Posted by: barbaraneill | July 3, 2013

When is a writer not a writer?

Inspired by the recent post of a writer friend of mine, who has started to question whether or not she really wants writing as a career I, too, have analysed what I believe being a writer actually means.

I love writing, and have done since childhood but when I stopped and looked at my motives for writing, recently, and was totally honest with myself, I discovered that I really don’t want writing as a career. I want to always love writing, and I feel that having deadlines to stick to, and writing when I really don’t feel like it, would take some of the joy out of it.

It took me ages to discover what I wanted to be when I grow up, mainly because I’m interested in so many things. I love hypnotherapy. I really do, and I’m privileged to be able to do it for a living. I love lots of other things as well, including other forms of healing, photography and teaching, and I wouldn’t want to change that for anything.

The truth is, I want to carry on loving everything I do, including writing, and never having to do anything because I feel I’ve got to whether I want to or not.

My friend referred to ‘support for insecure writers’ while rhetorically asking similar questions to my own but I couldn’t help wondering if the word ‘insecure’ was misplaced. In my view, it’s perfectly possible to decide that you want to write purely because you love writing, rather than fitting someone else’s idea of what a writer ‘should’ be, without being insecure. In fact, I’d say that making up your mind to do so, and defying convention in the process, is about as secure as it gets.

I thought it might be interesting to try and define “writer”. To be a writer, do you have to write for a living? Does your writing have to be published and, if so, does self-publication count? How about if you had one poem published in a school magazine many years ago? Does that count as “published”? Perhaps you’ve had several articles ‘published’ on the Internet, or maybe you’re a blogger. Can you call yourself a writer, then? Personally, I feel that a writer is ‘one who writes’. That’s about as wide a spectrum as it gets. It means, also, that writing is available to just about everyone, and not some elitist pursuit to be enjoyed by a few.

I do love writing and I hope I always will. Enjoying writing, as well as all the other things I enjoy, is an essential part of who I am.

It took me a very long time to discover what I wanted to be when I grow up but I have discovered it. When I grow up, I want to be me.


  1. Thank you for your support today honey, over my wobble lol 😉

    Great post, and yes, you’re right, i think the key is to love EVERYTHING you do 🙂


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