Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Do You Feel Like A Writer?

More and more writers are taking the self publishing route than ever before. And there are even some like myself who have yet to venture down the traditional publishing path. The argument of this post is not which path makes you more bonafide, but when is it appropriate to call yourself a writer.

I spent over a year writing my first book. It was a mammoth task! Back then it was the biggest project I had undertaken but when the time came to hit the publish button with Amazon Kindle, it was also the biggest achievement I had ever accomplished.

It was also the time when I thought it appropriate to call myself a writer.

At last I had a finished product, something that I could see, and something which I could sell online. A finished product that had been professionally edited, a product that was of professional quality. And it was only then did I think myself worthy of that title.

When writing, I really struggled with that title's concept. I felt a bit of a fraud to call myself a writer because I had no finished product to show as evidence that's what I was doing. I did all this work without ever feeling like I had a right to claim that title. But when I worked on my second book I couldn't stop telling people that I, Laura K. Watts, was a writer.

Many people write during their entire lifetime but some never publish anything. Their main purpose is just to write for a hobby. But my goal in life is to one day make a living from my art. I realise this goal is not going to happen overnight but I hope that the time will come where I'll be able to make a living from my books.

When did you feel it was appropriate to call yourself a writer?

See you after a week in Scotland!


  1. I call myself a woman who writes. And travels. And reads. And plays with her grandchildren. Writing is an essential part of who I am, but there's plenty more besides.

  2. That's a good statement to make, Jo. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I guess in the common lexicon, a writer is oe who has published a work and offerred it for sale. But in the real world, a writer is someone who puts their stories or thoughts on paper. I write, but have yet to publish. In Nashville, TN, USA someone who tries to write songs is a songwriter; they may be a waiter or sessions player or accountant for their "day job", but at heart, they are songwriters. I sell men's clothing, but in my heart I am a writer.

  4. I love writing, I have always written and have a book published on Amazon but I don't consider myself a writer.
    The reason? It's not my main job.

    Bark Mason, not a writer.

  5. Interesting points there from both of you. It's funny how different people view the same thing from a totally different angle. Thanks for commenting.

  6. I remember a comic from what I was a kid: 'The Day Superboy became Superman' (Action Comics #393) It had a big effect on me because that was the first day I realised—or at least imagined—that I would go to be one night a boy and wake up the next as a man. I'm fifty-three have white hair and still waiting on that happening. I feel much the same about being a writer. I've written five novels, about fifty short stories, two plays, a kid's book and over a thousand poems and yet I still feel uncomfortable saying that I'm a writer. If I was stood at the bus stop next to Stephen King and someone asked me what I did I'd find it hard to puff out my chest and declaim, "I'm a writer." I keep expecting one of these days to wake up and see a writer looking back at me in the bathroom mirror. I don't think I'm quite there yet though. You might find my post from last month Is writing a hobby? interesting especially the experience of Kay Sexton.

  7. There seems to be a lot of conjecture as to who has the "right" to call themselves a writer.

    I call myself a writer. I wrote a first draft, then sifted through it through 10 more drafts.

    I spent significant wads of cash on editing and cover art.

    The thing is out there for all the world to see, so it's not like I am a "yet-to-be-published-writer", I'm simply a writer.

    What we are going through now is a publishing situation that is entirely in flux.

    Traditionally pubbed writers turn their noses up at independents, which I find amusing. It has always been akin to winning a lottery ticket when one considers the variables involved:

    Find a literary agent, hope that they pick your manuscript over the hundreds or thousands of others.

    Hope that the literary agent is as pumped about the work as the author.

    Hope that the publisher folk haven't had a big night the night before and are on their A game when the agent passes over the manuscript.

    Hope that that person's upline is as enthusiastic... blah blah blah.

    I find the snobbery amusing because no matter how good their book is, deep down inside they know they got lucky.

    The current situation doesn't do anything to help matters, and in many instances those who turn their noses up at indies naming themselves as writers might at times be on to something.


    The best thing about Kindle direct publishing is that anyone can write and publish a book.

    And the worst thing? That anyone can write and publish a book.

    For every book that has been honed and beaten and covered and edited and beaten some more, there are literally THOUSANDS of books that aren't. That means there is a lot of crud out there to wade through, and it is growing. Daily.

    So I call myself a writer, not because I have a best seller on my hands (yet) but because I did the work, did it 10 times more, and produced the most professional thing I could manage.

    Hopefully the work will pay off, but still I write, every day.

    Because I am a writer.

    1. Dear ATH Webber:
      You are absolutely correct, and you have the right attitude. I wish you success.

    2. So true. Self-publishing is both a blessing and a curse. It allows people who can write an easy path to get their work noticed.

      It also allows those who cannot and should not write an easy avenue to get their tripe out into the market.

  8. I am a writer at heart - like those before me I am a father, partner, DIY fanatic, public speaker etc. but at heart I am a writer. I have written poetry my whole life and have written or started many short stories yet to be printed. It wasn't until I started blogging that anyone 'noticed' this boy can write! Now I have my blog readers asking for a book and am quite daunted at where to go and what to do next! The irony is not lost on me - suddenly other people are seeing me as a writer - now the real work begins!
    Peter - writer (etc.!)

  9. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, opinions and experiences everyone.

  10. I don't really understand how to blog in a way that will be seen by the public. I have what's called a blog with goodreads, under my profile, whidh consists of my book reviews.

  11. I like your perspective on this subject. I not sure what actually defines someone as a writer. Am I a writer? Absolutely, that is what I do, I write. Like you, I spent a year writing my first book and 2 consecutive years writing their sequels. Am I published? No, still 4 years later holding out for the ultimate dream. Does it mean that I won't self publish? I'm not quite ready to make that decision, but I can tell you that writing is what I do. It is my passion and at times my sanity, I love writing! Do I do it for myself? Of course, but ultimately I do it with the hopes of one day seeing my book in print.

  12. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, guardian.

  13. Go down the self-publishing route. I enjoy writing and love it that someone is reading my books. That's what gives me a buzz when I make a sale. As to whether you ca)n call yourself a writer - I write therefore I am - a writer (apologies to Sartre)

  14. I have no troubles calling myself a writer. I might not have an agent or a trade publisher backing me, but I have put all the hard work and effort into getting my work into print - not as some vanity publishing effort that will only ever be seen by a handful of people but hopefully as a potential best seller.

    It does help that I have also worn the titles of Journalist and Communications Officer to help me make the leap from that to professional writer. I've upgraded from just calling myself a writer, which I feel I have been for years now, writing in a professional capacity, to calling myself an author. After all, the dictionary defines an author as anyone who writes a novel, poem, essay etc.