“Am I a real writer?”
I asked this question on a short story forum once. I briefly explained that I had been writing for under a year (was true at the time), and I had just received my first story acceptance, but still didn’t feel like a ‘real’ writer. I wanted to know if there were others out there, who also had that burning self-doubt. Well I have to admit I didn’t expect the response I received.
“Being published doesn’t mean you’re a real writer. There’s many who never get published or want to be published…”
Hmm, that didn’t really answer my question. If I had asked, “Are you a real writer if you get published?” I would have expected that answer. What I wanted to know was that if it was normal to feel like a fraud. I wanted to know how long does it take for you to look at yourself in the mirror and say with confidence. “I am a writer.” Using the fact that I had been published was just an example to show that even after that I still didn’t feel like a writer, I wasn’t bragging, I had way too much self-doubt to be bragging about anything. So I was left with no answer and a fear of forums lol.
It wasn’t until I read an interview of a woman who had just had her first novel published that I finally understand why I felt the way I did, and it was something normal and very common among writers. It has a fancy name Impostor Syndrome it’s called, I like to call it Mr Self Doubt’s whispers, but it’s all the same thing.
So what’s the point of all this waffle, well like I said before this feeling is very common among writers, you often sit and ask yourself, am I a real writer, if so why don’t I feel like one? So today, I aim to help you with that question, and believe it or not it’s a very simple answer.
I’ve read often that if you write you’re a writer, but I’ve never believed that myself. In my eyes anyone can write, that doesn’t mean that you’re any good at it and not ‘playing’ writer. This answer however is enough for some who simply see it as; I’m doing it so I am. For me, and probably many others, the answer needs to be deeper. What really makes you a writer?
After a long search, I feel that I have found the answer. It is simple but just that little deeper. If you need to write, if it’s something you can’t stop doing, if passion burns within you, and if you can’t see yourself doing anything else then this is the RIGHT path for you, and you can feel free to truly believe that you ARE a WRITER. With that in mind you should embrace this journey hang your achievements high because it’s not luck that has helped you achieve what you have it’s hard work and determination. I’ve only recently understood this and I’ve been writing nearly two years now.
Some of you may still not believe that you are a real writer even after what I’ve said, sometimes it takes you experiencing that same I can’t do without writing moment to really understand. But I can assure you that if you are still writing, and submitting and picking yourself up off the floor and continuing the race then folks you are doing it, you are a writer, feel proud, feel great, then get them stories written.
I found another article that discussed when you could call yourself a writer, this issue even dealt with calling yourself a writer in public. The article listed two ways to deal with this issue.
- Tell yourself you are a writer in the mirror every day
- Come up with a good answer for when people ask you questions about your writing. What do you write? Where have you been published? As it says in the article, confidence in your answer is key, even if you don’t have much to say.
That’s all I have for you this week just a little confidence boost session, but it’s important because without that self-belief then who else is going to believe in you. Now let’s all go write something because guess what, we are writers.
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- WIHM: Setting Self Doubt on Fire: Female Horror Writer and Proud - February 18, 2017
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