The labels writers use about themselves reveal much about them—& their future
I cringe every time someone says, “I’m an aspiring writer.” The phrase is an oxymoron: either you’re a writer or you’re not.
It makes as much sense as the claims of “somewhat unique” or a “little pregnant.” There are no degrees of uniqueness or pregnancy. And while there are levels of writing proficiency, there are no variations of writership.
Simply stated, “I am a writer,” and don’t equivocate.
When people say they are an aspiring writer it tells me one of three things about them:
1) The Romantic
They are a dreamer and not a doer. These folks will forever talk about writing but will never write. They long to have written but will never sit down to do the work. They derive satisfaction talking about writing and may even have an impressive vocabulary about the craft, but they are mere poseurs—and always will be.
2) The Procrastinator
This group waits for the right time to write. Life is in their way right now, but the next season will be better, allowing time to write. Except it won’t. Just as they allow the distractions of life to push aside writing today, the same thing will happen tomorrow. Now is the time to start writing, not later.
3) The Doubter
Some people write in secret or hold their words too close to ever share. They are waiting until they become better and dare not claim full writer status at this time. This group lacks confidence, and I understand that. But real writers always strive to improve; we will never arrive. My work today is better than it was a year ago and in another year I expect to be even better, but the whole time I have been a writer. You are too.
This brings up a fourth category: the delusional writer. Though they are not aspiring, they are arrogant. They think they have this writing thing down and see no need for improvement. I’ve had people actually tell me that. They make me sad because they don’t have a clue.
So don’t fantasize about writing, put off writing, or diminish your writing. Always strive to improve, but never aspire to write. Just write.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.