For a long time, I’ve struggled internally with using the term “aspiring writer.”
I used to call myself that. And I still refer to my audience as, among other things, aspiring writers — people who are working toward making a career out of writing.
I’m not sure I want to keep using that term — “aspiring writer.” I’m also not sure you should continue using it, either.
The title makes it sound like you’re slowly working toward something that’s a long way from the outcome you’re going for. “I aspire to write.” But if you think about it, that doesn’t really make sense.
I get that when you call yourself an aspiring writer, you mean you’re aspiring to write for a living — most likely. But there’s something about confidence in your identity that has the potential to drive success. And maybe instead of saying you’re aspiring to do something, you should say — with confidence — you’re already doing that thing.
What if you just called yourself a writer?
What if you just — even for a little while — owned that title? Made it so? And meant it?
There are plenty of people out there who call themselves writers, even though they don’t technically do much writing. Don’t do that. But if you’re working hard, and you’re serious about this thing, and you want to write for a living … call yourself a writer. It’s OK.
A published book, a thousand followers, consistent paychecks — these things aren’t what make you a writer. Writing makes you a writer.
If you’re doing that, be proud of it. You don’t want to be a writer “someday.” If you’re already working — whether you get paid for that effort or not — aren’t you already a writer?
Own that! Be confident! Confidence will take you further than you think (if you use it wisely, of course).
You are a writer. Or a blogger or a journalist or a novelist or whatever your preferred “professional” title might be. If you’re working every day, if you’ve already made this part of your life, then you’re allowed to use that title.
You don’t need to be on a staff salary to call yourself a writer.
You don’t need to have clients or a monetized blog.
The work is what earns you that title.
Don’t just aspire. Do.
Don’t just dream. Live.
I spent many years saying I hoped to be a writer, without even realizing I already was one. I could have spent so much time building off that title, growing in that confidence. I still struggle with confidence because of how nervous I was to say, “Hi, my name is Meg. I’m fourteen years old, and I’m a writer.”
Say it. Right now. Say it out loud.
It feels good, right?
Now get out there and let your work reflect that label.
And if you don’t like labels … well, why’d you click on this post? :P (I’m kidding.)
Guys, just sit your butts down and write stuff. It doesn’t have to be your only thing, but it’s still a thing you do, and gosh darn it, you should be proud of that!
Can you tell I’m on a November 1: NaNoWriMo high? (Heh.)
Go do your Thing. You’re good at it, and you know it.
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.