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“I’m A Writer”–How to Say It With Confidence

by Jennifer on September 17, 2009

By Jennifer Blanchard

A few days ago on Twitter, I tweeted the following:

Are YOU A Writer? http://tinyurl.com/oqzaoh. I’m proud to share those 3 little words with the world: “I’m a writer!” Are you?

Recently, I noticed that many writers don’t like to tell other people that they’re writers.

Why is this?

When I was twelve, I started writing short stories. I started keeping a journal. I started carrying a notebook with me everywhere I went.

I thought being a writer was the coolest thing in the world.

One day in seventh grade, I fractured my thumb and had to go through physical therapy. When the doctor was making my brace (I had to wear a custom-molded plastic brace), she asked me what I liked to do. She liked to make the braces more fun, so she usually made them with soccer balls or flowers or butterflies, whatever the kid liked.

I told her I loved writing. So she put a pencil image on my brace.

The next day at school, I was wearing my brace when the girl who sat next to me in science class asked me what that picture on my brace was. I told her it was a pencil because I liked writing.

Immediately she shrieked with laughter and started making fun of me, which then got everyone else around us to join in. A writer, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

I was devastated, to say the least. I stopped wearing my brace, even though I needed it. And from then on, I never told anyone I was a writer.

Even through college, when I was going to school for journalism, I still had a hard time telling people I was a writer. It’s like I felt shameful or something for not trying to be something else, like a doctor or a lawyer.

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I really started to embrace being a writer.

When I got my first job out of college, however, I suddenly liked telling people I was a writer. It made me feel cooler, somehow.

Now I can’t imagine calling myself anything else. And I’m damn proud of it.

The way I see it: If you write, then you’re a writer. Period.

Here’s how to become more confident calling yourself a writer:

  • Believe It–If you write, you’re a writer! So believe it.
  • Say It Out Loud–Say it out loud to yourself over and over again, “I’m a writer.” “I’m a writer.” “I’m a writer.”
  • Share It With Others–Let people know you’re a writer. Say it like you believe it. “I’m a writer.”
  • Be Proud of It–Being a writer is the best job in the world. You get to create. You get to make things up. You get to help people with your words.

 So…do you call yourself a writer? And if not, what holds you back?

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is founder of Procrastinating Writers. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 --Deb September 17, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Brava!! Just … so, so true. Perfect.

2 Erik Hare September 17, 2009 at 7:19 pm

I don’t like all the attention. I like sitting in the back and watching.

http://erikhare.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/coffee/

3 Funkidivagirl September 17, 2009 at 7:36 pm

I have a blog and I write for it at least twice a week. But yet I call myself a “blogger” and not a “writer” because I don’t get paid and a blog isn’t a book, news or magazine article. I think that this is silly but there it is.

4 Brittany September 17, 2009 at 7:40 pm

No one knows that I write except for my family, a few of my mom’s friends that she’s told, and maybe a couple of other people. I used to talk about what I’m writing with my family, but I started to get the impression that they really don’t care, so I stopped.
I don’t tell my friends because it’s a part of my life that’s private. (I’m in middle school) And no one that I know at my school writes seriously like I do. They wouldn’t really understand, and I’m not just saying that. All of the kids in my grade are obsessed with other things like sports, ‘good’ music, and clothes. “Normal” middle school-age things. To them, writing as a hobby and maybe more is weird. I guess I worry too much about what everyone else will think and how judgemental they’ll be.
I do have writer friends, but they’re online, from writing forums, and NaNo WriMo.
I can’t wait for the day to come (if it does) when I get a book contract from a publisher or an offer from an agent. That’s when I’ll tell people that I’m a writer, and I’ll be proud to say it. For now, I wait.

