What defines a writer – being someone who writes?

I encountered this Thought Catalog piece piece via one of the Tumblrs I follow. I liked some of it, and thought some of it was snobby, elitist BS. I’ll share a few quotes and my reactions to them; you may want to go read the whole thing before you weigh in with your own. (Emphasis added in certain places.)

photo by Caitlinator on Flickr

The Difference Between A Writer And Someone Who Writes « Thought Catalog

“A writer is not just someone who writes. In her head, it’s words all day. She sees the world not as a place made up of things but of words about those things.” Yes.

“A writer’s mind is sticky, cavernous… In the infancy of the day, or as it’s expelling its final breath, an errant phrase will show up there unannounced and become lodged in some furrow.” Yes.

Someone who writes writes from a place of common experience in a common language, beleaguered by tired phrases and obvious similes…” “Someone who writes writes as herself. A writer’s voice, on the other hand, is chameleon-like.” Eh, maybe. I think that may depend on what and where the writer is writing. One the one hand, a writer of fiction must convincingly convey the voice of a character, but some writers can do that while retaining a consistent, distinctive voice that’s clearly their own. On the other hand, writers of personal narrative nonfiction write as themselves almost by definition.

Someone who writes understands writing in terms of something she does, not in terms of something she is.” The implication, of course, is that a writer understands writing as “something she is”…and that this is the superior understanding. Says who?


“A blogger writes for the Facebook share; a writer writes for mind share.” Excuse me? This is where my “snobby, elitist BS” alarm went off. The implication, again, is that the blogger is “someone who writes”…and, therefore, is lesser than a “writer.”
I can concede that there may be a genuine difference between “a writer” and “someone who writes,” and that the difference might be defined as this piece suggests. I might also suggest that there are also people who fit the definition of “writers,” but don’t write, and in this context, I am not sure what that makes them. Maybe I’m being oversensitive. But as someone who tends to see herself as both “someone who writes” and a “writer” – sometimes at the same time, sometimes more one than the other, mostly on a blog (or two), and very rarely for any tangible reward – I have to admit that I take some exception to the tone of this piece. 
I’m reasonably certain the person who wrote that piece defines herself as “a writer” rather than “someone who writes.” Do you write? Are you a writer? What do you think?

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