Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Are You Aspiring or Only a Wannabe?


to seek to attain a goal


somebody who tries to be like someone else or to belong to a specific group (informal

[source: Encarta Dictionary]

Wannabe is often a derogatory term. “Is he any good?” someone will ask. “No, he’s just a wannabe,” we might respond. Notice the definitions above. A wannabe has the goal of being like someone else while to aspire allows for any kind of goal. In the context that it is often used, a wannabe is someone putting on the appearance of being something, but is not.

One of the marks of a wannabe-author is that he gets his feelings hurt when someone implies that his writing isn’t that great. Why? Because his only goal is to be an author and he is willing to take shortcuts to get there. He is something of a copycat. He mimics authors. When his manuscript has all the elements that he enjoys about the books written by a favored author, he submits his work and is shocked when someone doesn’t agree it is great.

The aspiring author isn’t looking for the same validation that the wannabe author is. No one must tell the aspiring author when she is good enough to call herself an author. Maybe other people don’t think her writing is all that great, but that’s okay because she has already set a goal to improve. At worst, the criticism of someone else is just an indication that her more distant goals are farther away than she hoped. She doesn’t want to write like another author, though she is a student of the work of others. The aspiring author doesn’t expect to reach the point where she has arrived, but sees successes as only milestones with the road stretching out in front of her. The wannabe author is looking for recognition. The aspiring author is looking for progress. Which are you?


Lady Glamis said...

Aspiring. :)

Anonymous said...

Neither. This isn't a dichotomy but a continuum, and we're all in different places on it.