What makes someone a real writer?

“A real writer doesn’t just want to write; a real writer has to write.”  —Pinterest

“It is impossible to discourage the real writers. They don’t give a damn what you say. They’re going to write.” —Sinclair Lewis

I have asked this question before. I have repinned these quotes. But after giving it some time and thought, I have to ask a follow-up. All due respect to Mr. Lewis and, of course, Pinterest, but can anyone tell me what a fake writer is?

real writer

To me, a writer is a person who wants to tell a story.

Maybe that story is composed entirely in their head. Maybe they write sporadically and for varying periods of time. Maybe they find no pleasure at all in the act of putting words on paper (or screens). Maybe they’ve never achieved flow.

I don’t like these quotes that layout requirements like the ones above. I think writers, like all artists, don’t fit a specific mold. There isn’t a checklist or an application process. And thank god, because I’m not sure I’d get accepted!

The best part about being a writer is the “come as you are” factor. Some people are born literary geniuses, but many of us just started doing this thing we like and have gotten progressively better at it over time. Like so many things, it’s called a practice for a reason. In fact, it comes with a built-in mechanism for growth: drafting.

You don’t need anyone else to tell you whether or not you’re a writer.

That is, of course, unless you do. We writers can be a very insecure breed. I count myself among those who do not fit Mr. Lewis’s view of a “real” writer. I absolutely can be, and have been, discouraged from pursuing my writing. It happens all the time!

It seems like everytime I sit down to write anything—a story, a blog post, a Facebook status—I’m one nasty comment away from abandoning the written word for good. I don’t think that makes me not a writer. I think it makes me human. (A human with anxiety and self-esteem issues, but a human nonetheless.)

If you need permission to call yourself a writer, here it is: YOU CAN CALL YOURSELF A WRITER.

The long and short of it is: If you consider yourself a writer, you’re a writer.

Of course, this is all purely my opinion. I’d love to hear yours, either in the comments below or, if you’re reading this the day it posts:

Join me on Periscope for more discussion of what makes someone a real writer

. . . or whether or not a “real” writer is even a real thing. My account is @WhynottEdit, and I’ll be live at approximately 4:30 p.m. PST. I look forward to “meeting” some of you!


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Author: Whynott Edit

Hi, I'm Megan! My mission is to help underrepresented writers refine their words, strengthen their skills, and tell the best possible versions of their stories.

If you have questions/comments/concerns about writing, editing, or publishing, or want to suggest a post topic, feel free to reach out to me! megan[at]whynottedit.com

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2 thoughts on “What is a Real Writer Anyway?

  1. Thank you.

    Posted on February 9, 2016 at 12:10 pm
  2. You’re welcome! 🙂

    Posted on February 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm