Alice’s Restaurant

February 28, 2007

Wanna Be and Gunna Be

Filed under: Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 1:06 pm

Force of habit, I guess, but I find myself talking about writing a lot, even if there’s no round up.  *grin*

You all know what a wanna be is, right?  The first time I heard the phrase was in reference to white people attending a pow wow.  Some of them wanted to be Indian.  My half-breed friend didn’t think much of them.  So I always thought a wanna be was not something I ever wanted to be.

The first I’d heard of a gunna be was a few years ago on eHarlequin.  A gunna be was someone who didn’t just want to be a writer.  A gunna be was someone who may not be published yet, but was clearly on the way.

From where I’m standing, the difference between a writing wanna be and a gunna be was in whether or not someone was serious about writing.  By serious, I mean the person in question is doing more than think about it and/or talk about it.  A gunna be is writing.

After all, you can’t get published if you have nothing publishable written.

There are all kinds of ways to tell if someone is serious.  I’ve been serious about it all along, but I have been known to spend more time talking about it than doing it.  I think at those times I’m more of a wanna be than a gunna be.

RWA makes the distinction through their Pro program.  In order to prove you are gunna be, you have to have not only written a “complete” manuscript, you have to have submitted it to a publisher or an agent and received a reply.

For the most part I don’t think the distinction is important.  So long I remember to keep writing, and not just talk about it.



  1. I heard about “gunna bes” over at eHQ too, and I kind of like the phrase. Like you, a wanna be has always had a negative connotation to me.

    I sort of like “prepublished” rather than “unpublished” too, but I’m with you. The word’s not as important as what you’re doing.

    Comment by Sara — February 28, 2007 @ 2:44 pm

  2. Yes, yes, yes. So I guess this means I should stop hanging out and go do some “writing.”

    Comment by Donna — February 28, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  3. Yep, I think there’s a lot of wanna be’s out there. . . I used to be one of them. Now, I’ve graduated to a gunna be . . . so I guess I’d better warm up the old word program and start writing!

    Comment by Pam Skochinski — February 28, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

  4. I’m a gunna be! After spending many, many years in wannabe-land. I’ll be applying for PRO status soon.

    Comment by TessaD — February 28, 2007 @ 9:26 pm

  5. I am at the wanna be stage most of the time. I usually have to convince myself that I have a chance of being published. Having said that, I see FF as an incentive to becoming a gunna be. The community there is so full of encouragement, help, and, yes…threats, that most of the time I feel I can cross this line between a wanna be and a gunna be! Great topic!


    Comment by Laurie — March 4, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

  6. I’ve flip flopped between wanna be and gunna be a few times. I have to remind myself to keep my eyes on the prize.


    Comment by aliceaudrey — March 5, 2007 @ 8:34 pm

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