Thursday, August 26, 2010

When can you officially call yourself a 'writer'?

Lately, I have been flogging a few articles around the place and actually earning money from them. Not much, but enough to have covered this weeks food shopping bill.

In total, I have earned $60 from writing non-fiction this month and $500 from fiction. What does this make me professionally? Apart from still a bit poor?

I look at the website and see that many of the articles are written by 'freelance writers' or 'journalists'. When do they feel able to label themselves that? I would feel incredibly cheesy putting 'freelance writer' on my passport, and yet that is what I currently do to earn pocket money. I have a profession that I can only do once I go back to England which earns me so much more than I have earned from writing. I should label myself with that profession, right?

I only ask because I do think that putting freelance writer on your letters to editor when you are flogging ideas sounds better than 'bottom and nose wiper, dealer in tantrums, cleaner, meal preparing current full time mum.'

By the way, I am honestly writing this sitting on my basement steps surrounded by spiders and winter gear trying to escape from my children. I think they have found me. It's like The Shining....
"Here's Johnny!!!!!"


  1. I am a published author and I still cringe at that title, and hesitate to say I'm a writer. Don't know why - I think people feel sorry for you if they haven't read anythiing you've written and in turn, it can be embarrassing. I would say, if you're being paid, then you're a professional! Well done.

  2. I would say if you're actually being paid for it as a profession, then you're entitled to call yourself a "writer". Journalist is slightly different I would argue - I think you're trained aren't you? I went to journalism college, am a member of the NUJ, worked as a journalist for many years until I went freelance 10 years ago. I still cringe at putting writer or journalist on a passport or anything though - not because I'm embarrassed, but because I still don't really think I do it full time.

    If you're earning money from it, then well done. I would be proud - definitely don't do yourself down in a letter or a pitch if you want to be taken seriously.

  3. Thank you so much for your comments. You both have blogs I follow avidly a I can see you have a great style of writing which I think comes from your experiences.