Let’s Put an End to Aspiring Writers (and start making real writers)

I recently surveyed a few hundred writers on ideas of what it means to be a writer, issues of a writer’s mindset and different ideas of success. The group was made up of new writers, emerging writers, seasoned professionals, and those labelling themselves as “aspiring” writers.

In one question, I asked the group to identify the difference between an “aspiring writer” and a “writer”.

The answers included these ideas…

Writers are published, aspiring writers aren’t.

Real writers write full time, aspiring writers do it on the side.

Aspiring writers do not yet have the skills to be real writers.

Aspiring writers don’t have a body of work.

Aspiring writers spend time thinking and/or agonising about being a writer but without writing.

Confidence to claim the title “writer”.

Three of these are true. The rest are nonsense.

what is an aspiring writer?

It’s true, aspiring writers do not have a body of work. That’s because they’re not writing anything.

It’s true, aspiring writers often spend a lot of time thinking agonising about being a writer (and doing a whole lot of other stuff) without actually writing.

It’s true that claiming the title of “writer” is often just a matter of confidence.

The rest is rubbish.

A writer who has not as yet been published is a writer who aspires to be a published writer. This person is still a writer.

Real writers work part time, casual hours, full time, and everything in between. The time spent in the writing process has nothing to do with the state of being a writer.

Writers come in all skill levels. Even a seasoned professional writer has room to improve their skills. New writers just starting to learn the craft can still be writers.

What is An Aspiring Writer?

An aspiring writer wants to be a writer.

An aspiring writer feels ideas, feels the words and sentences. An aspiring writer feels the stories inside.

Aspiring writers are compelled to write. Aspiring writers want to write. Aspiring writers think about how great it would be to be a writer and often got some ideal in their heads about what that looks like.

An aspiring writer might sometimes write.

This aspiring writer might record ideas in journals, scribble little things with the hope of one day turning them into something great. Sometimes, this aspiring writer might get out one first draft, and that will be the end of it.

An aspiring writer might often write a lot of beginnings with no middles or ends.

An aspiring writer has plans but no products.

An aspiring writer does not yet have the means to turn plans into products.

Maybe this aspiring writer talks to others about writing dreams, or perhaps the aspiring writer quietly holds these desires close to their heart.

An aspiring writer yearns to write; it’s in there deep.

Are you an aspiring writer?

Take a breath. There’s a hard truth coming…

You’re not a writer.

An aspiring writer will never be a writer.

“Aspiring is a meaningless null state that romanticizes Not Writing.” 

Chuck Wendig

An aspiring writer is one thing with an idea of maybe, one day being something else.

There’s no such thing as an aspiring plumber or an aspiring taxi driver.

There are apprentices, and there are beginners.

But the difference between an apprentice trade or craftsperson, or any other profession, is that these new level workers are still doing the work.

A writer needs to do the work.

Aspirations are dreams, and everyone needs dreams.

But dreams get you nothing unless you’re working to make them a reality.

That was the hard truth.

And here’s the good news…

You can be a writer.

If you want it. If you’re willing to do the work and live the life.

And it just takes a single moment to start.

Here’s the moment…

Stop calling yourself an aspiring writer.

Stop wanting to write.

Actually write.

If you call yourself an “aspiring writer” and you do write regularly, even if it’s just for yourself, then stop selling yourself short and own the title.

Writer.

Shout it out.

Writer.

BE a writer.

The ideas in this post are the foundation ideas I used to write my writer’s call to arms manifesto, Take the Write Turn.

Take The Write Turn is a quick read PDF booklet written with the hope of inspiring those who want to write, those who want to be writers to (excuse the frankness) stop screwing around and actually do the work.

If you’d like to read it, enter your email address right here and I’ll send it to you straight away.

Kate Krake
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Kate Krake

Kate Krake writes speculative fiction and non-fiction. She is the author of the urban fantasy series Guessing Tales. Kate blogs about popular culture, health, wellness and creative writing. She lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband, daughter and two beagles. Find out more on www.katekrake.com.
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2 Responses to “Let’s Put an End to Aspiring Writers (and start making real writers)

  • Hi Kate,

    Great post and I absolutely agree with you about finally deciding when “you are a writer.” For quite a long time, I didn’t even call myself aspiring and then one day I realized I had books on Amazon, I had articles, posts, etc. and I felt then I had worked for and deserved the title of “writer or author.”

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts and learning from other writers.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Kate Krake
      4 months ago

      Thank you, Monna 🙂
      A lot of us just need to find that confidence to start owning the title. I’m glad you’ve achieved that mindset milestone!

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