First, I realize that I'm likely to offend some people by mentioning one of my main peeves. For that I'm sorry. And what bothers me so much? The term "aspiring writer". Yep - that's it. WHY does it annoy me and rank so high on the list of pet peeves? Because I AM a writer. Whether or not I have a full length work of fiction published, I AM a writer. NOTHING aspiring about it.
Yet everywhere in the fiction world, I see UNPUBLISHED writers referred to as "aspiring". Ok - I admit, there may be some unpubs out there who still could possibly be considered as "aspiring" - those who are just starting out and have little more than a plot and a few pages of text written down. But I've been writing all my life, have completed 3 mss, with several more in the pipeline.
In addition I review books and write articles for three publications (Solander, The Historical Novels Review and The Ricardian Register) and for some history related websites, including that of Trivium Publishing.
And then there are the countless articles I've written for RWA chapter newsletters and my monthly research column for RWA Enotes. And yet still, I'm labelled as "aspiring"? Sorry, I don't think so.
The only term that gets to me more is "pre-published". Sorry, you're either published or you're not. Obviously some writers take comfort from saying they're pre-published, so maybe I should go easy. Whatever works. But the world of publishing is a tough place. I have no problem saying if someone asks that I'm unpublished. There's no shame in that.
I am a writer, one as yet unpublished in romance fiction. Simple as that.