Do you ever wonder whether you’re worthy to call yourself a writer?

But doubt and fear creep in and you ask yourself:

“What makes me a writer? I’ve published nothing, let alone a book.”

“What I have written is no good. I’m not even sure I should do this.”

“I can’t honestly call myself a writer. I’m nowhere near good enough!”

Sound familiar?

For a long time, I called myself an aspiring writer. It was a false sense of humility that only served my conscious. Hidden behind all the excuses I believed. Once my third book was underway, a good friend cornered me: “Stop calling yourself that. You are not aspiring to be one any longer. You are one.”

From that moment forward, I accepted the fact that I am a writer.

If you let it, that voice will keep you from ever sharing your message with the world. Let’s fight the voice of doubt with a dose of truth.

How does a person actually become a writer?

Every once in a while, you’ll hear of someone who wrote something or pressed into it and surprised everyone by becoming a known writer.

Usually, becoming a writer takes a normal course. You become a writer the way you become a bicyclist or a gymnast or a dancer, singer, cook, or plumber.

See where I’m headed with this?

You walk—and trip and tumble and plop—before you run.

You bake a cake, it flops, perhaps a dozen times, before you bake the perfect, most delicious cake. No recipe is safe in your hands but persists in this, and suddenly someone calls and places an order. Then you are a baker.

Being bad at something we want to succeed at is part of the process. It’s how we pay our dues.

If you’re not willing to make mistakes, to accept correction and criticism and counsel from experts, you’re not likely to progress.

So, when can you actually call yourself a writer?

As soon as you’re willing to dive in and give it all you’ve got.

Don’t decide you’re not a writer before you’ve mustered the courage to try.

Accept that you will fail at first, we all are failing at everything we try for the first time. There is no shame in that.

Humility is a good starting point, it’s the attitude to adopt for your writing career.

Talking is not enough.

If you’re only talking about being a writer, only reading blogs about it, only going to writers’ conferences, socialising with writers, dressing like a writer (whatever you think that means), you’re not a writer. You’re a fake.

Wannabes talk about writing. Writers write.

They may not write well yet, but they write.

When you are pounding the keyboard and words appear on the screen, you’re in the game. No matter what. Then you are a writer.

Otherwise, you may talk, but you’re not writing.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a writer. It is a wonderful dream to have. But, to call yourself a writer, write.

I know it’s hard.

It’s scary to show your work to a professional, even more so to an editor or publisher who will decide whether to buy it. I understand about fears and you feel your heart is in your throat.

But actual writers want the feedback. They want to get better, to learn, to grow, to succeed.

So, let me ask you again—are you a writer?

Did you fail, but still pounding those keys? Scared and still writing? Did you stand up to a harsh critique and improve your piece by applying what you’ve learned? If you’ve stayed at it despite that persistent fear of failure, you are!

Whether you’re writing fearfully or courageously, regardless—you’re a writer.

If you’re in the game and practising your trade, say it loud and say it proud:

I am a writer!


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