By Erik Deckers | For The Times-Post
A common struggle for writers is feeling they’ve earned the right to the title.
Some people feel like they can’t call themselves a writer until they’ve written for so many years. Others only do it once they’ve written a story or published a magazine article. And still others think it applies to them once they’ve written a book.
This is all nonsense, of course. You’re a writer once you start writing.
I had trouble accepting the title when I first started, too. I had been writing this newspaper column, plus other things, for three years before it finally occurred to me.
“Oh, I guess I’m a writer,” I thought in a proud little thunderbolt of recognition. I realized I could include myself among the pantheon of other word nerds and ink slingers in the world.
But I didn’t fully believe it. For months afterward, whenever I told someone I was a writer, I expected them to correct me. I thought they would say, “Oh, come on. Not really, right? I mean, you’ve only been doing this for a few years. Are you sure you’re really a writer?”
And then they would tell me to take a nap until I gave up this silly notion. But it never happened, and no one ever corrected me, so I guess I’m stuck with it.
It turns out more people want to be a writer than almost any job in the world.
A study by Remitly.com looked at Google searches for the phrase “how to be a…” followed by the dream occupation. They compiled data from October 2021 to October 2022 and found the top 20 searches, including psychologist, lawyer, blogger, and programmer, to name a few.
No. 5 was entrepreneur, followed by YouTuber at No. 4. Being a YouTuber is not a real job, but there are plenty of people making money at it, so more power to them, I guess.
No. 3 was dancer, which is much tougher than being a writer. Being a dancer means lots of hard work and discipline. Being a writer means sitting on your ass all day, and the only thing you move is your fingers.
The No. 2 dream job in the world is writer. There were over 801,000 searches for “how to be a writer,” so I feel proud to be making a living at it.
The No. 1 dream job is pilot, which was surprising. I figured it would have been something like rodeo clown. But rodeo clown didn’t even make the list. Color me surprised.
Still, I see why being a pilot is so interesting. You soar above the world, travel to new parts of the world, see a view very few people see, and get paid for it.
Some people want to be a pilot so badly they’ll lie about it to impress their friends.
A recent post on a subreddit was from a man who got upset at his wife because she wouldn’t introduce him to her work friends as a pilot and instead introduced him as a fast food manager.
Because he was not a pilot, he was a fast food manager.
The guy said he is “an extremely passionate aviation enthusiast” who has his own flight simulation equipment and spent thousands of dollars on flight-related textbooks. He believes he’s “possibly even more knowledgeable” than the average pilot.
Some people believe they are the reincarnation of long-dead Egyptian pharaohs, but they don’t brag about it on Reddit.
The guy says that all this “experience” means his wife should refer to him as a pilot. He even corrected her when she introduced him to a work friend at a party.
Captain Delusional said, “I’ve earned the title of pilot through my 500+ hours on a sim and thousands of dollars put into my craft. I think it is incredibly disrespectful for her not to acknowledge my skills and training. Just because I don’t have the title of pilot on an overpriced piece of paper doesn’t mean I’m not a pilot.”
No, it means exactly that. That overpriced piece of paper — called a pilot’s license — is the one thing that says you’re a pilot. Without it, you’re just a guy who plays video games and reads books. Which, I guess, makes me a pilot, too?
The guy is also not a pig, but he certainly got roasted. People left comments on his post that blasted him for being a delusional man-child. Which they should have. And the consensus was 100% unanimous. The guy is not a pilot.
He’s also not a nail, but they hammered him so hard that he deleted his post. But not before other people copied it and reposted it elsewhere.
If you want to be a pilot, go to flight school and learn to actually fly a plane. Go up in the air, hold the control stick in your hands, and keep from crashing. Repeat that until they say you’re good at not crashing. Then you’ll be a pilot.
Until then, don’t inflate your experience, and don’t lie about what you do.
Leave that to the writers. We’re professional liars, after all.