When Are You a Writer? Or: You’re Probably Already a Writer, Even if You Don’t Realise It

By Anthony Lee-Dudley

First an admission – I am not a Professional Writer, although I strive to be a professional writer. I have had a couple of items bought and published, and have a couple of others in the pipeline (a mysterious non-location that exists outside of normal space-time), but I mainly write for pleasure. To appease my wife and bank I should add at this point that I do not find writing for money in any way distasteful; it is simply not my primary motivator.

Gerrit Dou, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Unless of course, you speak to my wife … or indeed my bank, in which case my preference would be for you to proclaim loudly (and with as much honesty as you can muster) ‘Of course he wants to get paid; he’s always going for the money!’ You get the idea.

So, my criteria for someone to be a writer are definitely not financial.

Publication is not even a necessity in my book (excuse the pun), although it’s certainly very nice to see your work out there in the public domain. The feedback it can garner enables you to hone your skills.

To be brilliant at the technical aspects of the language, or languages, you choose to write in is not essential. Although I’m not saying it doesn’t help to be able to drop a simile like a boss, or be a machine at using metaphors, it really can help. It is not however the elusive ‘thing’.

With money, fame, and technical expertise out of the running, creativity heaves into view like a heavily laden cargo ship, its decks crammed with crates of importance, and the smoke issuing from its stacks redolent with the scent of a million unpublished manuscripts.

Even this behemoth is not what makes you a writer. Countless dreams and stories go unshared, except by word of mouth of course.

If there is a secret to being a writer it is this – Put words down on a page – that’s all there is to it, and everything else comes from this simple act.

So, when are you a writer? Likely you already are!

Photo, top: Nana B Agyei (flickr)

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