Last week, I wrote this post about what makes a writer in response to another blogger's comment on her blog about another blogger's comment on her blog about....well, we've covered all that already. But then a comment to the original post raised yet another question: we've all agreed (I think) that you don't have to be published to be a writer, but does being published make one a writer?
Again, I think it depends wholly upon usage. If "writer" is a state of being, then no, it does not. Or at least, there's a fair argument to be made that it doesn't. But if "writer" denotes a person making a living in a particular profession, then I don't think quality counts. There are good and bad doctors and good and bad lawyers and good and bad waitresses and good and bad mechanics, but we don't quibble about their titles. We don't walk out of a restaurant after getting bad service and say, "she wasn't really a waitress!" Crappy service or not, she's a waitress because it's her job title. The same can be true of a writer.
I don't necessarily think that talent is a prerequisite to becoming a writer by trade. Perhaps there is a line that one can't cross without talent, but with thousands of publications and tens of thousands of Internet outlets and hundreds of thousands of small businesses in need of copywriting services and websites, it's certainly feasible to make a living as a writer without crossing those lines.
In fact, I strongly suspect that many without what some of us would term talent HAVE crossed those lines. I'm not going to name any names, but I'm willing to bet that everyone reading this can quickly call to mind a wildly successful writer that he or she doesn't think can write. I'm not talking about someone whose style you don't care for, someone who doesn't suit your tastes, but someone you truly think is just a BAD writer.
You know you can.
So...if you're a writer...a writer who wants to be published...a writer who wants to make a living writing...maybe even a writer who secretly yearns for fame and fortune...what does that writer have that you don't?