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KCathy
01-28-2007, 06:40 AM
I'm still a rank newbie/wannabe with nothing but a handful of published articles and an unsold book proposal under my belt. Even so, I'm already hearing "I've always dreamed of writing" from everyone to whom I sheepishly admit what I'm doing. I can't imagine how often real writers like many of you must hear it. The people who tell me that never seem to actually do anything to reach their dreams, though.

It seems to me like the difference between a pipe dream and a realistic goal, no matter what the goal or where you start, is a workable plan and the willingness to work your tookus off to achieve it. I'm sure there's a lot more to it, though, and I would love to learn from your depth of experience. What do you think separates the writers from the wannabes?

limitedtimeauthor
01-28-2007, 07:01 AM
How can I tell a real writer from a wannabe?

Well, when someone finds out I get paid to write or that I've been published, and they say "I've always wanted to do that," a wannabe will drift off to sleep while I give them my enthusiastic "How I First Got Published" story. LOL.

I'm quite sure a real writer will listen with rapt attention, maybe even break out a notebook to jot down things I say. I don't know though, because I've yet to have that happen - except here on these forums!

But I also look at it another way: I'm a wannabe novelist, because I have yet to finish a novel. But I'm not a wannabe writer. I write.

ltd.

Anonymisty
01-28-2007, 07:28 AM
What do you think separates the writers from the wannabes?

Wannabe writers
- wish they could write but never have the time
- have a great idea all plotted out in their heads, but just can't figure out how to put it on paper
- plan to write someday

Writers write.

Honestly, that's pretty much it.

Histry Nerd
01-28-2007, 07:30 AM
Welcome, KCathy. My wife is fond of saying a plan is the difference between a dream and a goal (to the kids, of course--never to me. Really!). Sounds like you are already miles ahead of those wannabes.

The pat answer, the one you'll hear over and over if you spend time on these boards, the super-duper secret formula you have to know the secret handshake to learn, is this:

A writer writes.

That's it.

Doggone it! I let the cat out of the bag again. Listen--when the black helicopters show up, just tell them you don't know anything.

Seriously, though, that's all there is. Write every day, or five days a week, or one day a week, or whatever. Write because you want to, with an eye to improving your skills and putting things on paper that people who don't know you will want to read. Just that makes you a writer and not a wannabe. Getting published, of course, could be a whole different ball of wax. But it sounds like you've already got a pretty good start at that, too. Sounds like you don't have much to worry about.

Now, just make sure the guys in the black helicopters catch you watching TV, or playing a video game or something. They'll never suspect.

HN

Lyra Jean
01-28-2007, 07:39 AM
wannabes talk about writing or they write but they don't care about improving their skills. Something along the lines of "my words are golden" syndrome.

Writers write and write to improve their skills.

Silver King
01-28-2007, 07:44 AM
A writer writes.

That's it.
There are no more perfect words than these. It's the beginning, middle and end.

What better advice can anyone need?

ATP
01-28-2007, 10:53 AM
Sorry. There are actually intermediate 'steps', if you will.

A wannabe is one who merely talks about doing it, whatever 'it' maybe.

A writer is one who writes.

A paid writer is one who is published (generally not self-published) - and is probably what is termed a 'mid-list' writer/author.

A paid, recognised writer is one who is one who is paid, probably paid very handsomely, and produces a number of books (NF or fiction), that are published and perhaps reprinted by one of the big publishing houses, and/or attract and develop an audience and following. For novelists, usually the likes of a Grisham or Rowling, and in NF, the likes of a Hawking or a Peters.

Sean D. Schaffer
01-28-2007, 10:51 PM
I'm still a rank newbie/wannabe with nothing but a handful of published articles and an unsold book proposal under my belt.

...Snipped.


If you're actually published, I rather doubt you're a wannabe.

In fact, I would wager to say a wannabe is someone who doesn't take their writing seriously. I was a wannabe, for example, until a couple days ago, because I never took the business of writing seriously. Only now have I begun to take my writing as more than a hobby.

So the fact you're taking your writing serious enough to get articles published and work toward the goal of a book proposal, tells me you're definitely not a wannabe.

virtue_summer
01-29-2007, 01:51 AM
A writer puts the words down on paper. Seriously, this reminds me of a friend I had in high school. She'd come up with all these elaborate ideas for stories and talk your ear off about the characters, the settings, etc. But she never wrote them down! Not one word made it from her head onto the paper. That's a wannabe. She wanted to be a writer. She daydreamed about it and planned all this stuff out, but she didn't do it. That's the difference. It's not just the planning and setting the goal, it's doing the work to reach it.

