From social media to overheard conversions to even people I know, I hear the phrase “I am an aspiring writer.” Every time I hear this phrase, I pause. What does it mean to be an aspiring writer?
This is in no way meant to insult those who choose to label themselves as such. I understand the power of labels and would not want to belittle someone’s choice in self identity. But I have to wonder why the aspiring is there in the first place.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines aspire as “to want to have or achieve something (such as a particular career or level of success).” Going off of this definition, there is a line between aspiring and achieving. Once the line is crossed, someone is no longer aspiring; they are achieving.
I can understand being an aspiring doctor, an aspiring psychologist, or an aspiring archaeologist. Those professions require years of studying both from books and on the field. The measurements of this line include the achievement of program completion or the receiving of some kind of tangible certification.
But here’s my point: there is no tangible certification for being a writer. There is no special committee that declares who is and is not a writer.
Going back to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a writer is defined as “someone who has written something.”
A writer writes.
If you write, you’re a writer. Being a writer does not mean “someone who has published multiple best-selling hardcovers.” It means if you put pen to paper, finger to keyboard, pencil to pad, stylus to tablet…you are a writer.