The following is an adapted excerpt from Building a Writing Life: start a writing habit, find time to write, discover your process and commit to your writing dreams available now in paperback and eBook.
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Do you consider yourself a writer?
Do you feel comfortable calling yourself one now?
One of the most common mental hang-ups I’ve seen in beginning writers is this reluctance to call themselves a writer… “yet.” There’s always some arbitrary benchmark they’ve set up in their head for when they’ll be worthy of the title, something that designates when they are a Real Writer. Often, this benchmark moves as they progress in their career so it’s always just out of their current reach.
But, the thing is, all a writer is is someone who writes. That’s it. There’s no special certification, approval board or trial by fire. You can call yourself a writer right now, and no one can stop you.
Call yourself a writer. Now.
Do you still demur, shying away from using the title? Then you’ve found the first bit of mental work you’ve got to do. How are you going to commit to writing if you don’t even consider yourself a writer? If you’re not even willing to admit it to yourself, how will you defend it to others? How can you justify making room for something in your life that you don’t even believe in enough to call by its name?
You are a writer. Write that on a post-it note and put it where you’ll see it every day until you believe it. Introduce yourself that way to random strangers. Wear that coat with pride even if it still doesn’t quite feel like it fits because the word writer is a magic garment that conforms to fit the wearer as long as you believe.