In church this morning, the sermon was based on translation and interpretation. Specifically, it looked at the translations of Mark 1:16-20, in which Jesus calls Simon, Andrew, James, and John to stop fishing and follow him. The two translations varied in whether Jesus tells them "Follow me and you will fish for men" or "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men" (the first is not an exact quote, just from my faulty memory).
The difference in the two? A matter of identity. Were they going to be performing an action, or were they going to become something new and different? The minister expanded with a few examples, such as dancing. Pretty much everyone can dance, but relatively few people are dancers. We can run, but many of us have never been (and will never be) runners.
As I listened, my thoughts turned to writing. Anyone can write. We all do it from time to time. Anyone can tell a story, though many people have trouble if asked to create an original one. But is someone who write stories a writer, or does that involve something more? More importantly, how do we see ourselves?
When someone asks you what you do (for work or for fun), do you say, "I write books," or "I am a writer." I think there is a difference, and a crucial one. If you write books, stories, screenplays, or whatever else, that is wonderful. But does that make you a writer? No. You are only a writer if you believe you are a writer. If you know you are a writer. Until you know you are a writer, you are just someone who writes. And if that is what you want, let no tell you that is a bad thing.
But if you want to be a writer, don't just write, BE a writer.