...They're Too Busy Perspiring. And Conspiring...
A writer writes.
Being published doesn't make one a writer.
Nor does being famous, rich, successful, a bestseller, or an alcoholic.
What separates writers from non-writers is that one does what the other does not.
This is why it grinds my gizzard every time I visit a blog or read a tweet from a self-described "aspiring writer." (Grrrrr....)
These are people who avidly follow the #amwriting, #amediting, and #pubtip hashtags. They monitor their daily word count. They stay current on what agents are looking for, know who's open to queries, and warn others about the occasional slimeballs they encounter.
These intrepid souls write while holding down full time jobs, raising children, caring for ailing parents and spouses, going to school, going through divorce, battling debilitating illness, and enduring rejections.
They are not aspiring. They are the polar opposite of "aspiring." They are "doing."
Doctors don't save every patient they encounter. Lawyers don't win every case. This fact of life, however, never induces them to call themselves "aspiring." Nor does it keep them from charging their clients handsomely for the privilege of being practiced upon.
In the same vein, writers don't always find a publisher for every thing they write. That doesn't mean they're "aspiring," though.
See, here's the thing. Aspiring writers talk. Writers write.
Sure Signs That You're a Writer
* You have a deep and abiding love affair with caffeine. Or chocolate. Or Cheetos. Or another major food group that is bad for your body but good for your muse.
* You are happiest in worlds of your own building.
* Your characters are as real to you as real people. (And your fondest desire is to meet them in real life.)
* You consider watching TV, going to movies, and reading books work-based research. In fact, you are incapable of watching or reading something purely for entertainment. Instead, your inner critic maintains a running commentary on the good, the bad, and the ugly. [Bonus points and kudos if you've learned not to voice your inner critic's comments aloud, thus enlightening all within hearing distance.]
* You have had at least one Brilliant Idea just before falling asleep and have told yourself "I don't need to get up and write this down. It's so good, I'll remember it in the morning."
* You have learned from painful past experience that if you don't immediately get out of bed and write something down, you'll forget it, no matter how brilliant it seems at the time. For this reason, every room in the house, including the laundry room and the guest bathroom have pens and scratch paper readily available.
* You have at least one pet named after a literary character. And it never ceases to amaze you how no one understands the reference.
Sure Signs of an Aspiring Writer
* You talk about wanting to write a book. Someday. When the kids are grown. When you've finished school. When you're retired. When you win the lottery.
Talk = Expire. Respire. Aspire. Write = Perspire. The two are mutually exclusive.
* You don't bother to learn about the publishing industry. You figure that when you finally write your magnum opus, the world will beat a path to your door.
Ignorance is the opiate of the unpublished.
* You badmouth current bestsellers, the state of publishing, and popular writers.
If you can't say something nice, produce something better.
* You don't read. You don't have the time. You aren't interested in what's being published. All the publishers throw out there is crap anyway.
You refuse to go to class or do the assignment, but are prepared to groan and moan about never getting a diploma.
So you see, in my opinion, there is NOTHING attractive about being an "aspiring" writer. To paraphrase Yoda: Do. Or do not. But if you choose to do not, stop yapping about wanting to do.
Here's to all you writers out there. May you delete "aspiring" from your bios, 'cause you've already made it.