Demonised Aspirations

Hi, I’m an aspiring writer. And I’m risking the wrath of the internet to introduce myself like that. It seems that lately, the word ‘aspire,’ has been demonised. People may well pull this face if they read it:


What usually follows is some form of this: ‘You call yourself an aspiring writer? No, you’re doing it wrong! How dare you mock yourself in such a cruel way? You write, you’re a writer.’ Ok, fair enough, internet, I’m a writer.

But what does that title earn me?

If I go and play tennis, I could call myself a tennis player. Never mind that when I played tennis at school, I would manage to hit the ball less than 10% of the time. Hey, I could still truthfully call myself a tennis player, right?

I’m not saying that someone has to have a bestseller, or even get published to call themselves a writer. It’s accurate if they put pen to paper, or fingers to keys. Instead, I’m defending the word ‘aspiring.’ And also, I’m encouraging its use. As well as an aspiring writer, I’m an aspiring pianist. I’ve played the piano for two decades. I have a music degree. I’m currently the accompanist for four choirs. I’m regularly asked to accompany singers and instrumentalists when they do an exam. I play the piano for church services. I earn my living by playing the piano, and teaching others how to.

Doesn’t mean I’ve forsaken my aspirations though.

I want to be better at the piano. I practice for hours every day, to improve my skills. If I don’t have that aspiration any more, then I won’t have passion left for my job. I can always learn a new skill, further strengthen my fingers, practice a new style. I’m classically trained, one day I aspire to learn jazz improvisation. In short, I’m a pianist who aspires. To shorten that further, I can say that I’m an aspiring pianist.

So why not an aspiring writer? I have aspirations to one day have my novel published, and to be both a musician and an author. I write stuff down, I have aspirations… you get the picture. There seems to be this idea that if you’re aspiring to something, you can’t possibly have experienced success. And I have no idea where that comes from. I love to know that when I read something and enjoy it, the creator plans to become even better. It doesn’t matter whether you have eight best selling trilogies, or you’re Bobby Mc Brandnewauthor, it’s great that you want your next work to be an improvement on the last.

What matters is whatever’s happening behind the title someone chooses. If I call myself an aspiring writer, and write nothing, I’ll fail. If I call myself a writer and write nothing, I’ll fail. Or if I do the opposite and write, while practicing to improve my output, I’ve got a much better chance of success, no matter my own description. And when I write something subpar, I can decide to see where I went wrong and how to do better next time. My aspirations will remind me that I can do better next time.

Perhaps this demonisation stemmed from somewhere logical. Maybe someone got bitten by an angry and venomous asp. This asp ire made any reminder of the experience awful for them to encounter. So they went out of their way to kill off any word that could bring their pain back to mind.


If that’s the case for you, then please feel free to glare at the word I’ve mentioned so much. But otherwise, allow me to have my aspirations. Thanks for reading, and that’s it for now from this aspiring writer.

Featured image and other images used courtesy of pixabay.



2 thoughts on “Demonised Aspirations

  1. Well said. I’ve definitely experienced this recently, and it seems strange that a community who practice precise word usage would assume so much by telling other writers how to interpret a word.

    I feel a little arrogant and presumptuous when I call myself “a writer”, because at this point I don’t quite feel like I’ve crossed that threshold yet, in the same way that someone might be in training to become a doctor, or in another time a knight.

    They may have some skill in the field, but they haven’t quite reached that level of “completeness” that warrants the title, though even those who earn the title recognize the need for lifelong learning.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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