When did YOU become a Writer?

Besty Morais, of the Atlantic, wrote a great article in November entitled, ‘When Does a Writer Become a Writer?’  In it she quotes France’s 2011 Prix Goncourt award winner, Alexis Jenni, saying:

 “I didn’t even think that I would be published, so I could hardly dream of the Goncourt. I was a little resigned to anonymity.”

Jenni is a science teacher at Le Lycee Saint Marc in Lyon, who has taught for 20 years and is a self-admitted ‘Sunday writer’.  He has no plans on retiring in the face of his success.  He just wants to keep doing what he likes doing.  In this case, writing and teaching.

Did the award make Jenni a writer? No, a simple desire to express himself accomplished that feat.

In the Alexis Jenni school of thought, a writer may be someone, anyone, with a compulsion to scrawl or the conviction of having something to say. A writer is not defined by his career, but the simple act of writing regularly. And authors who found success through the muck of making ends meet have taken that approach for some time now, in practice at least.

I became a writer when I made a commitment to myself to embrace and honor my creativity.  Do I hope to be published? Absolutely. Will it kill me to be obscure?  Not really.  I have a full life and am busy living it.

The ups, downs and twirling-swirls of my life keep me engaged, curious and creative. I admire people like Alexis Jenni.

I’ve said it before – Just Do It!  The rest will come.



  • I think I started feeling like a writer when I fell into a regular writing routine. I’m not saying I’m ready to flaunt myself as a writer but I take what I do seriously now.

    I always wish I had more time to write, because I work full-time and I’m busy squeezing in everything else in my spare time, but it makes me manage my time better. I look forward to the times I can sneak away to write.

    • I’m always looking for someone to help me manipulate the space/time continuum to give me more time to write. Carving out the time is half the battle. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

  • Had to tweet this post! 🙂 A very meaningful message that every writer should know. I’ve therefore been a writer since I was… 9! or mainly 11 because I stopped when I was 10 but began writing again after a year.

    • Thanks for Tweeting! 🙂 Writing it is our expression. For some it’s art, some it’s math, some it’s organization. For us? Writing.

  • I have been a writer for as long as i can remember, and with age and time my writing has become more refined and much more interesting.. Very cool post.. 🙂

    • Thanks! I loved Jenni’s outlook.

  • Those were some nice quotes. I agree that it is very hard to define a writer. I personally tend to think of people as writers when they are professional writers (earn money from it). This is simply because I would never define someone who plays tennis two times a week with his or her friends a tennis player – though I would call him a tennis player in terms of hobby activity.

    I guess such definitions don’t really matter. What truly matters is whether a person, who writes, can touch the heart of another with pure words. That is what really makes a writer.

    • ‘Pure words’ I like that.

  • I always did well in school with creative writing. And my teachers always said I was a good writer. But I never thought of myself as one until 2009, when the Muse finally let me set down a story that was in my head. Even though nothing creative is published yet, I do feel like I am a writer.

    • It’s drive and desire to do something, with only the possibility of personal fulfillment. That is what allows us to become what we dream of.

  • Love this post, and all the comments. Robin

    • Thank you my friend! 🙂

  • I am now 60. Finally I call myself a writer. I cannot say Poet yet. At every juncture since childhood, I wrote. Words, poems and prayers just spilled over, out and through my heart and soul. Later in life I was published. I call myself “someone compelled to pour words into form and expression” or burst! I always have a pen and at least a napkin to write on! You never know when comes the “Flow”!

    • Truth be told, Writing is my thing. I have odd poetic moments that confuse me. 🙂 Our experiences give weight to our stories and thoughts. Thanks for dropping by.

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