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.

Writers’ Roundup

Happy Friday! Some great links out there this week:

  • Every once in a while, I like to tell you about a new blog I’ve come across, even if it has nothing to do with writing. Recently I’ve been reading Starfish Envy, about a woman who’s single, approaching the end of her child-bearing years, and has decided to have a baby on her own. For a while she was debating between adoption and invitro, but it looks like she’s going with the latter. In some ways, I’m saddened by her story; she’s taking an alternate route because she hasn’t found a partner to share her dreams. But it’s also inspiring, because this woman is taking steps to get what she wants, to make her dream happen, despite certain obstacles. Couldn’t we all learn from that?

Writers’ Roundup

A big welcome if you’re here for the first time courtesy of The Creative Penn, who hosted me for a podcast this week on travel writing and writer’s residencies. You’re just in time for the weekly writers’ roundup, a collection of my favorite links, which runs each Friday.

Since returning from my writer’s residency, where I didn’t have an Internet connection in my studio, I’ve spent less time on Twitter. I still think the social networking tool is incredibly useful, but I realized while I was away that spending so much time online was taking away from my writing.

Unfortunately, less time in the Twittersphere means fewer links for my roundup. But we have to prioritize, right?

I’ve got a Q&A scheduled here for Monday that you won’t want to miss — See you then!

Writers’ Roundup

That’s right, the Writers’ Roundup is back! She was on hiatus while I was at my artist’s residency, since I didn’t have much Internet access (and, quite frankly, I was trying to get away from blog responsibilities so I could focus on my book). Since I enjoy pulling together my favorite links from the week, this feature will now return to its Friday rotation.

  • The Intern has some good ideas about Author Websites, including what not to blog.
  • Penelope Trunk writes about How to deal with doubt: Take a leap. If you read my blog regularly, you know Penelope is my favorite blogger, and she hits this one right on the head, telling a good story at the same time. Coincidentally, this post also overlaps with a theme of my travel memoir: taking a risk in life.

That’s it for this week — Short ‘n sweet. Have a great weekend!

Writers’ Roundup

Happy Friday! A few insightful links from this week:

  • Writer Jody Hedlund explains the challenges of convincing others that writing is a valid career choice. Their reactions, she says, can result in writer’s guilt.
  • What do you call yourself? Do you deserve the title of writer, author, or something entirely different? More than anything else, I still consider myself a journalist. (This post reminded me that I’m still not set on Aspiring Author as the title of this blog. Some readers say that title doesn’t give me enough credit because I’m a published journalist. I argue back that regardless of my writing credentials, I’m still aspiring to become an author. And yet, I’m always trying to think of a better title.)
  • Check out this new blog called Pimp My Novel, created by a guy who works in a publisher’s sales department. He explains what happens to a book after it’s acquired by a publishing house.

After taking the last few weekends off, this Saturday and Sunday I plan to write and edit. See you Monday!