Articles,, Goals, Writing

What Defines a Writer?

When someone says they like to write, the first things that come to mind are often essays, memoirs, personal narratives, articles, poems, short stories and novels.While it is true that these are all common forms of writing, there are many ways to consider someone a writer. It doesn’t take putting words down on a page to tell someone a story. So, as long as you have a story to tell, you can be a writer.

When considering what defines a writer, I would argue, in the words of Pat Schneider, that “everyone is a writer,” or at least all have the ability to write. Some may be more skilled than others, or write in a more professional sense. The noun “writer” is a broad term which can be applied to people in varied situations. There are small things that can differentiate what kind of writing each person does daily. Some truly do put pen to paper consistently, others tell every-day stories to their friends, or dream up scenarios of their own. However, just because everyone is technically a writer, it does not mean there is not room for craft and skills to be improved.

What cannot be taught or replicated, however, is the inner passion of a person which defines them as an artist. This is what often inspires those who take up writing as a career, or at least in the more professional sense. Even then, in the professional world, some do not receive this recognition when it is rightfully deserved. Are the people who are behind the storylines of the greatest cinematic works not to be considered “a writer” in the same capacity as a novelist or poet?

Or, how about the dreamers who spend their time imagining far off lands or reliving their favorite memories? Are they, too, not to be considered writers simply because the stories they create are in their own minds? No, they deserve authorial status just as anyone else who has a story to tell. In fact, I believe dreamers have immense potential to become successful writers because of their untapped creativity.

Admittedly, I may be biased on this point, as this is the realm of writing I find myself belonging to most routinely. I think just knowing I have the choice to write down what I dream up in my mind has always caused me to consider taking up writing in a more official capacity. Whether it is enough to pursue it, I am not yet sure.

For now, I will stick to the kinds of writing that have always come easily to me: essays, articles, and personal narratives. I think I gravitate towards these genres because academic, structured writing allows me the strongest sense of direction and control. Still, the dreamer in me is very much alive, she is just afraid to let go. Perhaps, one day, I will be bold enough to write outside of the academic genres and follow my imagination wherever it wanders.

If you are like me, then I have a challenge for us both: take a chance, make a choice, and accept the challenge of trying something you have never done before. You never know how it may turn out.

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