1. inkyliddlefingers
    Offline

    inkyliddlefingers Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Wet, windy Wales.

    Are you a writer if you are unpublished?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by inkyliddlefingers, Jul 26, 2012.

    Would you consider yourself a writer even if you've never been published? Can you carry that title if you are as yet unpublished?

    Is so, would you describe yourself to others as a writer?
     
  2. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Writing is what I do, not who I am.
     
  3. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I personally do not. I don't feel like I can hold myself out as a "writer" until I get *something* published, preferably more than once.

    I want to edit to clarify: My position stems from the implication of saying one "is" something that one makes a living or at least a partial living from that endeavor. When someone says, "what do you do," usually they mean, "what do you do for a living or what is your job/profession?" If I'm not writing to earn a living, I don't feel that it answers the question, even if one loves writing and is very passionate about it. A similar example might be someone who loves to bake. Even if one baked every single day, and the resulting food items were consumed by family and friends, that still wouldn't, in my mind, make "baker" the correct answer to the question "what do you do?" That would be "I'm a [whatever] but I love to bake," or some similar answer. The person wouldn't be a "baker" unless they owned at or worked at a bakery or actually did make money from selling the baked goods to people.

    But that's my philosophy for myself. I realize others will differ.
     
  4. Steph4136
    Offline

    Steph4136 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    I consider myself a writer even though I'm not published. It's a part of who I am and something I've been doing for around 25 years (yeesh that makes me feel old). Just because I've never tried to get published before doesn't mean I'm not a writer. This book that I'm working on now will be my first attempt at getting published.
     
  5. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,529
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    I didn't consider myself a writer until I'd actually completed a work and submitted it for publication, but everyone's definition will be different. Some folks write without the intention of every getting 'published' except maybe poetry on their blog, for example.

    Some draw the line between writer and author. A writer is someone who writes, but an author is someone who's been published. Then folks might debate what 'published' means.

    I suppose one could use 'unpublished writer' but some might feel that diminishes the effort. Others might say if it's only a hobby, you're not a writer.

    If it concerns you, just be sure to be preapared to explain why you call yourself a writer.
     
  6. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    I consider myself a writer because I take a more sentimental approach to these titles. I am a writer - it is who I am. Currently I work as a teacher - I have never, not even once, referred to myself as a teacher. When people ask "What do you do?" I reply, "I teach, but I am a writer." Teaching is a job. To be called a teacher I feel you must be called to the job, be passionate about it etc. It is the same with being a writer.

    Because you see, if I said "I am a teacher" - people will make certain assumptions about me. They will think I love kids, I love to teach, I am good at lesson planning, I can control a classroom, I work for a school etc. While some of those are true and not others, I do not feel these assumptions describe me at all. But "I teach" - no assumptions are needed about my character, only that it is my job.

    So yes, I am a writer.
     
  7. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    way back when i started writing seriously, i used to refer to myself as an 'as yet unpublished writer' before i sold any of my work... but yes, i was a 'writer' because i was writing pretty much full time and making an effort to sell what i wrote...

    when i joined the 'professional' ranks with a paid credit under my belt, i dropped the qualifier and when asked, just said i was a writer, period... actually, i could have called myself a writer from the get-go, since i wrote a column and articles for my high school newspaper [of which i was also the editor]... but with a decades-long hiatus due to 2 marriages and bearing/raising 7 kids, i considered my career as a writer to have begun when i started writing full time...
     
  8. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Interesting position, Mckk. I usually interpret the verb to imply a stronger passion than the noun. "I teach" makes me think one is more passionate about teaching than "I am a teacher." Of course, you clarify it with "but I am a writer," which I think explains your thoughts about it well.

    Just imagine how much harder if one has a position that is generally reviled, such as lawyer ;-)
     
  9. Abigail
    Offline

    Abigail Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    I consider myself a writer, for sure, and I have nothing published. :)
     
  10. prettyprettyprettygood
    Offline

    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    I wouldn't describe myself as a writer unless it was my job/main source of income, and if someone told me they are a writer I'd assume that was their job.
     
  11. MeganHeld
    Offline

    MeganHeld Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2010
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I have been a writer since I was 12, and I will be till I die even if I don't get published. Writing is a part of my life and I cannot imagine not doing it.
     
  12. BBBurke
    Offline

    BBBurke Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California
    If you go to the gym and play ball with your friends, aren't you a basketball player? Of course, you're not making money at it, and it doesn't answer the question 'what do you do for a living'. But you're a basketball player because you play basketball. Same with writing (and reading for that matter - I bet we all would have no problem saying we're readers).

    As to the philosophical question 'what are you?', that's a very personal and probably different answer. I am a writer, but I am also many other things.
     
  13. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    Yes.

    If I actually sat down to describe myself to anyone, I would without doubt include 'writer' in the mix. It is one facet of who I am and what I do.
     
