on Writing Forward:
People often ask me how to become a writer. It seems like a simple enough question, until you start considering the semantics of the word writer.
A writer can be someone who writes, someone who has written, or someone who writes professionally. Anyone who’s been to school has written something, so this is a very loose definition. Let’s rein it in a little. We usually don’t use the word writer to indicate anyone who has written; we limit it to those who write regularly and those who write professionally.
So the simple answer is this: to become a writer, all you have to do is write. To become a professional writer, you need to get paid to write.