On Writing – When Are We ‘Writers’?

I often find myself wondering if I’m a writer or not. What’s the necessary qualifications for me to consider myself worthy of the title?
Do I need to have been published? Then I’ve been a writer since I was nine.
Does it need to be a paid publication? Then I’ve been a writer since I published an 8 lines short story last year.
Or is it supposed to be a longer publication? Then I’m not a writer yet.
And what about self-publishing? Does a serial on a blog count? It doesn’t measure quality whatsoever. Should it?

A few weeks ago, my writing speed has sunk below my usual efficiency and has been there ever since. It’s frustrating because none of my stories seem to move forward as fast as they should. I lowered my writing goals and have to work a lot to meet them. Still, I sit in front of my computer every single day and stubbornly type as many words as I can.
That’s when it hit me.
I’m a writer.
Because that’s what writers do; we keep writing when we are at our worst. We don’t wait for inspiration to strike. We don’t wait for the perfect moment. We sit down and we work.

For me, that is what qualifies someone as a writer. Not paid publication (though we’ll most likely get there one day). The moment writing stops being a hobby and starts being a passion we work on, that determination to push through whatever the roadblock for no matter how long.
That definition sits well with me.

What about you? What makes someone a writer? Are you one?


About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

16 responses to “On Writing – When Are We ‘Writers’?

  • lvcabbie

    Are you a “writer”? Or, are you a Storyteller?
    The latter is what I consider myself. Once I reached that point, I became more concerned with sharing those stories with other than in gaining fame and fortune for myself – even though I wouldn’t turn my back on that.

    • Aheïla

      Hello lvcabbie and welcome to my blog!
      I really like the way you put it. I’m definitely a storyteller; if I don’t write and share the stories in my head they drive me nuts.

  • Andrew Carson

    I never felt secure calling myself a scriptwriter it never really felt a comfortable hat for me to wear up until I sold my first script even though in the years before I had literally written 50+ scripts ranging from short films (some I filmed in college) unproduced tv scripts for shows that were on the air at the time and many unproduced feature length film scripts. Yet I always felt contented proclaiming myself a short story writer because I had been writing them since I was a kid and although only a handful of people ever read those unbearably ghastly stories I felt like because I had managed to see the story through from beginning to end and everywhere in between I had become a writer even if I was an abysmal writer I had earned that title Andrew Carson “Abysmal Writer” and I’m proud to be called that as crazy as that sounds.

    • Aheïla

      I can definitely understand the reluctance to call yourself a writer. That’s why I’m asking myself so many questions in the first place.
      “Abysmal Writer” huh? Quite the nickname!

  • Libdrone

    I’ve considered myself a writer at least since the 4th grade when I won an English essay contest. It seems to me it might be best to just write. And let others say if we are in fact writers.

    • Aheïla

      Hi Libdrone! It’s nice to see you here!
      You have a good point. I guess I only want to know if I can call myself a writer so I know what to answer to the “What do you do?” question. 😉

  • Nicole Bataclan

    I asked myself this question recently and when I realized that writing is all I do, all I want to do, every single day…. I think I want to consider myself a writer 🙂

    Thanks for your post, retweeted it 🙂

    • Aheïla

      Hello Nicole and welcome to my blog!
      I’m right there with you: I’m obsessed about writing and I want to consider myself a writer. At the same time, you see so many people flaunting merits that don’t belong to them on the Internet, I don’t want to sound like them. *laughs*
      Thanks for the retweet!

  • Adam W. Warner


    I like what you’ve said –

    “…it might be best to just write. And let others say if we are in fact writers…”

    – a rule I think we should all live by if what we do makes us happy:)

    • Aheïla

      Hello Adam and nice to see you here!
      I agree. The simplest way to be happy is to be yourself and do what you want without a care for the label you think you should have.

  • Jane Chin

    Wonderful post! We are both writers and storytellers, no matter the genre, I think. I love how you said it – writing even when we feel our worst. It’s truly a commitment and discipline (and labor of love even when we don’t feel very loving).

    • Aheïla

      Thank you!
      And yes, writing stories is all about the love of the craft and the love of our readers.
      For me, there’s no greater reward than kindling specific emotions and thoughts in an audience.

  • Jo Bryant

    I’m a writer.
    Because that’s what writers do; we keep writing when we are at our worst. We don’t wait for inspiration to strike. We don’t wait for the perfect moment. We sit down and we work.

    I think you have there – that is what makes a writier.

    Great blog you have here – will be back for more.


  • koryargonic

    I too am a writer… or “writer” and I know exactly what it feels like to struggle with that self-imposed identity. I write a lot about that struggle in my blog.

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