Becoming a Real Writer

It’s hard to feel the confidence to say you’re a writer. I often said I like to write, but never really said I was a writer. Even when I started writing a book, I still didn’t call it a book. I called it a story or manuscript at most.

Recently though, the more I write and the more people ask what I’m working on, I started saying, “Oh, I’m writing a novel.” The first time those words came out of my mouth without any hesitation took me for a loop. When had I made the tranistion from hobby writing to writer?

As I think about the transition, I realize it didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took place over the course of years of honing my craft and practicing the skill. It started as, I like to write, then changed to, I am writing stories and poems, until eventually it turned into I’m working on a manuscript.

The day I first said out loud, “I’m writing a book,” I knew I had arrived at the next phase. I am a writer. What a thrilling and yet nerve-inducing feeling it was. To speak the words, “I am a writer,” is no small feat. Ridding myself of the imposter syndrome has taken years, nay, decades, of hard work.

So, when do you know you’re a writer? When do you know you’re a real writer? The answer is: there’s no formula. It’s different for everyone. The idea of “real” before a label is arbitrary. For me, it happened when I stopped being scared of what people would think if I said, “I’m a writer, but I don’t have any big, famous publications.”

Others may never publish anything at all and consider themselves writers. That’s great. The truth is, only you can define yourself. If you want to call yourself a writer, then you’re a writer. Don’t let others’ expectations or standards sway you from your path.

What about any other fellow writers out there? When did you start to consider yourselves “real” writers? What does being a writer mean to you? Let me know in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Becoming a Real Writer

  1. I tell people I am a writer. And I am working on my first book. There is some internal thing of “knowing” and “claiming” and just BEING a writer that no one can gift you. It comes from within.

  2. I guess I’m considered to be an “Indie Writer.” After submitting my first book to agents and publishers, and patiently waiting for rejections, I decided that at my age, I’d better check out self-publishing if I ever wanted to see my work in print. So, that’s what I did and it’s been going pretty well. It certainly is an interesting journey. But, hey–I AM A WRITER!!

    1. That’s great! Self-publishing doesn’t have a great reputation, but it’s becoming more and more popular, especially for writers who come from communities that are often barred by the gatekeepers of traditional publishing houses. Honestly, self-publishing is just as valid as traditional publishing. We live in an age of technology where more and more people have the power and means to share their creations, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Congrats on your writing getting out into the world!

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