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What Makes Someone a ‘Writer’?

If you’re here, you have an interest in writing, or know someone who does.  But what, at the heart of the matter, makes someone cross over from interested to intense?  From wanna-be to gotta-be?  From hopeful to hellbent?

What makes someone claim the title, pick up the mantle, and be able to say — when asked at a party what they do — “I’m a writer.”?


This is a very personal question, because you have to be a writer often long before you’re a ‘paid writer’, ‘professional writer’, or a ‘famous writer’.  You can’t just declare yourself a doctor (not without massive lawsuits ensuing) but one day, if you haven’t already, you’ll have to declare yourself a ‘writer’.

For me, it was ‘novelist’.  I could call my teenage self a writer because of the mere fact that I wrote.  But ‘novelist’ was the pillar, and I waited until I’d finished all drafts of my first novel to present myself that way to the world.  Now, I’ve been comfortable with it for so long that I forget the newbie’s fear — ‘Am I a real writer?’

7c918851e2cb60e23ea8075de8f5ed8dYes, you are.  Yes you ARE.

Writers are often humble and unsure.  We’ve read Shakespeare, Hemingway, Fitzgerald — it takes a lot of audacity to join the party and think we’ll have something to contribute to the conversation.  But the greats probably thought that too.  Our early efforts can be frustrating, because we know good, but we can’t always recreate it.

— Ira Glass

But you know, at a soul level, that you’re a writer.  You have a story to tell, an idea to share, a wrong to right through letters and lines.  You’ve probably been thinking about the book you’re writing (or want to write) for a long time.  If you love good literature and hard work, believe me, you can create something sensational.  And you can change not only your life but someone else’s as well.

So you’ve come to the right place — the land of dreamers, the island of misfit toys.  Some of us have been ‘writers’ for a very long time, but most of us have only recently been willing to show that side to the light.  We’ll help you and encourage you.  There’s no magic to becoming one of us, but there’s a lot of magic after you do.

So say right now — ‘I am a writer!’  Then smile; you’re about to change the world.

Found on

 — Katherine Cerulean, Founder

About katherinecerulean

Novelist, founder of The Athens Writers Association, and enthusiast of all things awesome and magical. Need my help with ANYTHING? Just ask!

2 responses »

  1. Kathryn Kyker

    So delightful to have some inspiration speak deeply to me that was just sitting in my inbox. Thanks- I needed that. Love the Ira Glass quote,


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