What makes a writer?

Last week, I returned to my former position as Writing Consultant at Los Angeles Valley College for a day. While there, I met with a former mentor to get a letter of recommendation for a teaching job at the school. Long story short, he asked if I could serve on the advisory board of the Media Arts department at LAVC and I humbly accepted.

I attended the meeting Friday morning and ran into some familiar faces, most of whom basically served as a chapter of my life story. I had worked or taken classes with so many of the acquaintances in that room, during a different time in my life, when I was a student just starting out on my writing journey. I felt as though I had stepped through a portal to my past. It was truly a wonderful experience.

I chatted with one specific colleague, whose wife is a writer, and actually helped with the rewrite on my first ever screenplay, which he directed over 8 years ago.  I asked what his wife has been writing lately and his response shocked me, “Oh, {she} only writes when she gets paid.”

As a writer, the thought of only writing when I get paid for it is appalling. So, I asked myself, “what makes a writer?” Is it someone who gets paid to write and makes a living off of it, or someone who has such an undying passion to get those ideas and thoughts down on paper and can’t imagine a day without it?

Writing is a strenuous and difficult job that most non-writers won’t understand. It takes so much passion and determination to keep writing and strive to perfect it. I, for one, don’t think a writer needs to get paid in order to write. In fact, a true writer doesn’t worry about the paycheck at all; they write because they love the art.  Making money from writing does not make a true writer. A true writer cannot imagine their day without getting something down on paper – whether its a word, a phrase, a sentence, or a page. True writers need to write at any cost and do not wait for a paycheck.

Anyone can say they’re a writer, but a true writer does not wait for that paycheck. They write regardless, because it is a need. As Norman Mailer said, “Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day.”

Please begin a discussion and post your thoughts on what makes a ‘true writer.’

Until next time, write on!

The Accidental Blogger



Filed under Writing on Writing

2 responses to “What makes a writer?

  1. Mariette

    AMEN TO THAT!!!!!!

  2. Felt led to come back….but glad I did, this post, inspired me, because as a Christian writer, I need to write. If you feel led check out my page, on the top of my blog entitled…it gives more insight, as to why I feel this way. Thank you praying God bless you.

    “People Ask Me.”


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