Am I a real writer?
Of course I am. Are you a real writer? That depends. Have you written anything?
That is the question. Have you written anything? For me the anything in that question means anything. Any written thing. If you’ve written a single string of words intended to evoke a response, you are a writer.
Seems simple enough but not everyone shares my view. A recent on-line conversation showed me that some people try to invoke a stricter meaning on the title of writer. By some accounts I am not a writer because I’ve never been published by a “real” publisher.
A bit of background; I self-published a novel and a book of short stories. I wrote two short stories that were published in on-line journals. I participate in a couple daily prompts on Twitter. I have over 500 followers. To some people all that does not a writer make.
I disagree. Being published has little to do with being a writer. That’s something that happens when the writing is done. The process of writing is not dependent on the existence of the reader. While most writers do want to build and engage with an audience. It is not a requirement.
So why do some writers push for these boundaries? The most obvious reason is status. By saying you’re not a writer unless your published, that restricts the world of writers to a much smaller, more select group. Therefor being a member of the group makes you more important than those excluded from the group.
That’s a greedy and weak point of view. Many of my favorite writers have never been “published.” People who can make me afraid, aroused or amused with just a sentence or two. They aren’t just writers, they are great writers.
So if anyone ever tells you aren’t a “real” writer, tell them that I said your were. Or better, tell them to masticate excrement and expire.