“Aspiring writer.” 

I was on Medium, trawling for something of worth and I saw those words five times in ten minutes on various user profile descriptions. And it annoyed me. Here’s why. 

In On Writing, Charles Bukowski describes the essence of a writer: “My idea of a writer is somebody who writes. Who sits at a typewriter and puts the words down. That would appear to be the essence. Not to teach others how, not to sit in seminars, not to read to the madding crowd.”

That’s why I was peeved by the people who labelled themselves “Aspiring writers.” By pounding out words on a keyboard, they were already achieving their aspirations. By giving concrete form to abstract concepts, they were already attaining their ambitions. Yet they didn’t even realise it. Which makes me sad. 

As a culture, we confuse the label with the activity, the outcome with the process. We mistakenly assume that having-done is the same as doing. It isn’t.