Are You a REAL Writer?

I run into plenty of people. Between homeschooling, running my own business, writing, friends and family, and teaching classes – I’m always meeting someone new and interesting.

And their backgrounds and careers are as diverse as you can find.

Every once in a while I run into another writer. The conversation often goes like this…

Me: Hi, nice to meet you! I write, teach classes, homeschool the kiddo, and generally stay way too busy. How about you?

Other Person: I’m a writer too…well…[pauses and shrugs]…I’m not a REAL writer, I just, you know, write a little here or there. I mean, I WRITE…but…

And here is where we exchange experiences. Mainly self-publishing, or dreams of being published, or looking embarrassed over writing for a regional magazine, or even writing for free.

I always smile and mention Bubblews, quickly following it up with, “It isn’t a SERIOUS writing site, although you can certainly BE serious if you want to.” Or I mention that all four of my books are self-published.

Writers truly are a self-disparaging bunch. Even if we have “hit it big” and gotten published in whatever capacity or print form we were dreaming of, or simply have seen our name in print – we question ourselves constantly and squirm uncomfortably, wrestling with the term “writer” endlessly.

I think it was only after I had self-published my second book that I decided to add “writer” to my signature on emails and even then I was a little boondoggled by my own audacity. If I remember correctly, I even posed the question on Facebook (half in jest, but really, really NOT) whether self-publishing my two books qualified me to call myself a writer. The answers were overwhelmingly “yes.”

And it makes me think that, when we dip our toes in, when we dance about the idea of writing awkwardly and with great embarrassment or fear of being rejected, we are firmly standing in the way of success. How often did I question myself? Too many times to count. How often did I say, either out loud or in print, that I had nothing worth saying or reading? An almost criminal number of times.

And then there are those others who refuse to see the capabilities that lie within us…

I remember the words of someone thankfully absent now from my daily life who said, “Stop dreaming your pie in the sky dreams.”

I remember my eldest mentioning a comment from someone she knows, “Oh honey, you will be published when I am young and skinny again!” You know the Mama Bear in me showed claws at that one.

It isn’t just our own fears that stand in our way, but often a culture that says, “You want to write? Well that’s sweet. But you will never make any money at it, never be successful, never…never…never…never.”

Finding it within to recognize your own worth can be tricky at times.

So if you look at your writing and think, “It isn’t good enough, but it shows promise,” then keep practicing, keep writing, it will get better.

And if you are listening to others try to tell you that you aren’t and you can’t and you won’t – stop listening.

Are you a real writer?

Then get to writing.