Are you sure you are a writer?

Adele Aava
3 min readMar 7, 2022
photo by Pexels

By Adele Aava

As stupid as it might sound, I have been preoccupied for a long time to find the right answer to this: Am I really a writer?

A lot of people write and a lot of them write well, but not anyone who writes is a writer.

There are plenty of sense and nonsense on how to write, how to start a writing career, how to set a writing routine and so on; yet the more you explore, the less useful and practical stuff you find to read and enjoy.

Thanks to such platforms as Medium, many writing fans have been given the chance to develop their own appreciative audience, write and be read for a living, as a side hustle or even as a full-time job. This advantage however, seems to be working as a downside, since plenty of disposable material have wormed their way in, making it more difficult and time consuming for the committed reader to find good quality articles to read.

Seems like everyone is around prattling about how they started their day, fed their pet, or how much easy money the same inconsequential stuff earned them; No wonder Donald Trump wins his way through presidency!

My work experience as a translator though, taught me a lot considering the audience, since it is as much common among those who know a foreign language, to be under the impression that they can be translators, as it is among the writing community and its false writers.

When I first embarked upon literary translation as a job, everything seemed quite easy and under control. Actually, things were going on quite smoothly, before the old-hand editor made it all bumpy and that’s where I got to learn that I had an audience I was expected to satisfy and respect, not to mention my own precious time and labor.

It was not about me having short-circuited the working process that confounded the editor’s expectations, but the fact that I had been doing my very own stuff, regardless of why I was doing it at all. what a translator does, is to convey the same meaning through the closest equivalents, in the most loyal manner, and to allow the least of their supposed creativity to contaminate the original text.

The same goes with being a writer; The very fact of you writing stuff for a broad audience, whether it is as a professional or as an aficionado, makes you committed to the role of the writer, which is to convey in expansion, something of some point and value. If you are sharing routines, give the reader a good reason why they should be obsessed reading your story and not writing their own to feed you with.

As Austin Kleon quotes his mom in his amazing book Steal Like an Artist: “garbage in, garbage out!”

In a nutshell:

If you are not interested in reading nonsense, please write something that makes some sense!

Adele Aava

Author, translator, singer and voice trainer, serving food for thought and desserts for fun.