Can’t pay your essential living costs from your writing? You are not a Writer! Working two jobs to pay your bills and barely able to afford a canvas? You’re not an Artist! Does your photography pay your rent, utilities, and everything else you need? No? You’re no Photographer!
I once had a discussion online with someone who felt very strongly that you cannot call yourself a “professional title” unless you are being gainfully employed or making a successful, living income from your choice of career. If you are not able to support yourself and your family and you dare call yourself one of these professional titles, then you are infringing on the rights of those who really “are” professionals and showing disrespect for all the time, money, and effort they have put into being “serious” about their career.
You cannot claim to be the following “unless you are successfully making enough income to provide a living for yourself.”
This was very important to the “Photographer” who made the argument. He himself was barely finding any viable work with his photography. He was beginning to find some work though. Little droplets of cash flow here and there. Not enough to live off of, but there’s a whole ‘nother argument there.
I was young at the time, (well, I’m still young *cough cough*), and didn’t realize what a pointless battle I was getting myself into. Titles did not mean anything to me. Slap a label on me, go ahead! Everyone else does. *Bends over and points at her arse-end* Yeah, slap that sticker right there. Words however did mean something to me. I couldn’t argue labels, but I could argue definitions.
It amused me to grab the dictionary and list the definitions set by Merriam-Webster to show the even younger man that his so called “open mind” had some awfully large blinders blocking most of his view!
This was nearly 10 years ago. I don’t know where the young man is now. Last I knew he wasn’t in a good place. As I’ve struggled with my own self-confidence and self-esteem, breaking down and calling myself a “writer” was hard as I didn’t feel worthy. Maybe his view wriggled in through some crack and laid eggs? I don’t know.
I do know that I didn’t think for a long time that I deserved the title of writer.
Yes. That has changed. (Later. I promise I’ll tell you why.)
Am I a “good” writer? *shrugs* That’s all up to you to decide. However, being “good” doesn’t really define the word “writer” though, does it?
What do you think?