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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Aspiring Or Perspiring?

I recently read this thought-provoking blog on writers who call themselves 'aspiring'.

The general message seems to be that if you try to do all the things those professional (read, published) writers do then you should consider yourself a writer. After all, you're not sat there talking about writing a book, you're actually getting on with it and the sweat from the effort is visible on every fibre of your being. I do appreciate this sentiment and yet I'm still calling myself an aspiring writer. Why?

Well, firstly, I don't want to mislead anyone. If someone happens across this blog or my Twitter page I would rather they didn't mistake me for what I'm not. Is this because I consider myself a failure? No, because you can't fail at what you haven't really tried yet. I confess, I haven't submitted my novels yet but I will. Maybe when I'm going through the submission process I'll feel more comfortable about calling myself a writer with no prefix.

Another aspect of this is that calling myself 'aspiring' keeps me on my toes. I have a desperate urge to shed the self-imposed label. Every time I see my Twitter profile I'm reminded of my goals. At least this way I can never forget them.

Yes, I do all of the things Ami Hendrickson suggests make me a writer with no prefix: I monitor my daily word counts, I love my characters to bits, I criticise every bit of television and film I see in terms of bad plot, bad characterisation and ridiculous occurrences (you should hear my thoughts on Glee). And maybe I should let go of the tag for those very good reasons she listed but I can't.

It's personal preference and probably has more than a little to do with my low self-esteem. But what are you going to do? You can only be what you feel you are. And maybe I should listen to that advice in every facet of my life for good measure.


Steven Chapman said...

Hmmm, interesting, you've seen Glee...

*loads shotgun*

Hold still, this won't take long.

In all seriousness this is a good post, it is strange that we all label ourselves as aspiring writers. I've had short stories published and I still call myself an aspiring writer. I probably still will even when I have a novel published. Maybe it's something we'll never be able to stop doing?

CharmedLassie said...

*Ducks* I like the music! There's not many other places on television you can find songs from musicals!

I think it depends on your own view on what you've set out to achieve. Some people will never be happy and always think they can accomplish more. By keeping the label you force yourself into continuing to produce. It'll be interesting to see what it takes for me to drop it. Maybe if I get a novel published, but only when it's there on the shelf and I can lick it lovingly.

Steven Chapman said...

That must be an author thing as well because the first thing I'm going to do (when published) is lick my book...