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If Writing is Your Passion, Own It
When someone asks you,
"What do you do?" What will you tell them? Will you stammer your way to saying, "Nothing important? I have a day job,"? I should hope not. When you are a writer, the question has nothing to do with money. Is this what you do with your time when you have nothing better to do? Then you are a writer. Do you read other people's work and start to compose a response that will take up more then a paragraph? Then you are a writer. Do you welcome people to slash and shred your work and call you all kinds of names because they don't favor your style? Then you are a writer.
If you are ashamed of what you write or where you are in the writing process then you will find it harder and harder to pick up your pen. Do you really feel like you have to justify where you are to anyone else or answer to anyone else for where your money comes from? Does it really matter what you do with your time? If you follow your dream all of the good times will happen of their own accord. As you live your dream your happiness will shame those who asked the initial question to watch you squirm.
If writing is what you want to do and what you are driven to do then you are a writer. If you care to explain it to anyone else say you are a writer but not an author yet. Most people will understand that much and leave you alone on the subject. If they don't then they are fools mocking a dream they don't have.
Just because you needn't answer to the world doesn't mean that it isn't worth your time to ask yourself why you write. If you don't like your answer change it. If your answer drives you to write a paper or article on the subject then you are a writer. Most writers could come up with a list of how you know you are a writer worthy of Jeff Foxworthy's talents but few outside our group would understand. Writing is a solitary pleasure that few understand and only the slightly masochistic can keep at it but in the end it becomes a secret well of life that you will always be able to dip into.
If you want to call yourself a writer then write and write and write until ...ok, I admit it, until you are dead. How much of your work is actually published won’t matter to you after a while. The fact that some of it will be published is inevitable, heck if you are reading this you are probably already published in one sense now.
So long as you are embarrassed, you will feel the need to put modifiers in front of what you do. If you are a writer then the old axiom is true, "Writers write" end of story. If writing is what you do then eventually you will feel the urge to share your craft. That is just human nature.