I know. I know you don’t waaah-NUH.
But it’s time, my sweetness.
It is time.
Come, let me take your hand. (Wow. That is cold. We’ll talk about your circulation issues later.) We both know what needs to happen, and I’m here to help you do it.
Take a deep breath and repeat after me: “I am a writer.”
I can’t hear you, my little petunia. Try a-gain. Whisper it, if that helps. “I am a writer.”
See? I knew you could say it. (Do your hands always get this clammy?) Now, eat your cookie.
Earlier this summer I was at a conference where I met dozens of new writer kin and what ghasted my flabber was that several of these real writers (not dabblers or sometimers–the actual writing writer variety–with an agent no less!) were reluctant to call themselves a writer.
Now, I know the reasons for this reluctance are legion . . .
- I’m “pre-published,” so I feel like an imposter. Writers are people who write. Authors are writers who are published. If you write novels/picture books/articles/manuscripts or copy of any kind, you, my darlin’, are a writer. If you’ve spent years thinking about/intending to/wanting to but never really writing, then sorry, you’re probably right not to call yourself a writer. You’re more of a writer in waiting. And that’s okay too.
- I want to avoid the inevitable questions/unwelcome comments/unsolicited advice. You don’t want to be asked, “Where can I buy your book?” (if you don’t have one yet or it’s gone out of print). You don’t want to hear, “You’re going to be rich and famous! You’re going to be the next Harry . . .” you know the rest. Don’t deny who you are because you’re shy about silly, innocent, well-meaning questions or comments. Those will morph over time, but they won’t go away. Learn to nod and smile. You’re cool. You can handle this.
- I don’t want the pressure. You know what? Maybe it’s not a bad thing. Instead of pressure, maybe let’s think of it as motivation. Show the world you’re for reals.
- I’m not worthy of the title. Do you need a hard pinch? Stop that silliness right now. You love words. You care about craft. You’re willing to spend hours in isolation to revise and polish. You seek feedback. You take risks. You spend dollars you could devote to shoe-shopping so you can go to workshops to improve your skills. Heck, if you work any harder, you’re going to be OVER-worthy. You can wear the title of writer with pride. You’re stone cold legit.
- I’m afraid I’ll be asked to perform an emergency tracheotomy. No, no, lamb chop. That’s what might happen if you say you’re a doctor. Stick with writer. No incisions needed.
You recognize your reluctance. Now, acknowledge your fear. Then do the right thing anyway. Come on out. Say it loud and proud–I am a WRITER!
Enjoy that feeling of empowerment. Your bravery will be rewarded. And, yes, of course, you can have a cookie.
The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong. ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder