Blog by Toby Welch

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What is a Writer?

What is a writer?  People ask me that question a lot these days.  They seem to be looking for validation for themselves or have a need to put a label on things.  Whatever the reason, I am always happy to share my well-thought-out and lengthy description of what I think a writer is:

A writer is someone who writes.  Period.

Yes, it really is that simple.  It doesn't need to be a fancy-wrapped package with a glittery bow on top.  A writer is someone who writes.  I don't care how many publishing credits you have to your name, not even if the grand total is zero.  I don't care in what medium, if any, you've been published in.  Book length or blurbs, it doesn't matter.  If you sit your ass in a chair and pound out words, even if they are a garbled mess, you are a writer. 

People who say you are not an official writer until you have one book-length hardcover work printed by a reputable publisher to your credit need to be dragged into the back of a dark alley and have the crap beat out of them. It's so ridiculous.  Do you write?  Then you are a writer.

Caveat: writer exceptions.

I know I just got through defending my position that anyone who writes is a writer but there is one exception: writing poseurs.  We've all met them - cocky, opinionated people who claim to be writing the next great novel that will rock the literary world.  Yet they don't mention that they haven't written more than one word in the five years or five decades that they've been making their ridiculous claims.  These people just try to soak in the glories of writing while not actually penning anything.

Almost as bad is the writer who never gets past the researching phase to get to where he or she does any actual writing.  Some wanna-be writers stay mired in this phase their entire lives.  I met a fellow who was writing an amazing technological thriller.  It was going to change the world if he could ever get past the research, he claimed.  "Huh?" was my response to his absurd statement.  He explained that technology is changing at such a rapid rate that he is constantly researching to keep up with all the new developments and never has a chance to actually write any of the novel. 

Wanna-be writing poseurs will never amount to anything in the literary world.