My good friend Aaron Steinmetz and I were chatting last night and I was telling him about how I’ve finally accepted the cold hard truth. It took me a long time to come to the realization, but I was able to openly admit it to myself as well as him. I had denied it for a long time. Too long, in fact. Even when others were telling me the obvious, I refused to believe it. It took my experiences in Camp NaNoWriMo to finally come to terms with what I am and I accepted it.
Even now, as I confess to you who read this blog, it’s hard to acknowledge the truth of what I am. I want to hesitate. I want to shy away from it. I want to stammer and stumble upon my words, uttering them so quietly that you have to ask me to ‘speak up, I didn’t catch what you said, could you repeat that please?’ Much like when Twighlight Sparkle meets Fluttershy for the first time in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. (Yes, I do watch it. Yes, I do love it. Yes I suppose that makes me a Brony or a Pegasister [I prefer Brony]. Hey, I have a 2.5 year old little girl. So sue me.)
Wait a minute, did you see that? That’s pretty sad isn’t it? I’m more willing to admit that I’m a Brony than I am willing to admit that I’m a writer.
Eeeepp! *slaps hands over my mouth*
I just did it. I just said that I’m the “W”-word.
*sigh* Okay….here goes. I may as well just say it right?
I’m a writer…
I’m a writer…
I’m a writer!
I’m a writer!!
There…I said it.
Why is it so hard for us to admit that we’re writers? That’s the discussion Aaron and I were having last night.
I think we realized that it’s because we compare ourselves too much to other writers.
I say, “I can’t possibly be a writer. I don’t have anything published. I’m not like Aaron, who’s got 4 books out there and is working on another one…”
While he’s thinking, “I can’t possibly be a writer. I still have a full-time job. I don’t write for a living, I just write on the side and manage to sell a few copies here and there on Amazon.”
Do we think that we can’t call ourselves writers because it’s not a full time occupation? Do we not call ourselves writers because we haven’t published anything yet? Or aren’t traditionally published? Or haven’t sold a million copies? Maybe we don’t call ourselves writers because – at the moment – we aren’t writing? Can you call yourself a writer if you’re between books? I mean, is J.K. Rowling currently working on another novel? If not, does that mean that she’s not a writer right now?
Let me quote you Google’s definition of Writer:
writ·er ˈrītər/ noun
a person who has written a particular text.
“the writer of the letter”
a person who writes books, stories, or articles as a job or regular occupation.
“the distinguished travel writer Freya Stark”
a person who writes in a specified way.
“Dickens was a prolific writer”
Do you see that? “…as a job or regular occupation.” We look straight beyond the first definition it gives us: “a person who has written a particular text.” (emphasis added because it’s most certainly needed)
This is what we need to realize. A writer is a person who has written a particular text. And by the way – there is no such thing as an “aspiring writer” or an “amateur writer”. So leave out the word aspiring and amateur. If you write – you’re a writer! Simple as that. There’s no such thing as an amateur writer unless you’re in pre-school and you’re learning how to write your name (even then it’s debatable). I’m pretty sure we’re all beyond that part right? Good, so then you’re a writer!
That means if all you do it blog…guess what? You’re a writer!
If you only keep a journal in a notepad that never sees the light of day: You’re a writer!
If you write short stories or poems that you think are terrible and you cringe because you’ve actually uploaded them onto your blog for others to read and laugh at how horrible they are (*cough*notme*cough*): You’re a writer!!
P.S. If you’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, even if you didn’t win, you’re a writer. How’s that for earning the title eh?
You don’t have to be a famous NY Times best selling author backed by Penguin or Tor who’s ready to turn your book into a movie by Paramount and earning millions of dollars a year to be called a writer! That’s the beauty of it! You’re a writer whether anyone else knows it or not!
It’s hard to admit that you’re a writer. Believe me, I know! It’s especially hard to admit when you’re talking to another person (and maybe even harder to admit when you’re talking to a fellow writer who may be more successful than you *cough*notme*cough*)
But don’t think for one minute that just because you don’t have anything published that you’re not a writer. You ARE. Admit it first to yourself. Look in the mirror. Yeah, do it. Right now. Look into those awesome *insertthecolorofyoureyeshere* eyes and say it out loud, “I’m a writer!” Say it until you believe it. Say it to yourself. Then say it to your family and friends. Then get out there and when people introduce themselves, be PROUD to say, “Hi, my name is _______ and I’m a writer!” (Well, I mean, you don’t have to shout the word “writer”, but if that’s what helps…..)
So to all my fellow writers out there I say, “Hi, my name is Amanda Davis. I’m a WRITER!”
I imagine the conversation going like this:
“I’m a reader……what are you?”
“I’m…I’m a writer.”
“I’m sorry, what was that?”
“I’m….I’m a writer.”
“Didn’t quite catch that.”
“I’m a writer.”
“Well, um. Okay then.”