I read several message boards devoted to the freelance writing profession. I see posts way too frequently by people sadly declaring they aren’t real writers because “all” they do is content writing. It strikes a nerve with me every single time. I want to shout, “Yes, you are a real writer! Stop putting yourself down professionally! And stop putting the rest of us content writers down while you’re at it!”
So what does a person have to do to qualify as a “real” writer? There are just two factors: are you real, and do you write?
Are you real?
By this I mean, are you an actual living, breathing person as opposed to a fictional character? I’m assuming you’re real if you’re reading this. Most fictional characters have way cooler things to do with their time than wallow around wishing they were real. On the other hand, I’m sure Snoopy would compose a thoughtfully crafted response on his typewriter explaining that even though he is a cartoon dog, he is indeed a real writer.
Do you write?
It doesn’t matter what you write. Just the act of writing makes you a writer. Even if you write:
- Country songs
- hair dryer instruction manuals
- greeting cards
- blog posts
- fan fiction
- or anything else!
It doesn’t matter if your work is published or even if anyone else has ever laid eyes on it. It also doesn’t matter if you’re paid for it. If you write, you’re a writer.
I’m a real writer and so are you.
I’ve noticed many misconceptions about writers who work for content services, including that it doesn’t take much effort and is something only beginners should consider. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Successful content writers have a well-rounded skill set. We research and write about a wide variety of topics, filing way the random tidbits of information we learn for later use. We are asked to mimic the voice of an unknown client based on very little information and write in a way that is consistent with work produced by other writers. We are often expected to churn out articles that are factual, relevant, grammatically correct and adhere to strict style guidelines within hours of accepting an assignment.
Content isn’t the only type of writing I pursue. My blog receives around a thousand visitors a day. I’ve had articles published in parenting magazines across the US and Canada. I write for several adoption advocacy organizations. I don’t consider these outlets any more or less “real” than content writing.
I often write for many more hours in the day than I sleep and am frequently paid for my work. I’m real and I write. I’m a real writer.
Are you someone who is both real and a writer? If so, you’re a real writer, too. Actually, let’s drop the real. We’re writers, plain and simple. Accept the title. You deserve it.
Rachael M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.