Do you call yourself a writer?
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Even though you haven't been published yet (by a company/magazine/journal that the general public has probably heard of) and/or have a day job? I feel weird telling people that, even though I have had a couple of short stories published in small publishers' anthologies and webzines. I'm a SAHM and online student by day, and that's what I feel inclined to say when people ask me what I do. I don't even mention the writing unless people ask about my hobbies, although it's such a big part of my life and self.

The facilitator of my local writing group says that we should introduce ourselves as writers (when the subject of occupations comes up, of course) even if we haven't been published, because that is what we are. My husband agrees. He says if people ask where I've been published, I should mention the anthologies and then say I'm working on a novel.

What do you think?
  • I love all the points of view and roots of thought that are taking place in this thread. It seems that most people do call themselves writers, and that all of us agree that it defines our sense of selves. What a great feeling to share with each other. I feel empowered just reading this thread! :)
  • Perhaps by adding famous in front of the word (writer) this might change the dynamics.

    For instance, let's take... Joe Blow (& my sincerest apologies for anyone with the name) ...but Joe sings on the Sunday choir, has a beautiful singing voice, and works at the music store to pay bills...and perhaps too, to do something other than sing all day.

    But then here comes my girl Bonnie Raitt who is a popular singer!!!

    My vote is both are still singers. Summation, maybe what we're wanting to ask is how many of us are best-seller writers?  

  • I will stick by my earlier post. 1/2 of being a writer is believing you are, and the other 1/2 is acting like you are. Maybe we should start thinking about our writing identity in terms of percentage. I think in the last few months I have gained some confidence and my percentage of belief has jumped to about 35%.  Since I have quit my paying job to act more like a writer, (to create, promote and eventually sell my stuff) I have moved along that line to about 25%.  Put together I would say 60% of my identity is a writing one.  That is more writer than not, so,   "Hello, my name is Meagan Frank and I am a writer.  I write at about 60% of my capacity, but I am leaning more toward increasing that number than decreasing it." That should help to clear things up...don't you think?


    I do enjoy this question...and the thoughtful answer-questions.

  • i had responded earlier on in this discussion and i have been following it with a lot of interest - is the question perhaps "how do you define a writer?"  we all write, but are we all "writers" because we write?  are you a writer if writing is your sole profession? is it publication?  are you a writer if all you do is journal your ideas but never send them out (or complete them)?  if you are say, a lawyer or accountant or engineer or dancer, etc., but you write when you have time (which may be months between, especially if you are a mom too) does that make you a writer?  and do you introduce yourself as a writer if you write but don't try to get published?  are you a writer if your writing is a "hobby" or do you actively have to be trying to publish?  i think this has been the main question for me.  i am not comfortable calling myself a writer right now i think because writing is not my sole profession and (up till now) i haven't been sending out my writing trying to get published.  i think the process of completing my writing projects and sending them out is helping me to make the transition from writing as a "hobby" to being a writer (at least part-time writer :) whether or not i get my stuff published.

    so how do we define a "writer"? 

  • I absolutely call myself a writer. The task and work is the same even if no one ever reads what I write. I also am a firm believer in willing things to happen. If I keep saying I am a writer, then it's more likely to happen.
  • Please see my blog post, Unemployed Mothers Work Triple Time, in which I refer to this prompt from a socio-cultural point of view. But on a more immediate level, I think that calling yourself a writer is about knowing yourself and believing in yourself enough to know that your ideas matter. It's about giving yourself permission to be heard, and feeling good about it. Yes, I call myself a writer. I think that the concept of being "published" has changed radically with the advent of blogging, personal websites and social media. 
  • I am a writer, and have been since the day I confided this fact to my father... when I was about four. Today this fact has just been validated!
  • If this was on Facebook, I would have clicked "like" for your comment.  The arts are so interconnected, aren't they?  Your words fairly danced in my mind.  :-)  Beautiful.