No More Aspiring, Dingbats

A word from author Chuck Wendig:

No more aspiring, dingbats. Here are the two states in which you may exist: person who writes, or person who does not. If you write: you are a writer. If you do not write: you are not. Aspiring is a meaningless null state that romanticizes Not Writing. It’s as ludicrous as saying, “I aspire to pick up that piece of paper that fell on the floor.” Either pick it up or don’t.

As a former self-described aspirer, this hurts. And when I say it hurts, don’t think pinprick – think hot coffee to the face. It scalds. Truth has a way of doing that.

So I want to pass this on to any readers who may be laboring under the impression that they can’t call themselves writers until they’ve a) published a book or b) won a Pulitzer Prize or c) made the New York Times bestseller list. It’s all rubbish. Now buck up.

Writers write. So do it. Aspiring is for people who want to have written.

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9 thoughts on “No More Aspiring, Dingbats”

  1. I think there is a bit of equivocation going on here. If I write out my grocery list, I am, technically speaking, a “writer.” One who writes. But when people speak of being an “aspiring writer,” they generally mean that they aspire to write for publication. To do that requires that you actually persuade someone to pay you for writing, and that, of course, is where the aspiring comes in. I’m not a young man, and I’ve been writing things all my life. I have a web site that is full of material written by me. I’ve had a few things published over the years. But I’ve never been paid for anything I’ve written. Am I a writer, or an “aspiring” writer?

    1. Come now, Tom. I think it’s clear that no one is talking about grocery lists here. :) For further clarification, you can read Wendig’s article here. I didn’t link to it originally because much of it is disappointingly crude, but maybe it will make the intention of his contention clearer for you. :)

      “… when people speak of being an ‘aspiring writer,’ they generally mean that they aspire to write for publication.”

      But that’s not what they’re actually saying, whether they realize it or not. What they ought to be saying is that they aspire to be published writers.

      And to answer your question: “I have a web site that is full of material written by me. I’ve had a few things published over the years. But I’ve never been paid for anything I’ve written. Am I a writer, or an ‘aspiring’ writer?”

      You’re a writer. No two ways about it. And you’re aspiring to be paid for it. :)

  2. I love this! :) Kinda made me think of this quote from Napoeleon of Notting Hill: “It is too often forgotten that just as a bad man is nevertheless a man, so a bad poet is nevertheless a poet.”

  3. Even better is to say, “I respire to write!”
    Or as Augustine put it, “I profess to be one of those who, by profiting, write, and by writing profit.”

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