Welcome to Writing On Writing, where we explore everything it means to be a writer in the modern age. While my writing focusses on non-fiction, I believe many of the same processes and methods also apply to fiction writing. Everyone who writes has a different purpose and motivation for doing so, but perhaps it all boils down to one common denominator – to be heard and express our thoughts. Does business writing in all its forms fall into this category? Maybe not explicitly, but it is still a way to pay the bills by helping businesses express their thoughts on topics specific to them. Looking at you car manuals.

Water trickling out of hose into large bucketEither way, writing for ourselves or others can be an interesting, intimidating, and intimate process. Sometimes you open the tap and it flows out like a graceful waterfall with every drop landing in perfect synch with each other. Other times, like this intro, it comes sputtering out, similar to when you turn the garden hose on for the first time in the spring and all you get is dribbles and gasps and a lot of bursts of stale air. No matter how it comes from the source, it is our job as writers to take all that thought water and present it to our audience in a thoughtful and coherent way. And that – that is the real work.

I began this series of articles not as a cohesive whole, but as a sort of sounding board for myself. Boy in glasses looking confused After deciding hey, I think I should make a go of this writing thing I sat down at the computer and thought, hmmmm. Now what? What am I actually supposed to write about? Well, I wrote about what to write about. And how to write. And what it means to write. How different people write. And why people even bother writing in the first place.

Across the series we’ll discover:Collage of writing instruments and methods

  • What drives someone to write
  • Who can call themselves a writer
  • What does it mean to be a writer 
  • Who is qualified to be a writer
  • What qualifies someone to be called a writer
  • How writing compares to other creative disciplines
  • The differing purposes people have for writing
  • Where do we get the motivation to write 


Ah yes, the first piece I wrote after years away from the practice. It’s not like I didn’t have the ideas of what to write floating around my head, but they either withered away or expressed themselves in different ways. Twitter, Snapchat, you were so good to me. 

Here I present more questions than anything else as I walk myself through the process of the initial ideas of what it means to be a writer, and why anyone even writes in the first place. 

It’s more of a stream of consciousness than a structured piece, but I believe it is a very valid, and valuable, jumping off point for both myself, and anybody toying with the idea of beginning either a writing career or a writing hobby. 

what's in it

  • What drives someone to write in the first place.
  • Is writing really a masochistic exercise in self tourture?
  • You want to write? Great. What are you going to write about?
  • About 47 questions left unanswered.

who we can call a writer

When you decide to become a freelance, or any type of, writer, one of the main struggles is how to place yourself in the arena of “writers.” It’s the same as any job – how can I become “X” when I don’t have any real-world experience with “X”?

For myself, I had been away from writing for so long and didn’t know what to start writing about, so the easiest thing was to start writing about what to write. Which led down the road to what it even means to be a writer. 

Where can we gain the qualifications to be considered a writer? Do we even need these qualifications in the first place? Any qualifications we come up with, either real of perceived, are probably more important to ourselves than to anyone else. Except maybe to Judgey McJudgerson writer types.

what's in it

  • What qualifies someone to be called a writer?
  • The importance of a writing degree. Or not.
  • Doing versus observing to gather the information for your content.
  • Money and its place in the definition of being a writer.