I hear many people say they are an aspiring writer. I read a lot of blogs – by writers, written for writers – that talk about being an aspiring writer. But I disagree with that term, and here’s why.
To aspire to something is to reach for it, hope for it, dream about achieving it. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to greater things in life – in fact, everyone should have at least one or two things they aspire to. Otherwise you have no goals and dreams, and frankly, life’s pretty bland if you’re just existing.
So what if you’re wanting to be a writer? Well, let’s break this down. Do you want to be a published writer? Do you want to be a full-time writer (as in you’re published and selling enough to quit your day job)? Do you want to be a successful writer? (This means different things to different people. For some it might mean getting one story published in a magazine, for others it might mean having a book on the NY Times Bestseller list).
All of these are great goals, great achievements to aspire to. But why do I feel that “aspiring” is not the right word to use to describe yourself and these goals?
Because if you’re an “aspiring writer,” that means that you’re “planning to and hoping to write.” If you’ve never written an original sentence in your life outside of emails and high school essays but you’re wanting to pen a novel, then perhaps this could be a true statement.
A writer is someone who writes. If you dream of publishing a novel, but all you’ve written are some partial short stories and rambling in your journal, that still makes you a writer. If you’ve written a dozen first drafts, but have never polished anything or been published, then you have some work to do before you hit the bestseller list – but you’re still a writer.
Don’t sell yourself short. If you write – whether it’s blog posts, poems, private journal entries, or novels – you’re a writer. Set your goals for word count, submitting to agents, publishing dates, or whatever else you want to in order to achieve your tangible writing goals. “Aspire” to the best-seller list if you want to, but BE a writer.
Writers write. Don’t aspire, just be. Just write.