Itís hard to know at what point we can call ourselves a writer. Is it when we write for money, when our work is published? That may never happen, and for some writers, their work is not recognized until after their death. So clearly they were a writer but they may not have felt entitled to call themselves a writer during their period of writing.
Is it when we write on a regular basis, or every day? That would mean there are many writers in the world, but some of them might never show their work to anyone else. It could sit in a journal perhaps for their own eyes only. So is part of being a writer being able, or courageous enough, to show your writing to others? To present our work to others, knowing that the flipside of writing is reading? Writing is made for reading after all Ė or is it? Perhaps itís just for the person who wrote it.
Is it when we complete a writing course? Would it have to be an accredited writing program from an official university or could it be one of the many writing courses springing up on line or by independent writers? Who is to say which course helps people to become a writer the most? A formal qualification may not mean that the person becomes best equipped to become a writer. What if they complete the requirements for the qualification but donít write much apart from that?
So this question of what a writer is and when one becomes a writer is extremely vexed. Itís quite a challenge to pinpoint at what stage one would be able to feel confident to call themselves a writer, and legitimately be seen by others as a writer. Perhaps everyone can be a writer or sees themselves as being able to write, and that means itís got to be something above what everyone else does to call ourselves a writer. Perhaps itís easier to say I do some writing, Iím beginning to write a book, I've started a creative writing course than to actually say Iím a writer.
Perhaps itís related to what our purpose is. Is the purpose of our writing just for ourselves and our own meaning-making or stress release? If so we may not feel like we are a writer but rather use writing as a tool in our set of life skills. If the purpose of our writing is for an audience and we have something ready to show the audience we might feel like we can more legitimately call ourselves a writer? What if the audience is our family, grandchildren or relatives rather than a broader audience? Would that matter? Perhaps itís simply part of the whole writing journey for us to decide at what point we feel like we are a writer.
The Oxford dictionary defines a writer as 'a person who writes books, stories or articles as a job or occupation.'
An occupation is defined as 'a way of spending time.' So if you write as a way of spending your time, then by all means you are a writer. Keep it up.