Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

I am NOT an aspiring author!

Repeat after me.

I am NOT an aspiring author. I am NOT an aspiring creative person. I am NOT an aspiring artist. If you don’t write or paint or do anything creative, stick in whatever word is most appropriate.

We hear it all the time. Oh, you’re an aspiring author. Isn’t that nice? [read with a snarky tone]

But really that word “aspiring” is a little wishy-washy, don’t you think? It’s wimpy, full of dreams and wishes, but nothing tangible.

“Aspiring” belies the work involved.

Do you sit in your chair and string words together? Do you build worlds and create characters and imagine dialogue? Do you write and write and write and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite? Do you edit and proof read until you practically have your manuscript memorized? Do you take classes, read hundreds of books and articles about the craft of writing, attend conferences? Do you read books in your genre and study how other authors handle dialogue, conflict, suspense? Do you connect with other writers either face to face or online? Do you do the work?

Because if you are doing the work, you are a writer already. There is no aspiration.

We need to strike that word from our vocabulary when we are describing what we do, who we are. As Kristen Lamb wrote in her blog last week, “I despise the term ‘aspiring writer.’ We don’t “aspire” to get out of the chair. Either we sit or we stand. We choose and no one can make that decision but us. I prefer the term “pre-published” writer, because this makes us accountable and shifts our thinking.”

How eye-opening is that!?

We need to own our work, whether it is out there in the great big world already or still hidden on our computers. Own what we spend so many hours doing. If you are doing the work, you are a writer.

Scary, isn’t it?

But it is our fear of rejection that makes us tack on that mamby-pamby “aspiring.” If we are only aspiring to write, we aren’t really serious about it, right? So no one else will take it very seriously. And it will never be more and we will never have to face the possibility of putting our work out there and having it rejected.

Now maybe you are like me and you get a little fluttery in the stomach when you say those words out loud. “I am an author.” I have gone from thinking it must be nausea to thinking it is more likebutterflies and excitement. I am living proof that the more you say it out loud and to others, the easier those words are to get out.

I no longer even qualify it with “pre-published.” I may never be published, but I am still an author.

I used to aspire to be a writer, but then one day I picked up a pen and a blank book and started putting the words down. I turned on the computer and opened a new document and started letting the words come out. I started writing and I went from an aspiring writer who didn’t write to a writer. Then I started to write stories, and I became an author.

Thank you, Kristen Lamb, for opening my eyes to the damage I have been doing to my dream by using the word “aspiring” to describe it. This was such a revelation to me that I want to run to the rooftops and shout it at the top of my lungs – “I am NOT an aspiring author!” I will yell it so loud that others like me will join in. We will own our writing and our words will spill all over the world.

For more on this, please read Kristen Lamb’s always inspiring blog, Warrior Writers – Journey from Aspiring Dreamer to Hardened Professional Author.


  1. How we view ourselves is SO critical. “Aspiring” is a dangerous word in our vocabulary. Thanks for the shot-out!

    • Welcome to my little corner of the universe, Kristen! Looking forward to WANACON!

  2. julipagemorgan

    Excellent blog, Cheryl! You ARE an author! 🙂

    • Thank you! I have been practicing saying it out loud. 🙂

  3. Gede Prama

    And I love all the posts in this blog really interesting touch words, thank you friend 🙂

    • Wow! Thank you Gede for such kind words. 🙂

  4. Brilliant post! I’ll have to change bup my profile now. 🙂

    • Yes you will! No “aspiring” allowed. 🙂 own it!!

  5. Finally. I was so sick of hearing you refer to yourself as a pre-published author! You are amazing.

  6. I loved this post! I use to call myself an “aspiring writer” But ever since I finished writing my first draft of my first novel I’m learning to call myself a writer and hopefully soon to call myself an author!
    Great Post! 🙂

    • Oh but you are an author. You just are not a published author… yet. 🙂

  7. Hi Cheryl it is so good to have you back. Your blog posts motivate me so much. Thanks honey!

    • Thank you, Bee!! It feels good to be back. 🙂

  8. Hi Cheryl you know what? Your blog post had a funny impact on my writing. Whenever I was about to write “aspiring author” I thought about you and chose another expression. The one I like the most right now is “apprentice writer” 🙂

    • Oh Bee! It feels great to know my post resonated with you, a fellow writer! 🙂 NOT aspiring at all but doing!!

  9. This was eye opening! I have to go check my “About” page – it may say aspiring there! I stopped by to thank you for following Benzeknees & got a lot more! Thank you!

    • Oh thank you. So glad you liked the post. 🙂


  1. Happy Blog-Day To Me! | Catching Fireflies
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