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

marie

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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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The Writing Feedback Guidebook

How to Ask For & Receive Helpful, Supportive Feedback on Your Writing

Not all writing reviewers are created equal! When you hand your carefully crafted pages to someone to provide feedback, the result is often unhelpful & at worst, can be crushing. This FREE guide will help you choose insightful, supportive readers. It will also teach you how to ask for what you need and want from them to continue honing your writing with confidence.