Everyone has an opinion, let’s explore them. Here are a few common things I’ve heard that supposedly define “real” writers and authors from the “fake” ones.
- They write every day
- They have a platform
- They’ve sold over a certain number of books
- They’ve won awards
- They go to conventions
- They have agents
- They publish at least a book a year
- They are prolific
- They’re part of national organizations
I reject all of these. What do I think makes a “real” writer? Whether or not they write. That’s it. No mystery. If you write, you’re a writer. The above things may determine how much you get paid and whether you can afford to quit your day job. They do not determine whether or not you are a writer.
Many famous authors are one hit wonders. Anna Sewell with Black Beauty, Emily Brontë with Wuthering Heights and Harper Lee with To Kill a Mocking Bird, just to name a few. Are any of us so prideful, that we would dare say those authors were not real writers because they only wrote one book in their lifetimes?
Sometimes writing comes easily, and sometimes it doesn’t. If we’re able to write every day, that is a wonderful thing, a rare gift to be celebrated. However, we should remember that we are not responsible for our own gifts, we’ve been given gifts by a gracious creator, so whatever our gifts are, we should use them for His glory. We should not glory in ourselves and our abilities, but glory in Him that gave us those things.
Jeremiah 9 : 23-24
23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. #KJV
I self-published my non-fiction book, which has done well. I didn’t have an agent. I didn’t have much of a platform and I was far from prolific, but it was successful. Why? Because it was something that people wanted to read. My children’s book hasn’t done as well in the flooded market, but I hope those numbers will improve with time. Now I’m ready to release my debut fiction novel, and am optimistic about how well it will do. Yet, even if it bombs, it doesn’t take away the fact that I am a writer. Writers write. And no, they do not have to write every day to earn that title.
Tune out the naysayers. Write for the Lord, write when you can or when inspiration strikes. Don’t be intimidated by the negativity in the world of writing and publishing. If you are writing for God and following His will, He’ll bless your efforts, even if that blessing is a single life touched by your words. Isn’t that enough?