Saying you’re “a writer” because you 1- enjoy writing and 2- think you’re pretty neat makes you no more a writer than going to a clurb and gyrating to Usher makes you a dancer or that having a small herb garden makes you a farmer.
A writer is someone is someone who gets paid or has gotten paid to write. Otherwise it’s a hobby.
Really though? I don’t think it’s that simple.
Voices that are marginalized and dismissed in other areas of public discourse are also often marginalized and dismissed by the publishing/media industry. “Writer” is not a professional designation wherein everyone who does the work has the opportunity to receive a paycheck for their skill, talent and professionalism.
Writers who get paid are writers who get paid. Writers who don’t get paid are writers who don’t get paid. The former doesn’t negate the existence of the latter.
I’m going to have to co-sign on this response.
Not to mention that, given exploitations in the industry, many excellent writers, including those published on international platforms, actually are not getting compensation for their work, so claiming that pay is the sole metric to use when determining whether someone is a writer has…problems.
Yeah - that’s why we have the designation “professional” writer. We need that modifier to distinguish writers who do writing on a professional level (and even that varies hugely) from writers who simply write.
You don’t need to be commodified to be a writer. Or any other kind of artist, no matter how much the consumer-based economy tries to tell you so. Writing is what makes you a writer.
There is, I admit, a certain irony to me saying this because even though I have published a book and gotten paid and write for media outlets and promote other writers’ works like I’m an authority, I have a hard time considering myself A Writer.
And, frankly, people chalk it up to Imposter Syndrome but I chalk it up to shit like this where there’s a false and arbitrary standard that is dependent upon whatever the particular exclusionary writer wants to make their standard. The more people don’t take themselves seriously as writers or artists, the more elitist we can be. The more we condition people to believe they cannot possible BE writers or artists, the fewer writers and artists we will have in our society. And that’s a goddamn tragedy.
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- choronda said: This loosely reminds me of the misuse of the title ‘architect’. Not someone who actually designs buildings, but someone who plans out some strategic idea or plan. For example, Karl Rove being the ‘architect’ for Bush’s campaign. Annoying.
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