CheshireCat
01-29-2007, 02:24 AM
A wannabe talks a lot about writing. A wannabe has loads of ideas or, conversely, One Huge Idea That Everyone Will Want to Read. A wannabe expects others farther along the path to make it easy for him/her by sharing info and contacts and experience right now, this very minute, hurry up now, because they can't be bothered to look things up and figure things out for themselves.

A writer writes. A writer applies butt to chair and fingers to keys or pen or pencil and writes. A lot.

Del
01-29-2007, 02:27 AM
Effort.

victoriastrauss
01-29-2007, 02:33 AM
I hate the word "wannabe." It's so dismissive and insulting. For instance, check how it's used here (http://agentsoutlook.blogspot.com/)--basically, to apply to all aspiring writers, even those who write. I try to keep "wannabe" out of my vocabulary entirely.

- Victoria

KCathy
01-29-2007, 02:57 AM
Oh, I didn't mean to offend. I hadn't thought of it as an insulting term. I'd be happy to modify that to "writers and people who want to be writers but aren't." Would that work, or do I still sound too wise-ass about it? I spent 15 years (hey, I started young) talking about being a writer someday before I actually began studying the process and sitting my butt down in front of a keyboard, so I don't mean this in a spiteful way. I ask because ten years from now I don't want to be a want-to-be, or worse yet, a wish-I-had.

Rolling Thunder
01-29-2007, 03:20 AM
If you write and submit work for publication I feel that is what defines a writer. Whether you get accepted or rejected for your efforts doesn't change that fact, as long as you make a continuing effort to write.

Some people have a burning desire to write but I'm not one of these types, at least not yet. I get an idea for a story and draft it out and then I might put it aside for a time. I could never be a freelancer or journalist. It's just not in me and I recognize that. But I keep going back to the stories I draft out and build on them, growing them from a few lines or a paragraph to a complete story.

I'll probably never make writing a full time career but I respect those who can clear that hurdle. It's a high bar to jump. I'll be happy to have a few short stories published every year and perhaps a novel or two someday. Then again, that first 'acceptance letter' might just be enough to turn up the flame and I'll feel the glow the more accomplished of this craft bask in.

Judg
01-29-2007, 05:15 AM
In my mind, to become a writer, you have to complete things. A file full of half-written stories does not a writer make.

To be a professional writer, you have to sell what you write.

This year I intend to become a writer. And if I am very lucky, a professional one. And if I am exceedingly lucky, a writer who makes a living at writing.

At this point, the most I would claim is being an aspiring writer.

In the past I was a musician and songwriter. I was never professional and had no aspiration to become professional, so I never entered it on a tax form. But I really played a real instrument, wrote and completed real songs and performed them with other real musicians and played them to real audiences. I wouldn't have called myself a musician while I was still learning to play, or a songwriter before I'd composed a song I was willing to play to an audience. I was still just aspiring... (is that a better term than wannabe?)

Silver King
01-29-2007, 05:43 AM
To be a professional writer, you have to sell what you write.
Maybe. And perhaps that's the benchmark.

But you can still write wonderfully without noted publication in your lifetime (Emily Dickenson) and paint timeless canvases that only your brother would buy (Van Gough).

Some people write without a strong desire for publication. I do.

Siddow
01-29-2007, 05:58 AM
To be a professional writer, you have to sell what you write.


I've been paid. To me, that's not enough to say, "I'm a pro."
I am, however, a writer. AND a wannabe.
I wannabe more.

Jamesaritchie
01-29-2007, 06:00 AM
What do you think separates the writers from the wannabes?

Wannabe writers talk about writing, and may even write every great once in a while, if the mood hits them, or if there's nothing else to do.

Gonnabe writers actually carve out time to write, no matter what. They have a goal, they have a solid work ethic, and they practice BIC almost daily.

A wannabe writer and a professional writer have nothing in common. A gonnabe writer is a professional writer who just hasn't been paid yet.

Dixie
01-29-2007, 06:17 AM
I have no idea if Im a real writer or a wannabe writer but I think Siddows post hit the nail on the head as well as Jamesaritchie's post.

I know I like to write, and I try to carve out time to do it everyday. Not just blogging, or goofing off on forums, but actually doing the act of writing; pen to paper. I have filled up a notebook over the last three to four weeks. Tomorrow I will go out and purchase another notebook. I don't know if I will ever be published and I honestly don't care if I am or if I'm not. I do know I want to get better at it regardless of who reads it or who doesn't.

So as Siddow said -

I wannabe more.

