I’ve been writing for fun since I was a little kid. For as long as I can remember, I was making up stories to tell my sister when she couldn’t fall asleep, and some of my favorite activities in school were whenever we had creative writing assignments. Now that I’ve spent years working on drafting novels and sometimes finishing them, you’d think I’d feel comfortable with calling myself a writer.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
In fact, whenever my dad or my sister mention to our neighbors or friends that I’m writing a book, I tend to feel embarrassed about it. It’s a gut instinct to shy away from talking about it, even though writing is something I’m so passionate about.
I think we have the tendency to think that only a published author can be considered a writer. That only if they have a string of accolades and thousands of social media followers can we call them a “real” writer. Sometimes, we may feel like we’re not good enough to call ourselves an author, or since we don’t always sit down to write everyday, we can’t possibly use the term “writer.”
In order to get past this internal struggle, I try to focus on the bigger picture. There are a few things that I’ve tried incorporating into my way of thinking that make me feel less awkward when talking about my writing with family and friends.
For starters, you should be telling yourself you’re a writer over and over again until it sticks. Whether you’ve already written five novels or have only just started writing your first blog post, so long as you’ve penned a few words, start calling yourself a writer. Say it in your head, say it out loud to yourself after you’ve finished brushing your teeth in the morning. The more you use the word “writer” to describe yourself, the more comfortable you’ll feel using it around others over time.
You should also make the time to actually write. I’m a firm believer that it isn’t always necessary to write everyday. Just like everything else in life, you need a break every once in a while. And, let’s face it: sometimes, after a long day, sometimes the last thing I want to do is stare at my computer screen or pick up a pen. However, it’s a good idea to make it a part of your routine, whether that means spending five minutes every day jotting down ideas, or dedicating a day a week to crank out a new blog post. It just makes sense: to be a writer, you need to actually write something.
Finally, you need to figure out what kind of writer you’d like to be. The distinction of what type of writer you are can change over time, but it’s important to have an idea of how you’d like to spend your time writing. And that’s not to say that you should only focus on one avenue or medium at a time! For me, I’ve always wanted to write novels. So, in my free time, that’s what I tend to focus on. However, I also write articles for a group I’m involved in at my college, which is also something I feel like I can be creative with and I enjoy doing. In the future, I may want to try my hand at poetry or something else. That’s the fun part about being a writer: it’s such a broad term, you have a lot of freedom in what you choose to do with your writing.
Personally, calling myself a writer is still a work in progress. However, what’s important to remember is that it isn’t something to be embarrassed about, nor do you need to have any sort of qualifications. Being a writer is one of my favorite things about myself, and I hope it is for you, too.