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Monday, September 13, 2021

What it Takes to be a "Real Writer"

     Imagine if someone were to tell you "You're not a bicyclist until you've ridden at least five hundred miles," or "You can't consider yourself a real bather until you've spent at least a thousand hours in the tub." They'd sound pretty foolish.

     Yet some writers and writing teachers persist in trying to tell the world who qualifies to be a writer and who doesn't. "You only become a real writer after you've published three books." "After you've written your first million words, then you can call yourself a writer." "Oh, so you have a day job and write at night? You're really a hobbyist, not a writer."

     These sorts of pronouncements and judgments are all nonsense--and arrogant nonsense, at that.

     If you get on a bicycle and ride, you're a bicyclist. If you fill up the tub and climb in, you're a bather. And if you put words on paper, you're a writer. It's as simple--and obvious--as that.

Scott Edelstein, 100 Things Every Writer Needs to Know, 1999


  1. I was always under the impression that if you write, you're a writer. If you are published, that makes you an author. You can be a writer without being an author.