What makes a writer a writer? The answer to this question should be simple. A writer is someone who writes. Period. Right? Or is there more to being a writer, in addition to the mechanical act of putting pen to paper and scrolling some words, or typing a string of words into a digital document?

To consider yourself a “writer,” do you need to write on a regular basis? Have a certain level of education? Write with the intent to have your work published by an entity other than yourself? Or with the intent to make money from whatever it is that you write?

If you only write in a journal once a week or once a month, are you a “writer”? If you write reports for an employer, are you a “writer”? If you only write a few posts every few months that get a few likes, are you a “writer”?

What makes a writer a writer? Recognition and notoriety? An established audience? An income from writing? All the above?

I ask these questions because I have both studied writing and taught writing to others in a collegiate setting. I have written for children and adults and have taught children and adults how to write, too. And I’ve written for a variety of publications over the years, both online and print publications. But now that I am mainly writing things that I self-publish, somehow writing feels… different. And I only have an inkling as to why.

I know that I’m still a writer even if I’m not studying or teaching writing right now, or getting my writing published by other entities– because I write every day and I share what I write with others, an audience. And I’m still continually perfecting my writing craft, or so I would like to believe, as I have always done.

But there’s something else that makes me sense that I’m a writer, along with the fact that I write every day for an audience. And I think it has to do with my drive to continually perfect my writing craft, along with my drive to arrange what I write in creative ways and forms.

I suppose what I’m saying is: I think what makes me a “writer” is not only my mechanical ability to write. But more than that, what makes me a writer is my internal drive to continually evolve and grow alongside my understanding of written language, as I establish and nurture my relationship with written language, as well as how I use and display it. And those things can’t happen if I don’t write on a regular basis with some type of audience in mind. Or if I am not able to be creative with what I write.

Succinctly put, a “writer” is someone who writes on a regular basis for an audience (even if that audience is only themselves) so that they may creatively demonstrate what they know and want to share regarding their relationship with what is and will be written.