When Should You Call Yourself A Writer?

Last night, whilst browsing the WordPress reader, I came across this post by Memento Mori. In it, he questions whether he should be called a writer, or if anyone is ever deserving of such a title.

I’m sure that each and every one of us has had the same moment of doubt in our careers. I know I have it on an almost nightly basis. When I read back over my work, I can’t bear it. Every word feels forced, every sentence clichéd. I sit at the screen, hands poised on the keyboard and think, what am I doing?

But, I continue. (Nearly) every night, I’m back at my desk and I’m writing.

When I write, while my hands dance across the keys and the words flow across the page, I forget all the doubt. I lose myself completely in the story — my story. That idea I can’t get out of my head, the one that keeps me up at night, needs to be exorcised and the only way I know to do it is to write.

Does that make me a writer? Of course it does. Anyone who puts pen to paper, or fingers to a keyboard, is a writer: it’s not that hard. What is hard is what comes after: the months and months of rewrites, the knowledge that the scene you loved so much just doesn’t work and has to go, and the constant need to produce the greatest thing you’ve ever written.

Sure, there are writers out there who will do the absolute minimum. They write, they edit, sometimes they even spellcheck and then they release their creation into the world to wrought carnage. These are the writers that give us all cause for concern, the ones that belittle everything we work so hard for. Their disregard for basic standards doesn’t matter so long as their books sell. And, as much as it pains me to say it, these people are writers.

What WE are are perfectionists, uncompromising of quality. We are people of insatiable curiosity, possessors of an unbridled love of the written word, of the poetry of language — WE ARE WRITERS.

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