5 andrewtoynbee September 18, 2009 at 6:20 am

I have been writing since I was at primary (junior) school and have had exactly the same responses as above. I think people see writing as non-constructive. Tell them you’re a mechanic or a builder and their head will fill with images of cars, trucks and buildings. Tell them you’re a nurse and they will envisage hospitals.
But tell someone that you’re a writer…will they imagine you on your sofa with your favourite laptop/notebook or are they likely to envisage you scribbling away with a worn-out quill on faded parchment whilst bent over some Dickensian desk?
People can’t cope with ‘writer’. To them it’s not a ‘proper’ job.
Maybe it’s our fault for being non-specific…if we said ‘I write a column for the Sunday Times’ (for example) or ‘I write novels’ that may set their minds to thinking about newspapers or bookshops (which is where we’d like them to head for, after all!)
Don’t try to change the people…change what you tell them. But be proud that you ARE a writer.
And next year…I want to stop being a writer and become an AUTHOR.

I wonder if that’ll make any difference?

6 jblan September 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm

@Deb Thanks!

@Erik Hare Why do you like sitting back and watching? What do you gain from it?

@Funkidivagirl Wow! I’d think it would be the other way around. Most of the writers I know would call themselves a writer before they call themselves a blogger because they think bloggers are people who make money from their blogs. Interesting that you feel the opposite way.

@Brittany First off, I commend you for being so young and so focused. You’re going places, trust me. Secondly, and I know this is advice you probably get a lot and ignore, but work hard on not caring what people think. I spent most of my life caring, and it made it harder for me as an adult. If you can learn now, in your young age, that what people think doesn’t matter, you’ll live a happier life. 🙂

@andrewtoynbee I think you’re right. I think oftentimes people don’t view writing as a real job because it’s something you can do anywhere–sitting on your couch, at a coffee shop, in a hotel room while you’re vacationing. People see “real” jobs as ones that you have to go somewhere for and where your time is being monitored, etc. I don’t know about you, but I love being a writer. And I love being able to do my job anywhere I want to. Definitely a plus you don’t have if you’re a doctor or a lawyer. 🙂

7 Sandra S Richardson September 22, 2009 at 4:28 pm

I hold back because I’m not published. Say you’re a writer and the next question is, “What’s the title of your book?”
No book.
“What magazines have you been in?”
No magazines.
If I say I’ve written over 100 fanfiction stories that are posted online, that is looked upon as what it is – a hobby.
When I get published, then I’ll more readily speak up and say, “I’m a writer.”

Sandra

8 jblan September 23, 2009 at 11:39 am

@Sandra S. Richardson You don’t have to be published to be a writer. A writer is someone who writes, period. An AUTHOR is someone who’s published. Big difference. 🙂 I say, don’t worry about what people think. It’s not about what they think, it’s about what you think. If you write anything at all–fan fiction or not–then you are a writer in my book. Keep at it, and thanks for reading!

9 Erik Hare September 26, 2009 at 5:47 pm

I happen to believe that writing is not about the author or the author’s intent, but the connection between the reader and the writer. After all, reading is writing as surely as writing is reading.

If you sit back and watch, you can gain an understanding of people that helps make those connections. I have many stories to tell, but they are an immeasurable fraction of the stories that are out there. Let the readers write before I write for the readers, I say. Staying incognito makes that a lot easier.

10 Laura Lee Bloor October 8, 2009 at 6:46 pm

I’ll say it loud and proud with you! I’m a writer!

11 Karen Sills August 20, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I would really love it if you could read some of my work and leave a comment. I want to say I’m a writer, BUT grammer get’s in my way. I love to write and make up stories, BUT am I good? I don’t no. I would love to have something published someday, But am I good enough? Thank You!!

12 Kathy Sills August 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm

I WANT TO BE A WRITER SOOOOOO BAD, BUT I HAVE BECOME DISCOURAGED!!! I’M NOT SURE IF I’M GOOD ENOUGH. I HAVE WORTE SOME STORIES ON BOOKSIE AND HAVE GOTTON GOOD COMMENTS, BUT I’M NOT SURE IF IT’S JUST BEING NICE OR THE TRUTH. COULD YOU GO READ SOME OF MY WORK! GIVE ME SOME POINTERS ON HOW TO GET BETTER? MY GRAMMER STINKS!!!

THANKS FOR YOUR TIME!!!!

13 Karen Sills August 22, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Hi it’s me again! I f anybody would like to read my work heres my link:
http://www.bookie.com/storiestotell
AND HERES MY SISTER’S LINK:
http://www.bookise.com/imagination101

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