Stop calling yourself an “aspiring” writer

Maybe I’m being a little harsh here, but I cringe when I see someone call themselves an “aspiring” writer. This is especially prevalent in the writing community on Twitter.

When I see someone refer to themselves as an “aspiring writer”, I imagine someone sitting at their laptop or notebook daydreaming. Perhaps they’re thinking, “Oh man, I wish I was a writer,” or, “I hope I’ll be a writer one day.”

But they’re not actually writing.

As much as I hate to pull out dictionary definitions to make a point, Merriam-Webster says “aspire” means “to want to have or achieve something”. Nothing about that definition implies actively working toward that goal.

If you call yourself an aspiring writer, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The aspiring writer does not exist.

If you put in the work, you’re a writer. If you make time to write, you’re a writer. If you research, read, and work to hone your skills, you’re a writer, and no one can take that away from you.

You don’t have to be published. You don’t have to study writing or language at university. You don’t have to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. Being a writer requires only one thing: actually writing.

On the same token, I can understand why a novice writer might hesitate to give themselves full credit. Maybe they’re new to the craft and feel they don’t know enough about it to call themselves a writer.

But your skill level shouldn’t — and doesn’t — affect your writer identity.

Besides, at what point is one no longer an “aspiring” writer? When they’re published? When they’ve completed their first novel? When they actually sit down to work on that dusty manuscript that’s been rotting in the bottom desk drawer?

Even if the aspiring writer did exist, where would the boundary between the aspiring and, for lack of a better term, full-fledged writer lie? I assume it would be individual based on the person’s goals.

Still, it doesn’t matter what descriptor you tack on – published, award-winning, best-selling, novice – if you write, you’re a writer. Simple as that.

So give yourself some credit. Drop the “aspiring” from your writer identity, and use those extra characters in your Twitter bio to add a little more humanity to your profile. After all, potential clients (and fellow writers) like to see the real you.

What do you think about “aspiring” writers? Let me know in the comments!

5 Responses to “Stop calling yourself an “aspiring” writer

  • I really couldn’t agree more. To me, if you write, you’re a writer. Full stop.

    Great post. 🙂

    • Mel Lee-Smith
      2 years ago

      Exactly! It really is that simple. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  • OMG I would like to insert a gif here of a standing ovation. And some clapping hand emojis.

    • Mel Lee-Smith
      1 year ago

      Haha, thanks Jen! It really is a pet peeve!

Trackbacks & Pings

  • 6 Tactics for Overcoming Self-Doubt | Mel Lee-Smith :

    […] struggle with self-doubt often feel like imposters, like they’re not real writers. Like I said in another post, if you write, you’re a writer. It really is as simple as that. So give yourself credit where […]

    2 years ago

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