…in the form of actually getting paid for writing. Which leads into an interesting discussion the authors of Booksquare’s Blog had the other day, after the RWA conference: When can you say “I’m a writer” without scanning the sky for lightning bolts? It’s not like there’s an official test, and, upon passing, you are declared A Writer.
They’re right – when you’re in law school, you’re not considered a lawyer until you graduate. You’re a student teacher until you graduate and get a job and then you’re a teacher. But still, most of the time you have no real experience lawyering or teaching (anyone who thinks student teaching counts, please talk to me – it is a far cry from having your own class or kids). But, when you’re a writer, you write, you practice and you get better (hopefully) in your quest to get published, but you’re still writing. So when Booksquare asks:
What makes a person a writer and when can you say, for sure, that you are one? There is no defining moment, no certification (no, not even an MFA ). You can’t take a test and be declared a writer. It is a self-declared profession, and as we’ve seen, tangible proof that you’ve accomplished something isn’t necessarily enough to achieve clarity.
We write, but does that make us a writer?
I say absolutely yes, because the key here is that you’re writing – you’re different from all those people who say they want to write a book, have a great idea for a book but who have nothing down on the page. The real writer is the one who writes, who loves to write, who writes because they couldn’t bear not writing. Publication is merely a step along the writer’s road. A nice step, to be sure, but still just a step. As my favorite military men, The Navy SEALs, like to say – ‘The only easy day was yesterday.’