When Can You Call Yourself a Writer?

Thoughts on titles, qualifications and jobs.

April 30, 2013

Whether you are applying for a job or you are trying to brand yourself, you should find yourself a certain qualification. This is more crucial than ever in Germany, where an academic title and a clear description of your job is very important. For instance, if your title is “Writer” on your business card, you should explain what your writing is about, how many books you wrote, and how many are ready to be published. And, more specifically, what is your expertise to cover such a variety of topics, from institutional communications to history and foreign affairs? In other words, did you get the proper qualifications – to be read as certificates and examination after classes at a recognized university - that will give you enough credibility to sell your book to your readers?

However, outside the German-speaking space, the designations are easier and less debatable. As long as you write well-written books that sell, the variety of topics approached are part of the outstanding qualities of the writer who is able to update his or her knowledge on a specific topic accordingly, and acquire enough information that may go beyond the classical reproduction of the sources. When you successfully sell more than 100 copies each week, you don’t need to be the successful graduate of a school of literature. Your novel was good enough to be appreciated by the readers.

In my broad acceptance of the term, everyone able to produce original and quality writing on a topic can be considered an author. He or she can publish regular blog posts or cook books or articles on home affairs; the quality of being an author applies to all cases. Alternatively, it can also be a journalist working as a freelance or regular contributor to a specific media institution or website of syndicated news.

On the other hand, I will keep the title of writer for someone with a serious record of publishing in the domain of human sciences. According to my romantic acceptance of the term, a writer needs to be someone with less connection to reality but with bold wings for flying high in the clouds of imagination. His or her work can cover history as well, at least under the genres of memoirs or biographies, but more specifically it should be work of free imagination, as it is the case of novels or poetry.

Can a writer be a blogger or a journalist too? Of course, and this happens regularly with many talented writers who also want to keep one foot strongly in the world of the 2.0 realities. But those contributions are done from the position of the writer descending into the public space. It does not mean that the writer has more experience than the average citizen in the life of the city and many examples from more recent history have proven the opposite. However, with the power of the words, a writer can shake unjust and corrupt governments better through the messages of the books than the public discourses. This is part of the magic art of the genuine writer.

Berlin, Germany

Ana Dinescu is a regular contributor to University of Venus and a journalist for ten years for Romanian daily newspapers and is currently a communications consultant, living in Berlin.


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