When Can I Call Myself A Writer

When Can I Call Myself A Writer?

During one of my recent Creative Focus Sessions, a woman from one of my writing groups, working on a memoir based on her father’s life, introduced herself by saying, “I’ve been in Marie\’s writing groups forever. I can’t quite say I’m a writer yet – I’m more of a musician.”
That statement has many facets. On one hand, I’m excited to hear that she’s starting to consider herself as a writer! On the other, I feel sad that we don’t all consider ourselves writers. Pat Schneider begins the introduction to her book, Writing Alone and With Others:
“Everyone is a writer. You are a writer […] Those who do not write stories and poems on solid surfaces tell them, sing them, and, in so doing, write them on the air.”
I suggest that the act of putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – to record your memories, thoughts, and imagination makes you deserving of the designation \”writer\”. I believe everyone is a writer; my purpose as a mentor and guide is to support each person to get their words onto the page, to begin to see the beauty of their own stories.
The bar to calling oneself a writer in our culture is high. It seems that you have to make money writing in order to call yourself a writer, or you have to have been published by a recognized publishing house. After I had self-published my memoir The Chocolate Pilgrim it took me at least a year before I called myself a writer.
My turning point occurred while on vacation in Sedona. My friends were encouraging me to own my latest profession. “Call yourself a writer!” They insisted. “When someone asks what you do, say you’re an author. Talk about your book!”
Finally, after several days of encouragement, I did exactly that when my tour guide asked me what I did. I was genuinely surprised she didn’t call me out for being a liar or a fraud! In fact, she showed a great interest in my memoir and ended up buying a copy. My confidence soared, and I’ve been declaring myself a writer ever since.
Years ago, a wise friend said something that stuck with me: “The beauty about the designation of “writer” is that it can be tacked onto absolutely everything.” This means you can be a musician and writer, or an engineer and writer.
And one day you\’ll be confident enough to put “writer” first.

Creatively Yours,
Image of Marie leaning against a pillar holding a coffee cup


l love hearing from my readers!

If something in this newsletter inspired you, send me a note at marie@mariemaccagno.com.
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2 thoughts on “When Can I Call Myself A Writer?”

  1. CHRISTINE Chatfield

    I have been writing since I was 8 years old and have never called myself a writer because I have never tried to publish my work.

    1. You are a writer because you write! Try that on and see how you feel when you call yourself a writer – even quietly, to yourself. Such gentle acceptance.

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