The question, "When can one truly be called a writer?" has haunted many a budding writer (and deterred even more).

“You’re not a writer until you’ve published something.”

“You’re not an author unless you’ve sold a book.”

“You really can’t say you write unless you make a living from it.”

It’s all bullshit.

If you write, you are a writer.

The purity of this profession lies in the act itself, not in the accolades or the external recognitions that may or may not follow.

The vocation of writing, a process of alchemy where you turn the abstract into something tangible, has nothing to do with the web of external success markers we use to evaluate how valid we are at it.

This illusion of validation begins to shatter the moment we delve deeper into the heart of the writing itself.

The act of writing is a solitary endeavour, a personal journey that requires a rendezvous with one’s innermost thoughts and emotions.

It’s not always fun.

And it’s not always (rarely) easy.

You know, whenever someone asks me: “So, what do you do for a living?”

I just want to answer: “I do my best, Todd. I do my best. That’s what I do.”

“Why romance readers aren’t ashamed and why we don’t feel fucking guilty”

It’s a discipline that demands a relentless pursuit of expression, irrespective of the applause you get for the words you string together. 

The essence of being a writer is enshrined in the courage to confront the blank page, to battle the demons of doubt, and commit your words to paper. 

Whether your work graces the shelves of big box chain book stores or resides in the quiet corners of your hard drive, the authenticity of your journey remains untarnished.

The modern narrative often misguides aspiring writers into believing that a byline in a prestigious publication or a hefty royalty check is a testament to your writing prowess. 

While these are gratifying milestones, sure, they aren’t the yardstick of true craftsmanship. 

The world is replete with unsung poets, unpublished novelists, and uncelebrated storytellers who, through the sheer love of the craft, embody the quintessence of a writer more than many celebrated authors. 

Their unwavering dedication to the act of writing, despite the lack of external validation, is a testament to their true calling.

The allure for the title “writer” and “author” has, unfortunately, overshadowed the core essence of writing. 

Many people chase the title, yet shy away from the gruelling journey that writing truly is. 

Embracing the process itself, with all its ups and downs, frustrations and breakthroughs, is what separates true writers from the mere aspirants. 

If you show up, day in and day out, facing the daunting cursor or the mocking blank page, you are a writer. 

Your dedication to expressing yourself, to communicating your thoughts, emotions, and imaginations through words, defines you as a writer.

If you write, you’re a writer.

Reclaiming the title of a writer requires a shift in perspective. 

It necessitates an acknowledgment that writing, in its purest form, is a journey of self-exploration and expression. 

The moment you pen down your thoughts, you step into the boundless realm of writing. 

It’s about cherishing the process, growing through the challenges, and revelling in the personal victories, however small they may be.

Your worth as a writer is not tethered to external validations. 

It’s rooted in your commitment to the craft, your willingness to evolve, and the unique stories only you can bring to the world. 

So, write because that’s what writers do. 

Write because your journey is your own, it’s as authentic and significant as any published writer’s words. 

In the grand tapestry of storytelling, every narrative holds a distinguished place. 

Your narrative, your journey as a writer, is a thread in that tapestry, waiting to be woven into the larger narrative. 

So, write on, for every word you put down reaffirms your very essence as a writer.

I love this definition of success I saw Jo Priestely applying to her writing journey:

I just want to celebrate every milestone, and enjoy the ride, so starting small, I was a writer who sold a book and became an author, but now, I’ve sold another book so I’ve become an established author!

So, go forth, dear writer and write!

Write until all your words have been committed to paper.

Write until all your stories are told.

And, for God’s sake, the next time someone asks you what you do, tell them you’re a writer.

All the love, all the power,
Starsheep


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