Writing Phrase I Hate


There’s a phrase I keep seeing over and over again, and it’s one I really hate because of the implied put down.

Worse, I don’t think writers realize it is a put down.

The phrase is…

“Aspiring author.”

It means longs for, desires to be, aims for.

Yet, if you write, you’re already a writer.  So this is somehow managing to say that even if you write you’re not really a writer.  I just saw it on an article about a writer who wrote two books and was called aspiring.

Just walking away and trying not to cringe.  As Bob Meyer said to me, there are so many people ready to put you down.  There’s no need to do it to yourself.

3 thoughts on “Writing Phrase I Hate

  1. Harvey Stanbrough

    Hmmm. I take your point, and it reminds me of a definition: A writer is one who writes; an author is one who has written. Perhaps an “aspiring writer” is one who talks about writing and thinks about writing but never gets around to putting words on the page.

    The upshot of the definition is that the writer continues to write, whereas the author, having written, stops writing and focuses on marketing what s/he’s already written. Often for years.

    I can’t say I ever aspired to be a writer, and I definitely never aspired to be an author. But I have aspired to be a “professional” writer. By my definition (for me) that’s a writer who continues to learn and apply the craft and who makes the leap to publication.

    And I still spire to be a “successful” professional writer, defined (again, by me, for me) as one who makes the majority of his living from licensing what he’s written.

    Meh. My two cents.

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  2. I think I dropped the “aspiring” in author the second I self-published a short story 😁 The moniker felt passive and I am actively working towards a writing career! I am not only aspiring, I am working my butt off 😝

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    1. Passive is a good way to describe it. Particularly bothers me when I see it on calls for manuscripts. It’s very clear who the magazine is targeting, and they usually have poor guidelines (i.e., no rights).

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