Who Is A Writer?

On my now defunct Patreon, years ago I wrote a post about who GETS to be seen as a writer. Frankly, at the time, I was cranky. Some people were collaborating on a project and I didn’t view one of them as a writer. 


Yeah, that was a dick move of me, because who am I to say who gets to be a writer or not? They’re the only person who can choose that identity for them. 


I’m not saying any of these thoughts were particularly enlightened of me, because they really weren’t. But I’m also not going to deny I had these thoughts. I suspect I’m not the only creative to have bouts of “what about me?”.


I considered one half of the project a writer – they published and wrote a lot around their job. The one I deemed not a writer mostly reviewed books and just occasionally talked about writing and hadn’t even tried to publish (trad or self). 


Again, not having “tried” yet is a judgmental measure. 


But at the same time, people who cannot keep up the facade of writing being the only thing in their lives seem to get, well, written off as writers. 


It’s a bit like my post on a career being a luxury.


Being seen as a writer only is a luxury. Presenting yourself as a writer only is a luxury. Few writers make enough money off their writing to have it be their sole income. Others may not want the pressure of income placed on their creativity. 


You are a writer if you write. Just like you’re a painter if you paint. Adding commercial (your income) and branding (don’t talk about anything online except writing) leaves out the very vast majority of people who write.


“Regular” careers are barely linear, why would a creative career be linear? 


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