And then everything changed

Freitag, 4. September 2015

Can I call myself a writer?

I work with writers every day. My job is to edit books, organize readings and get newspapers and magazines to write nice reviews about those books. The people who write these books are writers. But what about bloggers? What about part time journalists? What about the teenage girl who writes fan fiction? Are they writers?

Sometimes people introduce me as a writer and it makes me feel like a fraud. Because am I actually a writer? What is the criteria which allows me to call myself a writer?

Is a writer someone who publishes texts?

Well, I published some pieces here and there. I sometimes write articles for my local newspaper. I write articles for the online magazine The Indie Chicks. I published a couple of short stories. I just recently wrote an introduction for a photo book. But still the amount of texts I publish is pretty small and very irregular. How much do you need to publish, to call yoursef a writer?

Is a writer someone who earns money with his or her texts?

I can count the articles and stories for which I was paid on one hand and the money I got for them won't even buy me a dinner. I did get some money for my writing but for me it was more a sign that my work was valued than an actual salary. Again: How much do you have to earn from your writing, to be a writer?

Is a writer someone who lives from his writing?

Then I am by no means a writer. As I mentioned my job is to edit and sell books written by other people, by authors, real writers. This is what I live from. With nothing but what I earn from writing I would live on the street.

Or is a writer everyone who writes?

I might nor earn a lot with my writing and I might not publish that much pieces on a regular basis, but I write. A lot. I write short stories, articles, blog posts (both for me and for others). I write in my diary very regularily (once a week) - and those entries are long and detailed because my life deserves diary entries like this. No day passes, where I don't write something. But still: Is this enough to call myself a writer? Well, the word is "writer" and not "someone who's published and lives from his writing".

Still it is a dilemma for me: I want to be a writer. And I'd like to call myself a writer but then I feel like a fraud when people ask me which magazine or publishing house I write for. I love writing more than anything. And I write a lot of things just for the sake of writing. But I also write to one day get published. I generally write to get better not only because I enjoy being good at soemthing but also so that my chances at being successful increase. Because the truth is I want it all: I want to write and I want to publish my writing and I want to earn money with it and one day I want to be able to live from it. I want to be a writer though I might already be one.

What are your thoughs? What makes a person a writer?


  1. Hi Sunita,
    It sounds to me like you should have some great confidence introducing yourself as a writer! You have some impressive accomplishments, and I think that your love of writing truly shines through your words in this post.
    You've come up with several different ways to define a "writer" and everyone will have his or her own definition.
    I think that you would be true to yourself to say that you are a "writer", and I think the key to destroying your bad feelings is to be honest. You don't have to pretend that you've written 20 bestselling books or declare that you write 8 hours a day. Your accomplishments are enough.
    Have confidence!

  2. Thanks so much Heather! For reading and thinking about my post and of course for your encouraging comment! I really appreciate it and will try and follow your advice