A Secret Worth Sharing: “I Am A Writer”


Photo: London Scout on Unsplash

October 25, 2017

“I Am A Writer.”

That slogan adorns one of my tattered t-shirts, a go-to garment for writing in comfort – despite its frayed corners, holes in indecent places, and faded hue.

A prolific author friend gave me the tee while we both served on faculty for a writer’s conference many years ago. Despite its age and condition, the roomy, oversized shirt still inspires me, remaining one of my all-time favorite writing-related gifts.

If someone presented a similar gift to you today would you wear it?

It’s a fair question.

Many aspiring writers do not embrace monikers related to their craft. They hesitate about sharing their activities. And many aspiring writers have difficulty believing – or admitting – “I am a writer.”

Many reasons fuel writers’ reluctance.

  • Some have never written a word for publication.
  • Some fear being told – or told again – they lack required skills.
  • Some have suffered opposition because of their writings.
  • Some fear appearing arrogant.
  • Some adopt a false sense of humility, believing a title doesn’t matter.

Can you relate to any of those? If so, let me help you.

Definition. A writer is a person who writes. You are a writer because you write. The term has nothing to do with whether a person has published a project of any length. Rather, the broad term simply means you are capturing ideas and putting related words down in a recognizable form.

Meanwhile, writing for publication is a deliberate activity designed to broaden the reach of your writing. It does not make you more or less of a writer than a person who never “puts their words out there.” If you write, you are a writer. Period.

 Repeat after me. I am a writer.

 Skills. Again, you are a writer because you write. Your skill level simply denotes how well you write. However, if you dream of being a published writer, your skills must improve. Here’s a secret: anyone can write. Meaning, anyone can learn to write well, as I mention in my video on the topic. Put in the time and effort and you’ll see your skills dramatically improve.

Progressive development may also mean you’ll look back on some of your earlier work – even published material – and be amazed at how far your writing has come.

Repeat after me: I am a writer.

If I want to publish my writing, I can and will develop my skills.

Opposition. Opposition signals you’re a writer. Resistance, persecution, intimidation, and other forms of opposition have a singular purpose; to stop you – by any means necessary – from writing, developing your craft, and/or publishing projects.

Even if you stop writing for a season, you’ll face opposition during that time. Why? Because you are a writer!

Repeat after me: I am a writer.

Even if opposition forces me to temporarily quit, I WILL write again.

Arrogance. Arrogance and pride undermine a writer’s effectiveness. However, saying you’re a writer is not being arrogant. It is akin to truthfully sharing any personal fact, like your name, occupation, or marital status.

I didn’t mention age because some folks like to exaggerate that; similarly, some writers exaggerate their writing success. Now that’s arrogant.

Repeat after me: I am a writer.

It is not arrogant to embrace my title: writer.

False humility. While humility skyrockets writing success, false humility has the opposite effect. It causes writers to shy away from people who can help them advance their goals. It leads to missed opportunities because writers cloaked in false humility don’t promote their work, talk about their ideas, or allow others to read their work.

Titles matter. They open doors, providing access to people, places, and resources.

Repeat after me: I am a writer.

I embrace the title, without falling prey to pride or false humility.

If you write, you’re a writer. It’s that simple.

Embrace that truth. Share the news with others. Write your heart out. And, keep writing.

One last time:

Repeat after me: I am a writer.



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