Stop Calling Yourself an Aspiring Writer

People on WordPress are constantly identifying themselves as aspiring writers, and I don’t think this is what should be happening. In most cases they should be saying aspiring author or aspiring novelist, but not aspiring writer. A writer is someone who writes, right? You may not write well, you may not be writing the next great American novel, and you may have no time whatsoever to devote to your writing…but you CAN write. You have the ability to communicate via the written word.

And this isn’t a universal talent. There are millions of people throughout the world who can’t write. They can’t because they don’t know how. But you can. I’m not saying that you should care about every person who’s disadvantaged in some way or even that you should give any of them a second thought, (because who am I to tell you what you should or shouldn’t care about) but I do think using the correct term is something that you can do. You’re here on WordPress along with millions of others writing.

Maybe you want to write books or poetry or whatever it may be for you, well identify yourself accordingly. Author. Poet. Whatever. But save “aspiring writer” for the appropriate group of people you don’t belong to.

40 thoughts on “Stop Calling Yourself an Aspiring Writer

  1. I’d put writer in the same category with teacher, driver, gardener, cook. Sometimes a cook is a person who is able to cook, sometimes it’s a person who makes his living cooking. If you’re talking to staff at a restaurant and ask someone, “Are you a cook?” you’re probably asking whether he was hired to cook or is he, perhaps, a waiter or host or bartender. If the bartender says, yes, he’s a cook, because he knows how to make a mean chili in his off hours, won’t that be confusing? Sometimes being a writer means more than being able to write.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I actually thought I made this mistake in my sidebar, but nope, I used the term “aspiring author.” Which as an unpublished person seems pretty fair.

    Still, I see why people get shy about calling themselves writers. I myself feel weird stating it like my profession when it isn’t. But you bring up good (and rather kind…you’re going soft! :P) points and I do ultimately agree with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s true. I know in the past I called myself an aspiring writer and may have to revise my about page, if I still have that title there. I thought about it in the past and for me, it doesn’t make sense, since I am a writer, just not a published or paid writer. So the correct term should be aspiring author or aspiring paid writer 🙂


  4. Sure, many people could pull themselves out of the category of “aspiring writer,” especially on WordPress. But I don’t think it can be made as general as you imply (a writer is anyone who is able to communicate via the written word). Let’s apply this idea to another interest area: music. Is someone who picks up a guitar and plays a few notes, or someone who is able to read notes, a musician from the moment they started doing so? What if they are able to do so but don’t? Or should they be able to understand the craft and implement it, doing so on an at least occasional basis, trying to improve and continuing to make an effort at it? For example, I know how to play some notes and chords, but I wouldn’t call myself a musician. And I know how to draw, but I wouldn’t call myself an artist.

    Now, I know many people on WordPress do make an effort, and write regularly. So I’ll take it a step farther. While “writer” can be defined as someone who writes, it can also be defined as a professional writer. It is generally understood that “aspiring writer” doesn’t just mean someone who hopes to be able to write; instead, they hope to write professionally or write a novel, etc. So while you can be more descriptive by saying “aspiring author,” I don’t think it’s necessary to worry about saying “aspiring writer” instead of “aspiring author” or to go back and intentionally change every instance where you have said “aspiring writer.” The distinction is something to keep in mind, but I wouldn’t call “aspiring writer” wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

      • How so?

        You said anyone who can communicate via the written word is a writer and aspiring writer should be reserved for those who can’t (maybe not that exact phrase but it is certainly implied in your discussion about being able to write and not belonging to a group who can’t). With that, anyone who can play music is a musician and anyone who can create art is an artist. How would that be different from what you said other than applied to another interest area?

        Also, writer has more than one definition, which you ignore. One generally acknowledged definition is someone who writes as an occupation, which many (not all but many) aspiring authors hope for. How can you deny that if this definition is used, aspiring writer applies to people who hope to make money writing?

        It is all about communicating an idea. In this case, I think aspiring author and aspiring writer can and are generally understood to mean the same thing.


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