I have been writing for several years now. I share much of my writing via social media, so it’s not surprising that I receive a lot of questions and comments from readers about how they’ve “always dreamed of being a writer.”

I’ve had many conversations with people around this topic, and have found that getting some clarity around these three keys will go a long way toward fulfilling your writing aspirations:

Define What Being a Writer Means to You

This one may seem obvious, but there tends to be a lot of confusion around what it means to be a writer. The bottom line is that writers write. Simply put, if you’re writing then you are a writer. You may you regularly journal about your thoughts and feelings. Perhaps you write songs, or even poetry. If you love doing these things then you are a writer, even if no one else ever sees your work. Nothing anyone says can change that fact. The key is to be clear about what writing means to you, and what you want to do with it. That brings us to the next point.

Decide What You Want to Do With Your Writing

Generally speaking, there are two paths you could follow. For you, writing may be a form of therapy. A way to get your thoughts and feelings out of your head, and to help you process life. If this is how you define being a writer, then your dream is already fulfilled. However, if you wish to share your work with the world, generate income, and become widely known as an author, then you are venturing down a different path. This path is the business of writing. When you write only for yourself, there is no such thing as good or bad writing. That changes when you’re submitting your work to the world. You will want to hone your craft by practicing it often, which means doing a lot of writing. It is also advisable to have your work reviewed and edited by a skilled proof reader and editor.

Be Authentic With Your Writing

This is important no matter what you decide to do with your writing, but it is especially important if you want to venture down the business path. If this is your dream, then understand it is a business just like any other business (and you’ll have to work it like a business.) Write about things that you love or that genuinely interests you. If you try to write on whatever the latest trends are, or what you think people will buy, you will fail. Be real, be you, and write from that place. Don’t hesitate writing about something just because someone else has written about it. You will be hard pressed to find a topic that someone, somewhere, has not already written about. But here’s the thing, no one else is you. No one else has the exact same viewpoint as you. If you assigned a hundred writers the exact same topic to write about, you would get one hundred different articles. No need to worry if you are being “original” or not. Be true to who you are, write that way, and you WILL be original.

Don’t let the simplicity of these points fool you. They are powerful, and when you have clarity around these three things your dream of being a writer, whatever that means to you, will be fulfilled.