What Makes a Writer?


I tell my friend, “I want to be a writer. I’ve always wanted to be a writer.”
“You are a writer,” she loyally replies.

She tries to convince me that it is truth, not just loyalty, that inspires her answer. And the fact is that she is a fan of my monthly column in a local magazine. Objectively, I have to concede she is right. But it doesn’t make me feel like a writer.

And judging by the number of people I come across online who describe themselves as aspiring writers or wannabe writers, I think I am not alone.

So what does it take to actually be a writer in our own eyes?


About Rosalie Squires

'Who am I?' is a question whose answer keeps evolving, that can be answered in many, many ways; that has no known answer at all. But there are some clues to be found: stocksharpsquires.wordpress.
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9 Responses to What Makes a Writer?

  1. RoSy says:

    Pen, paper (or a computer) & creativity! 😉

  2. paulaacton says:

    For me i accept the writer title because I write with the intention someone out there will read what I write I would not class myself as an author (except on fb because they dont have writer option on like pages only author) until I am published

  3. Ah, Paula, you’ve hit the nail on the head. How, exactly, do you define being published? It sounds as though you don’t count your blog?

  4. Being a writer to me is looking at the layers of life. Being able to look at a person and shed the skin of who they are like an onion. Asking what is their backstory, what makes them who they are. Why do they make the choices they make. In order to do this you have to be willing to do the same to yourself. Break yourself open, examine it, and put it all back again, requisitioning what you believe so you can grow.

    Being a writer means taking a look a life, seeing it differently. Realizing the universe in itself is magic, an illusion, a reality we’ve constructed based on our own paradigms. That we are, at this moment creating our own stories. Looking at connections, connections between the universe to the earth, earth to the animals, animals to plant life, and yes, even though humans are animals, what part WE as conscious beings have to play in all of this. Realizing we are all systems within some interconnected, twisted, beautiful greater thing, that we have a lesson to learn from this life.

    Being a writer is about being open to seeing, feeling, being impacted. It’s a religion and a way of life. It’s creating, it’s being a piece of God constructing our own little worlds on the page, bringing characters into existence. And publishing, well publishing is just the cherry on the top. I try to push that away. And believe me, that’s not easy.

    Once I master all these interconnected pieces and learn how to magically weave words together to get people to clearly understand what I mean, to draw picture with symbols given to me, to truly be a medium between the inspiration and the story that needs to be told, I will be content enough.

  5. Thanks for that, Andrea, a real inspiration. Especially the pen-ultimate paragraph. I feel really privileged that you shared it on my page.

  6. Graham says:

    If you write you are a writer. But I understand the question. I wont consider myself a writer until I am published.

    I hope that days comes soon.

    • Graham, you raise the same point as Paula, what counts as being published? I’ve left a longer version of this question on your blog.

      • Graham says:

        I see what you mean, although if I had done all of what you have said you have done then I wouldn’t hesitate to call myself a writer.

        It’s funny I hadn’t even considered the Blog as published writing, but mainly because I approach mine with no structure and this is in part because no one reads it, so I don’t put in the time to get something good on there. At the same time I realize that no one wants to visit and read unless there is something good there,

        Yet even if I has lots of people visiting and commenting on the blog I still wouldn’t count it as published writing. Which is strange in this time of electronic communication.

        I will call myself a writer when I have something published on paper, be it a paper, magazine or a book (self published I would have to say I would hang fire and call , myself a writer when the sales had covered the cost as well )

        So from my point of view you are a writer and I strive on, maybe my assignment 2 for the Writers Bureau course will get published in a magazine in which case I can call myself a writer and hopefully move on from there.


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