If you have an interest in writing, what will it take for you to think of yourself as a writer? If you already think of yourself as a writer, what convinced you? If you write but don’t think of yourself as a writer, why not?
What does it mean to be a writer? Is being a writer like being a plumber? A doctor? A cleric? A singer?
What does it mean to be anything? Does it mean that label is your whole life, or what you’re doing at the moment, or what you’re doing at the moment for money?
Who gets to decide if you’re a writer? You? Somebody else? If somebody else, who? Your friends? Your family? An authority who knows nothing about you except what you’ve written?
What if there’s a difference of opinion? What if some people think you’re a writer and others don’t? Does it matter who thinks what? If your friends think you are and your family thinks you aren’t, are you a writer? What if your family thinks you are but your friends think you aren’t? What if an authority thinks you are or aren’t?
What if nobody thinks you’re a writer but you? Can you still be a writer? Can you be a writer by yourself? Can you be a writer if no one ever reads what you’ve written? What if you write in the woods and nobody reads your work until you die? Were you a writer while you were writing? Or are you a writer only after your work is discovered?
Can you be a writer if you make a living doing something other than writing? If you’re being paid to write are you a writer? Always? Is writing a profession? A career? If you work as a writer and you stop working as a writer does that mean you’re no longer a writer?
Do you think of some writers as real writers? Are writers who make money real writers? Are writers who don’t care about money real writers? Are writers who make money better or worse than writers who make no money?
There are a lot of questions in life. There are forty-one in this post alone. Some questions can only be answered with experience. If you think of experience as making mistakes you will always be in pain. If you think of experience as learning you will never know your limits.
When does your interest in writing turn you into a writer? You get to choose.
— Mark Barrett
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