by Marilyn Wolpin
I am NOT an aspiring writer. I AM a writer. I write stories for children, haikus, letters to the editor, blogs, and queries. I don’t aspire to write these. I just do it.
According to Webster’s to aspire is to hope to achieve something. Do you “aspiring” writers hope to achieve writing? I don’t think so.
I think the hope is that we become published writers. We believe this feat is validation that we are indeed writers. This victory must mean that our words have won over the gatekeepers: an agent, an editor, a team at the acquisition meeting. Oh, how our hopes have turned to reality. Now we are truly writers.
It also means that since I am published, I can remove “aspiring” from my Twitter or Facebook profile. No.
You are defeating yourself by saying you are an aspiring writer. You know the art and craft of writing. You use luscious language, you leave room for the illustrator, you use a combination of short and long sentences, you have a theme, an arc, all the elements. You go to your desk every morning or when you can. You type words into your computer. You revise. You revise some more. You think about your work in the shower, on your walks, in the grocery store, in your dreams.
Guess what that means? You are a writer. No “aspiring” necessary. You don’t need validation from the gatekeepers. You only need it from yourself.
Saying you are an aspiring writer is begging. It’s a psychological deterrent. A writer’s block. Does a musician call him or herself aspiring? When she practices a Bach two-part invention over and over, does she say I am an aspiring pianist? I hope she does not. Does an artist call herself aspiring before she has a show or sells her art? I think not.
So don’t ASPIRE to be a writer. Just DO it. The joy is in the doing. Stop hoping that you are a writer and start believing that you are a writer. I promise it will give you strength.