Writing And Publishing Are Two Different Things

by Randy Murray on November 6, 2013

“I’m not a writer. I haven’t published anything!”

You may or may not be a writer, but publishing doesn’t have anything to do with it. Writers write. Period.

The ease of publishing online confuses the matter. Almost anyone with a little time can set up a blog and hit publish. That doesn’t make them a writer. Frankly, that doesn’t even make you a publisher. Writing makes you a writer. It doesn’t make you a good writer. Publishing bad writing still doesn’t make you a good writer. Getting paid doesn’t make you a good writer.

Writing is work. It is a craft. To become a good writer you will need devotion, training, and lots and lots of practice. Do those things and you can become a very good writer. If you never publish a word that doesn’t change the fact that you are a writer.

On the other hand, go into a bookstore and pick up virtually any autobiography by a celebrity, politician, or sports star. Are these people writers because they have a published book? Probably not. Almost every autobiography or topical book by a celebrity is ghostwritten by someone like me. The celebrity isn’t a writer—they are a brand name, a part of the packaging. The writer, the ghost, remains unseen. But that person is very much a writer. They are just unknown.

To be a writer, you must write. And I urge you to write and NOT publish until you get some of the bad writing out of the way. Practice. Get better. Find a voice. Create something to say.

And then, perhaps, publish.

Until then, write.

If you need help staying motivated, if you need a not so gentle reminder to write, please subscribe to my new email newsletter, The Writer’s Whip.

Writing And Publishing Are Two Different Things by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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