Silver King
01-29-2007, 06:18 AM
We can always introduce the I Don't Give a Shit Writer who doesn't care one way or another whether he's published or not or sending queries or talking to agents or whatever. He writes because he likes to. He's not trying to set the world on fire, yet strives to quell the flame of words in his soul.

limitedtimeauthor
01-29-2007, 07:41 AM
We can always introduce the I Don't Give a Shit Writer who doesn't care one way or another whether he's published or not or sending queries or talking to agents or whatever. He writes because he likes to. He's not trying to set the world on fire, yet strives to quell the flame of words in his soul.

I wannabe him (again).

But for now, I count my posts on AW as writing! :D But I know that's not the real idea. I should be ashamed of myself, I guess.:gone:

ltd.

Judg
01-29-2007, 09:32 AM
Maybe. And perhaps that's the benchmark.

But you can still write wonderfully without noted publication in your lifetime (Emily Dickenson) and paint timeless canvases that only your brother would buy (Van Gough).

Some people write without a strong desire for publication. I do.
That's why I threw in my little non-story about being a musician. I was that kind of musician, with no ambition to become a pro, but a real musician nonetheless. That's why I didn't say you had to publish to be a real writer. You do have to publish to be a professional writer.

I like James' term gonnabe. That's good.

EngineerTiger
01-30-2007, 01:34 AM
Then of course there are those of us who have been full-time, paid writers for more than 20 years. Many of us have never published a book or an article but someone (usually a company) pays a salary and benefits to us to write manuals, proposals, quality documents, etc. If you communicate to others via the written word (whether it is poetry, a blog, or a series of posts on a forum), you can consider yourself a writer. Think of writing as a craft. Those who TALK about GOING to write, as opposed to actually writing SOMETHING, are wannabes in my view. Those who are just getting their feet wet and have not yet EARNED payment for their writing are definitely writers but could be classed as apprentices.

thethinker42
01-30-2007, 02:28 AM
What do you think separates the writers from the wannabes?

One thing and one thing only: BIC.

KTC
01-30-2007, 03:07 AM
Real writers write.

End of story.

Any totem pole posturing is inconsequential. If you write, you are a writer.

ETA: 'wannabe' is someone who says they want to be something, but doesn't actually partake of the action of being it.

Shadow_Ferret
01-30-2007, 03:30 AM
I'm a wannabe.

And until the day when I actually have an agent and then a publishing contract and then an actually published novel, I will remain a wannabe.

Akuma
01-30-2007, 06:53 AM
I'm a wannabe.

And until the day when I actually have an agent and then a publishing contract and then an actually published novel, I will remain a wannabe.

Rubbish--that's all perception.

There was one American poet who wrote fantastically, but since in the time period she lived in, she would never show her work to anyone. Her work was found and published by her children after her death.

Despite her never being published during her life, she was still a writer nonetheless.

My intelligent observation would have more bearing if it weren't so vague and if I hadn't forgotten the poet's name...

janetbellinger
01-30-2007, 07:26 AM
Anybody who pushes a pen across a page is a writer. That cannot be taken away from you whether you ever get publsihed or not. The only question is whether you will become a published writer. A writer is a person who writes.

ATP
01-30-2007, 07:48 AM
Then of course there are those of us who have been full-time, paid writers for more than 20 years. Many of us have never published a book or an article but someone (usually a company) pays a salary and benefits to us to write manuals, proposals, quality documents, etc.

This is in keeping with my earlier post, in that there is a pragmatic & practical element, view or 'school' when it comes to writing. It is a profession, and is recognised by the fact one receives payment for it.This extends to those 'creatives' (eg.novelists) who do it for the same reason.

For whatever reason, some 'creatives' seem to have a romantic view of writing - they 'write for themselves', or for 'the muse'. I think that this needs be balanced with the popular perception of the starving writer (artist) in a garret. Some 'creatives' might not think much about money. But, if given the choice, I think that they would like to earn from their endeavors/labours, and even a very handsome sum.



If you communicate to others via the written word (whether it is poetry, a blog, or a series of posts on a forum), you can consider yourself a writer. Think of writing as a craft. Those who TALK about GOING to write, as opposed to actually writing SOMETHING, are wannabes in my view. Those who are just getting their feet wet and have not yet EARNED payment for their writing are definitely writers but could be classed as apprentices.

I think this puts it in perspective quite nicely.

Shadow_Ferret
01-30-2007, 08:17 AM
Rubbish--that's all perception.

There was one American poet who wrote fantastically, but since in the time period she lived in, she would never show her work to anyone. Her work was found and published by her children after her death.

Despite her never being published during her life, she was still a writer nonetheless.

