Hello Dear Readers,
This one goes out to my fellow scribes: when is it appropriate to call yourself a writer? When you’ve had a book published? When you put your story up for sale on-line? When the only person who has seen your work is your mother, as you quietly pound out your fiction on a computer in your basement?
Are you a writer even when you’re not writing anything? So often I’ve heard the admonishment, “Writers write. It’s what they do. Period. If you’re a writer, you must write.”
Really? What about when you’re too busy, or lack inspiration? What about those days, weeks or months where you just can’t manage to find the time? Are you any less a writer because you’re going through a time of low productivity?
It may not be as catchy, but I think the saying should be changed to: “Writers want to write. And they try their best to find ways to accomplish this.”
People tend to be fairly touchy about labels, and this isn’t restricted to writing. My blogging buddy Kimberly Belle was once attacked about a fairly innocuous post where she called herself a chef. Some people took issue with that, saying she was “just” a caterer. It’s unbelievable how incensed one woman in particular became about a title.
For myself, I’m not comfortable with people calling me an “author” or a “novelist”. Yes, I’ve written several novels, but until the general public can access them, I’ll stick with “writer”. Even when I don’t have time to write, I’m still a writer. (And I’m always writing during my day job, this blog, and my freelance business. Can’t escape that.)
The problem is, if you tell someone you’re an “author”, the follow-up question is invariably:
“Oh, what’s the name of your book? Where can I buy it?” or “Would I recognize your name? Would I have read anything you’ve written?”
Writer can sometimes generate these responses, too, but not nearly as often.
What do you call yourself? Have you ever been in the position of having to defend your title?