Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

You Are A Writer

A co-worker discovered my books today (I don’t make a big secret of them) and was delighted to find them. She’d always wanted to be a writer, she said, and was excited to find one so near that she could talk to.

The thing is, you don’t have to have books published to be a writer. These days, anyway, it’s not hard to have a book published. Out in the writing blogosphere, one of the top five topics (after “how do I get published?” and “how do I get an agent?” and “how do I get published, again?”) is “when do you call yourself a ‘writer’?”

It’s a question everyone has to answer for him or herself. What, in your mind, legitimizes your writing? If you’re pretty confident about your writing, then you might call yourself a writer as soon as you finish your first draft of your first story. If you look up to other writers, you might think getting an agent is your milestone, selling a story, selling a novel, selling three novels. You might be the kind of person who writes in her spare time, has five novels sold, and still considers herself a teacher who writes in her spare time. In one of my screenwriting classes, we had to preface every comment with “Hi, I’m , and I’m a writer.”

The reason for that, the thing about all of this, is that if you feel like a writer, you are a writer. And the more you feel like a writer, the more confident you’ll be in your writing. Most of us won’t be making a living at our writing, so there’ll always be another answer to “What do you do?” But don’t shy away from it. Be proud. Be a writer.

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