  14. Pheonix
    Offline

    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Messages:
    5,716
    Likes Received:
    401
    Location:
    The Windy City
    I Consider myself an aspiring writer. I haven't been published, but I do write. And I think I write enough that even though no one anywhere knows who I am, I'm still a writer at heart. Titles are meaningless. And besides, being a writer is more of a condition than a title. Either you are or your aren't i think. Writing is a form of expression, of art. Not everyone who writes is a writer, but then, neither is everyone who gets published.
     
  15. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,724
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I call myself a writer even though I haven't been published. If I write, I'm a writer.

    Say I have a bunch of short stories out there, all submitted to different magazines, and I'm waiting to hear from the editors. Some people would say I'm not a writer because I haven't been published, but do I suddenly become a writer if one or more of those editors decides to accept my story for publication? That would indicate that the editor has a magic wand they can wave that can make me a writer at the editor's whim. It wouldn't matter what I do - it's the editor who determines whether or not I'm a writer.

    To me, that's ridiculous. Whether or not I'm a writer is not up to an editor, it's up to me. I write, so I'm a writer, and editors have nothing to do with it.
     
  16. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I'm a writer - before it becomes my job , before I get published. Though success
    and payment are my goal, it's not to prove to myself I'm a writer - it's to get my
    work out there so people can read it , and for me to be paid, for doing my dream-job.
     
  17. Thumpalumpacus
    Offline

    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    106
    Location:
    Texas
    I'm a father, a musician, and a writer. I don't get paid to do any of those things, because I don't do them for money.

    If someone asks what I am, the context of the conversation will define my answer. If we're talking about bicycling, I will say I'm a trail-rider. If we're talking about occupation, I will say I'm a retail manager. If we're talking about non-paying interests, I will say I'm a musician and writer.
     
  18. prettyprettyprettygood
    Offline

    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    ^ That was my thinking, the context of someone asking you what you are are or what you do is almost always going to be related to what you do for a living, so answering anything that isn't your job seems pretentious to me.

    If the question is 'what are your hobbies/interests' then of course saying you're a writer makes perfect sense, although even then I'm sure I'd say 'I'm writing a novel' rather than 'I'm a writer'. I'd also say 'I like swimming' rather than 'I'm a swimmer'; it seems titles just don't sit well with me at all :)
     
  19. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    Not necessarily. In my case, I'd say "I'm a writer, but at the moment I stock groceries to pay the bills." Don't see anything pretentious about that. ;)
     
  20. Jamie Senopole
    Offline

    Jamie Senopole Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Shelby Twp, Mi.
    Hey, ChicagoLiz!

    This is exactly how I feel!! :)
     
  21. prettyprettyprettygood
    Offline

    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    I agree, unless the person saying it has never written anything other than a first draft of a short story. I wouldn't say it myself, but I am definitely in the minority here - where I live and work people are quick to judge others as being up themselves and it seems I am too keen to avoid this :p
     
  22. inkyliddlefingers
    Offline

    inkyliddlefingers Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Wet, windy Wales.
    Great mix of answers!

    I should qualify: I have no concerns in calling myself a writer though the only time I've seen my work in print was a university graduation 'best of' magazine, where students were approached by each dept head and asked if we would mind a selected (by them) piece being printed. I was thrilled.

    Now I am part way through my doctorate in creative writing, although I don't think I will ever be published for a variety of complex reasons; mainly because my progressive disability, and chronic illnesses, allow me to write less and less each year. But the fact that my academic research and attendant fictional work has been deemed by my universiy dept as of enough merit to warrant my being upgraded from MPhil to PhD without qualifiers this coming semester, is more than enough. I know I have it in me intellectually to succeed, even if my body gives out before I get there.

    So, yes, as well as being a woman, wife, mother and grandmother, I am also proud to call myself a writer!
     
  23. bsbvermont
    Offline

    bsbvermont Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    1
    I would hazard a guess that there are very few professions where you are not also a writer. Example, I have been an educator for 25 years. I write DAILY as an educator, although some days more than others. Try to write an email to your superintendent, a letter to a parent, a grant application or an article to a local paper and not exercise extreme care in your writing. They are undeniably MORE scrutinized than your average novel and need extremely clear and concise writing or you (not just your writing) will be criticized. Most of us write reports, important pitches or emails at our jobs. That might not make us novelists, but we are writers.
     
  24. Fullmetal Xeno
    Offline

    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,364
    Likes Received:
    141
    Location:
    Kingdom of Austniad
    Yes, because that's what Writers do, they write? Doesn't really matter if published or not.
     
  25. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,220
    Likes Received:
    4,227
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    I write in my personal journals, so yes, I'm a writer in that sense. No living soul will ever see them, I'll never get them published, but I do consider myself their author, as I'm writing it.
     

Share This Page