Are you a writer? What does “being a writer” mean to you? Does it mean you’ve published a best-selling novel? That you make the entirety of your income from writing gigs or a full-time staff writing job? Do you enter writing contests? Do you blog about a particular topic and have you focused in on a particular niche about which you write?
Guess what? You’re a writer! I know that when I first started getting paid to write, if people asked, “what do you do?” I would answer, “Im an executive assistant at a drug and alcohol clinic.” Bah! I really wanted to say, “i’m a writer!” but I was afraid that I would be seen as an imposter, a fraud. Why? Because I wasn’t making a living as a writer. Sure I made enough money to take the family out to dinner on Friday night or add to the amount of nights we’d stay when we went on vacation. My “writer money” paid the vet bills, helped put presents under the Christmas tree and let me indulge my passion for purses and vintage typewriters. Did all of that make me a writer? A “real” writer? For the longest time I didn’t think it did.
I used to feel embarrassed if people would push me and say, “I thought you were writing… stuff.” I would brush it off. I acted like writing was no big deal. Know what? It is a huge-ass deal. My making money from writing was me pursuing a goal I had always dreamed of, but rarely voiced. When I was in high school I flunked all things math, history and phys ed, but I kicked ass in typing (yes, we used typewriters when I was in high school. I am THAT old!), shorthand, English and creative writing classes.
I wrote all the time. I had diaries. When I was mad at my parents or siblings, I wrote my feelings down. I wrote a “novel” for my parents when we moved into a new house. The story was entitled, “The Secret Of The Secret Key.” Hey, I know the title sucked. Don’t judge. I was twelve-years-old and was inspired because this new house we moved into was actually an old farm house and the doors all used old fashioned keys. I was entranced and inspired. My family, God bless them, said it was the best story they’d ever read. I wish I had kept that book — my humble beginnings as a writer.
Embrace Your Inner Writer
Today when people ask what I do. I say, “I’m a writer.” When I go to networking events, my elevator pitch centers around the fact that I am a “writer for hire.” I have progressed far enough in my writing career to have purchased a second home for our family. I was able to do this because I have worked and honed my skills and have written millions and millions of words.
I have earned the badge “writer.”
Whether you’re just starting out, have been freelancing for a few years or are on the verge of making it big, here are ways to embrace your inner writer.
- Own it. If you can proudly say, “I’m a writer” then you are well on your way. When the person asking the question asks, “Oh, what have you written?” Remember, they’re not asking because they doubt you, they’re asking because they’re curious. Point them to the books you’ve written, the newspaper for which you write a column, the blog posts you write, etc.
- Write. This may sound ridiculous, but if you want to be a writer you have to write. If you want to say you’re a writer, you have to have written something. If you’re working full time in another position to feed your writing habit, embrace that but make sure you make time to write. Don’t use your other job as an excuse to not write.
- Hang out with your own kind. My husband knows I write for a living, but he doesn’t always (I don’t think) understand what exactly that means or how I structure my day or how I find ideas to write every day for all of my clients. I can share my successes and disappointments with him, but I need to hang with my own kind who understand the frustration of finding that exact perfect word or with whom I can argue about the Oxford commah.
What’s stopping you from embracing your inner writer and letting yourself wear the title, “Writer”? When did you first announce the world, “I am a writer?” I’d love to know.
If you want to be with your own kind and learn about #30MinuteWriting, I invite you to join my Facebook Group.