You Are a Writer
A Pep Talk for Writers
Believe in the me who believes in you
You are a writer. When writers make their first attempts at the craft, there comes a moment in time when they have to decide, regardless of whatever else they may be, that they are a writer. They have to say it aloud or mentally or write it down repeatedly; it doesn’t matter, as long as they make a conscious affirmation: I am a writer.
“You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.”
Writing is an expression of creativity, passion, and the thrill of creation in a writer’s mind. Of course, there’s more to it than that (like money or renown vs. the love of writing; or knowing that some immortal part of you will remain after you’re dead and gone), but, for brevity’s sake, we’ll keep it simple.
The nagging doubts
"I can’t be a writer because I need a real job. I don’t have the time. No one would take me seriously as a writer. No one would support my decision. I’m not good enough. I don’t have enough skills. I’m not gifted. What if I fail? What if I never get published? I can’t stand for people to critique my work. It’s just a hobby; It’ll never be a career. I’ll never be more than a midlist author.” And so on.
Fear can hobble a writer. No matter how well one writes, there will always be those who criticize or hate their work because it doesn’t suit their tastes, political views, moral views, cultural norms, or biases. Remember: Anyone can criticize your work, and most will. As writers, we have to accept this and keep writing anyway.
“Write every day, line by line, page by page, hour by hour. Do this despite fear. For above all else, beyond imagination and skill, what the world asks of you is courage, the courage to risk rejection, ridicule, and failure.”
Make a decision, a willful declaration
If there is one thing I know as a writer, it’s this. You have to decide what you were meant to do, to follow your passion, despite the doubts, excuses, fear, and rejection.
You don’t aspire to be a writer. If you write, you are one. It’s that simple. Even if you don’t have a finished story or book, fake it until you make it. Call yourself a writer or an author. You’re not engaging in self-delusion. You’re believing in yourself, manifesting your destiny, and removing one of the biggest roadblocks to your success: fear.
Believe in yourself
Once you believe in yourself, it’s often the pure, simple joy of writing that allows a writer to crush those other worries, as long as you are persistent, study, and write on.
“I wrote a book. It sucked. I wrote nine more books. They sucked, too. Meanwhile, I read every single thing I could find on publishing and writing, went to conferences, joined professional organizations, hooked up with fellow writers in critique groups, and didn’t give up. Then I wrote one more book.”
Need more inspiration?
When I was much younger, this is the kind of pep talk I needed. If you need more inspiration I suggest checking out the book You Are a Writer (so start ACTING like one) by Jeff Goins.
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Next week I'll be sharing an article about writing contests.