you may be shit. But you’re still a writer.

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Mr Uku May 5, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Damn straight. See also, wannabe writer.

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