My friend, Annette Gendler, is such a fine writer but on her blog post today she mentions that she has been hesitant to describe herself as a writer. You can read what she has to say here.
Reading that Annette had been hesitant to claim the title of writer brought a memory of a writing conference I attended a good twenty years ago when I was a newbie in the field, a wannabe if you will. We had a couple of good workshops in the morning session, then lunch, but after lunch the speaker was to be a motivational interlude. I've never forgotten the directive she gave all the people in that large room. You are writers. Call yourself a writer. Tell people you are a writer. Believe that you are a writer. Even if you have not been published yet.
At that point, I had not been published and I would have never told someone who asked what I did in life that I was a writer. As Annette indicated this morning in her post, they might ask what I'd written and where I'd been published. For many of us, it would just be easier not to claim the title of writer. It would make life so much less complicated. Right?
That may be, but if you have written anything, if you love to write, if you have a passion for writing--published or not--I urge you to shout it out loud and clear. Four little words. I am a writer. Say it often enough and you'll start believing it. Believe it and you might pursue your writing with a little more passion and depth.
I posted a picture of a table of contents in an anthology called Flashlight Memories. My story title and my writing name are listed. Why did I take the picture and save it? It certainly was not my first publication. I remember looking at it after the book arrived in my mailbox. It was one of those special moments in life when you feel as if you'd accomplished a goal. It was the day that I could say, without hesitation, I am a writer.
So the next time someone asks you what you do. Tell them. If writing is your hobby or part time pursuit, add to whatever else you've said with I am a writer. If they ask what you've written or where you've been published, tell them what and where or add that you're still working toward the publication goal. Just be sure to assert that you're a writer. Be proud of being a writer and wear it like an invisible badge on your shirt. Maybe no one else will see it, but you, the writer, will know it's there.
And now, wherever you are when you read this, say it loud and clear I am a Writer!
My thanks to Annette Gendler for inspiring this post today.