You are a writer.
If every day you devote time to your craft;
If you systematically eliminate distractions so that you can focus on one thing;
If you burn with a desire to be better at your craft every moment—
Then you are a writer.
You do not need to be published. You do not need to have a crowd of admirers who attend to your every word. You only need two things:
To have stories burning inside you that demand expression,
And to release those stories with greater honesty and clarity every time you write.
The world does not need more cleverness, or more puns, or more surprises. The world needs the words only you can write, the frail things to which only you can give life with your passions and your love and your sorrow.
If you can give these things freely, expecting nothing in return but accepting that some people will despise you and tread roughly on your dreams;
if you can cast your words to the wind and let them fall where they may, each wrapped in its tiny whispered blessing, each carefully nurtured and prepared, marked with your fingerprint;
if you can find it in yourself to be satisfied with the privilege to enjoy those words and share them with others, and not bend those words to tickle any ears or drop praises to those willing to stoop and pick them up;
if you can live each day with the knowledge that you have no choice whether to write, that the words must escape as certainly as your breath must escape, that there is no alternative but the death of the mind, a demise far greater than the death of the body;
if you can see another’s words, less carefully composed and more liberally disseminated, treated with all the admiration you feel you deserve and know you lack, and train yourself to find the best in that other person’s work and wish them well, knowing the tide can rise just as it can fall;
if, in short, you can believe that there is something greater than you at work, a voice that ought to be heard above your own, and choose to spread that voice as honestly and as clearly as you are capable, without any regard as to what benefits you may derive from its sound —
Then you are, and shall always be, a writer. Not simply one who sells words, but one who thinks and feels and understands in words, who would rather live without bed, or roof, or meal than douse those words that burn inside your bosom, because without them you would not know yourself.
This is a piece of what it means to be a writer, and this is the most honest way I can share it.