You’re not an aspiring writer. You’re a writer.

I can’t stand when people tell me they’re aspiring writers.

I know what they mean. They mean they’re aspiring to become a paid writer, or a published writer, or even a respected writer. But aspiring means you haven’t put your pen to paper or typed a story on your laptop. Aspiring means you’re thinking about writing, that you haven’t yet actually done it.

If you were training for a marathon, would you say you were an aspiring runner? No. You’d be running every day — maybe very slowly, maybe with walk breaks, maybe short distances — but you’d be running. That makes you a runner. An aspiring marathoner, yes, but also a runner.

The same goes for writing. If you write every day, you’re a writer. So stop saying you aspire to be a writer! Don’t sell yourself short. You’re a writer.

Think I’m being too picky? Maybe. I’m a grammar freak, a nerd when it comes to using words properly. (Do you laugh — not a little giggle, but an all-out, hearty cackle — when you read The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks? If so, you may be a grammar freak, too.)

When I started this blog under the title Aspiring Author, several readers told me (graciously) that they didn’t like the name, that it didn’t do me justice. I was already an author, they said. But here’s where the grammar freak in me comes in. The truth is, I’m not an author — yet. I’m a journalist. I’m a writer, one who has been published in newspapers and magazines. But to become an author, I need to be published. When my first book is on store shelves, that’s when I’ll call myself an author. Until then, I’m aspiring.

But you, yes YOU, since you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a writer. Maybe you’re already an author. Maybe you’re an aspiring author like me. But if you’ve already begun writing your memoir, your novel, your self-help book or some other project, then you’re no  longer aspiring to put words to paper — you’re a writer.