My intelligent observation would have more bearing if it weren't so vague and if I hadn't forgotten the poet's name...


Well, it's my perception, isn't it? So how can it be rubbish? The question was addressed to each of us on what our definition was. I offered mine. I feel to be a writer I have to have had a novel published. Anything less and I'm just a wannabe.

And if I die unpublished, no matter how many novels I wrote, then I'll have died a never-was. If my kids get my stuff published, then I'll be a post-mortem writer. But in my lifetime, as long as I remain unpublished, I'll be a wannabe in my mind.

ATP
01-30-2007, 09:04 AM
Anybody who pushes a pen across a page is a writer. That cannot be taken away from you whether you ever get publsihed or not. The only question is whether you will become a published writer. A writer is a person who writes.

For some perspective, you might like to go to Google, and enter the following command - definition: writer.

I think that you will be surprised and intrigued at what you find.

Silver King
01-30-2007, 09:15 AM
You know, ATP, I love you. I really do. But sometimes, you come across as a wet rag. You know what I mean? You have a way of staunching a discussion unlike anyone else I've ever met on these boards.

sealy
01-30-2007, 10:52 AM
Grammar and punctuation? Maybe an outline?

Shadow_Ferret
01-30-2007, 05:13 PM
You know, ATP, I love you. I really do. But sometimes, you come across as a wet rag. You know what I mean? You have a way of staunching a discussion unlike anyone else I've ever met on these boards.
Now, I've not been historically following ATP's posts, but his idea to google didn't sound like a wet rag, it sounded like a contribution to this thread. I googled "definition: writer" and several dictionary responses came up that said, "one who writes, especially as an occupation" and "one who writes, or had written." Those sound like reasonable definitions to me.

Rolling Thunder
01-30-2007, 05:13 PM
For some perspective, you might like to go to Google, and enter the following command - definition: writer.

I think that you will be surprised and intrigued at what you find.

Noun1.http://img.tfd.com/dict/47/68FD8-writer.gifwriter - writes (books or stories or articles or the like) professionally (for pay)

But, then I checked a real dictionary, the printed variety:

Writer (n) 1.) A person who writes or is able to write. 2.) a person who's profession or business is writing: author 3.) (in Scots law) an attorney; lawyer.

So the spirit of the word is essentially how you look at its meaning from your own perspective. If I look at it from EnigineerTiger's perspective, I was a professional writer/illustrator years ago while I was employed to draw exploded view technical drawings/instructions and illustrated assembly literature for mechanical systems.

It's subjective. If you want to write and work at it, published or not, I respect that.

Higgins
02-05-2007, 11:01 PM
What do you think separates the writers from the wannabes?

Real wannabees have the inner toughness, the go-to-itiveness, the I'm-here-and-not-there guts and determination to just want to be what they are not at all.

For a real wannabee, that's enough of an achievement, and being satisfied with that is a start, even without going anywhere at all, or even getting started going anywhere. Because if you have the inner "I've-got-what-it-takes" to face the fact that you are more than happy to have gotten over not having started anything much...well then, there you are.

For a real wannabee, just going backward for a few days in time is a kind of progress: "My God!" he wants to exclaim, "This really is last Wednesday and I still haven't done a thing. I fact, I haven't even done what I did do because, that was Last Thursday. Well, I'm not disappointed because Thursday is tomorrow."

But he doesn't say that. Instead he wonders: "What if tomorrow is Tuesday?"

Then he thinks he will be forced to imagine himself saying: "Good grief, now its the Tuesday before last Wednesday. This is getting troublesome. At this rate it will take me three days to get to the week before last."

That's when you realize that all you have left is the guts to get up again and hope you are not traveling steadily backward in time.

Shara
02-05-2007, 11:47 PM
I agree with those that say 'writers write'.

I believe writers are born, not made. Writers are always writing, generally from being quite young children, usually starting out scribbling little stories in the back of school note books and some such. It may be that you didn't let anyone know at that point that you were doing this, but the urge to write has always been there.

You can't teach someone to be a writer. You can teach someone how to be a better writer - how to tighten up their use of language, structure plots and so forth, but you can't teach the urge to write, that's just there, within you.

Hence, there isn't really any such thing as a 'wannabe writer'. However, if you're talking about a 'wannabe novelist' - that's a different story.

Shara

C.bronco
02-05-2007, 11:50 PM
Wannabe writers
- wish they could write but never have the time
- have a great idea all plotted out in their heads, but just can't figure out how to put it on paper
- plan to write someday

Writers write.

Honestly, that's pretty much it.

Yep.

Have you worlds within you?" Shadowlands,Peter Straub