Can You Say You're a Writer If You Don't Make Money From Writing?

A question I don't know how to answer

“If you want to be a writer, you have to write.” Okay, that’s clear. “If you write, you’re a writer.” Hmm, I’m not 100% sure about that.

The definition of ‘writer’ is a person whose job is writing books, stories, articles, etc. Stephen King, J.K Rowling, journalists, (paid) bloggers, ghostwriters and copywriters — these are all writers because they get paid for their writing. Money is indeed in the definition of the term. So when I hear, “If you write, you’re a writer,” I never know what to think. 

Once my cousin said that being a writer isn’t necessarily a profession. A writer is a person who writes to think. To him, if you use writing to make sense of life, you’re a writer.

So I’m wondering: can you say you’re a writer if writing isn’t your main source of income?

I’m asking a genuine question. Please feel free to email me to let me know your thoughts.

Fabio Cerpelloni is an English language teacher, writer, author, and podcaster from Italy. You can find out more about him and his work by clicking on his glass of beer in the photo.