How many words must a writer write before they become a writer?


WARNING:  This post is more about questions than answers. So be prepared to be confused or if you’re not confused, then be prepared to leave comments so I can become unconfused!

To borrow the format of an old old song, how many words must a writer write before he/she becomes a writer? That is the question of the day.

I recently had my fourth book released PURSUED, and only now can I look people in the eye and say, “I’m a writer.” This is my first book published by a “traditional” publishing company. I self-published my first book, then had two published by a POD publisher. For me, I didn’t feel like I was a writer until I’d been validated by a traditional publisher, but that’s just me.

I know there are plenty of writers out there who haven’t even completed a book but they have no problem telling others they are a writer. And far be it from me to disagree with them.

Does a person become a writer as soon as they decide to become a writer? After they’ve written the first word, first paragraph, or finished their first book? Maybe, they don’t become a “real writer” until they’ve published a book?

Mmm. That could be a good definition. A person becomes a writer after they’ve published a book. Really? But published how? With new technology and ebooks, the lines of being published have quickly become blurred.

And what about all the newspaper and magazine writers not to mention all the bloggers. Aren’t they writers? There must literally be millions of people out there blogging and many of them spend a great deal of time and effort getting it right. (Someone probably knows the number but I don’t.)

Speaking of blogs, why don’t you take a minute to hop over to the sidebar and subscribe to this blog. I promise you won’t be inundated with posts in your mailbox. I plan to blog no more than once per week, and much more likely 2 or 3 times per month—if that. 

So, back from the commercial and back to the question at hand.

First, I think it’s fair to say there is a difference between being a writer and an author. A writer might write books, articles, blogs….but an author writes books.

Yikes!! Don’t yell at me! Let’s see what the dictionary says. says an author is a person who writes a novel, a poem, or other written work.  Another definition is the maker of anything, the creator of anything.  Mmm. That would include blogs and magazine and newspaper articles.

I don’t see anything in the definition that you are only an author if your writing makes money, or if your book becomes a bestseller, or if everyone knows your name, or even if a publisher decides you are a writer.

Gosh, maybe I was a writer all along and just didn’t know it. To learn more about Lillian and her writing visit:

Don’t forget about my new book, PURSUED ( Guaranteed to keep you up past your bedtime!

Reggie Meyers has spent her life pursing the American Dream, but now she’s the one being pursued— by an unknown killer. Putting her trust in Dylan Monroe, a man she barely knows, will either be the best decision she ever made or the last.

What’s your opinion? When does a person become a writer?

God Bless and Good Reading! Lil


8 thoughts on “How many words must a writer write before they become a writer?

  1. Very interesting topic. I hardly dare comment because I don’t knwo the answer and don’t care. 🙂 Maybe it’s in the eye of the beholder. I am writing because God pushed me into it. Never thought of it. Wrote a 100,000 word novel,then said now what. 🙂 Now, I’m learning to write at ACFW. I treat it like a second full-time job. Is it possible God has determined we are writers if He has chosen us a vessels to pen His words. 🙂

  2. Hmmm….I have probably had different thoughts on this over the course of my life, but I would say it has no bearing on publication. To me, you become a writer when you make the life sacrifices necessary to spend a good chunk of your non-day job life writing books. Because it is no small sacrifice. Someone who is not writer minded is NOT going to make the life-changes necessary to do it because it is extremely demanding and frequently disheartening.

    The reason I would not tie it to publication is because publication is extraneous and out of the author’s control. They may write the most wonderful book in the world but it may not be published just because the publisher has already published four similar that year. All that speaks to is market forces–not the writer’s state of mind. 😎

    • You’re right, Brenda. Being a writer means a time sacrifice in your life. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent sitting at my computer writing. And I agree that published or not, all those hours of sacrifice definitely makes a person a writer. Good points.

  3. This question seems to be unique to writers and chefs. My husband fixes the toilet or a leaky sink but doesn’t call himself a plumber. Now will you hear anyone changing a lightbulb call himself an electrician.

    My daughter studied long and hard to become a certified chef and resents how loosely the word chef is used today.

    I didn’t say I was a writer until I published my second book. I feared my first book was a fluke. I did say I liked to write–big difference. I worked long and hard to become a writer, but in the kitchen I’m just a cook.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s