All Writing Counts

What makes you a “real” writer?

There are writing “experts” who will tell you having a blog doesn’t make you a “real” writer, because there are millions of blogs on the internet, and yours isn’t any different than most others.

There are those who will tell you self-publishing doesn’t count as “really” being published, because anyone can publish anything they want to on the internet.

Even if you write thousands of words a day on your own time, it doesn’t really count if you keep them all to yourself and never publish them. At least, that’s what some will try to tell you.

Don’t listen to them.

Is being published online — in a journal or magazine or someone’s ebook — an amazing, worthwhile experience? Yes. Is it the milestone, for many, that finally allows them to define themselves as a published author? Yes.

But that does not mean you are not a real writer, or that your work does not matter, if you only ever have a blog, or if you never officially or “traditionally” publish anything at all.

All writing counts. Both good writing and bad writing. Published work and forever hidden prose. A blog that gets millions of pageviews a day or a small blog that gets 50 views a month. It counts. If you are writing, and you are learning and growing and you feel fulfilled and you are happy being able to write things, IT COUNTS.

Because there are self-proclaimed aspiring writers out there who do not write. Who have only written one thing, and are convinced they cannot write anything else until that one thing gets published. Who believe success will somehow find them, that they’ll get lucky, despite barely trying to build the foundations necessary for writing success to unfold.

If you’re writing and writing and writing, whether you think it’s good or not, whether you’ve been able to convince yourself to publish it or not, you’re doing something right. You’re making an effort. You’re putting yourself out there. Who cares if every attempt you make is a “success” or not? We all fall short sometimes. Even I still write articles that totally bomb, every single week. IT HAPPENS. We learn from what doesn’t work and we keep moving forward.

The most important thing is that you’re writing. Because, like playing an instrument or doing a yoga pose or baking a cake, you perform better the more you do it. It’s called “refining your craft.” It doesn’t usually feel like you’re making any progress. But trust me, the only way to NOT make progress in writing is to not write anything at all.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you’re working on “doesn’t count” or that it doesn’t make you a “real” writer. If someone claims to know what a “real” writer is, chances are, they aren’t one.

What makes you a writer is that you write, you tell stories, you let your creativity take you on a journey. Maybe others will come along for the ride someday. Maybe they won’t. Either way, it still counts. You’re still doing just fine.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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13 thoughts on “All Writing Counts

  1. Thank your for some wonderful encouragement to all us wannabe writers. I have been blogging for a number of years, and am now self-publishing a book. To me, it’s a journey. I may never be a well-known author, but I’m enjoying the ride. My work is slowly but surely improving, the more I write. I’m also having fun, and meeting many wonderful people. Thanks again, and take care.

  2. I think the scariest thing is that you have to take on the title ‘writer’ yourself. I’m a teacher cuz I got handed a piece of paper. (Waves diploma around: SEE! I can PROVE that I earned this!) It’s hard not to have that ‘writerploma’ as evidence that the title is legitimate. (Though, I suppose that’s what that first published work feels like???)
    It took me such a loooong time to put the word ‘writer’ on my blog instead of ‘aspiring writer’ or something else, because it just felt presumptuous. Honestly, it still does, but this post helps ;)

    1. I would LOVE a writerploma! haha. :) But you’re right, that’s kind of how I ended up treating the first phyiscal proof copy of a book I self-published. It was terrible, but it was still mine, I created it, and I do still have it somewhere. Publishing my first blog post was also a “I’m SOMEBODY!” moment. Everyone has that “I’ve arrived” moment, I think. But it’s different for everyone, which is amazing.

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