My friend Amelia Rhodes and I snapped this picture about 3 years ago at the Breathe Christian Writers Conference. If you look closely, the sticker on the mirror reads, “Look in the mirror. You will see a writer”.
But we didn’t always know that.
Something about calling yourself a writer before you’re published sounds pretentious, right? It smacks of one looking down her nose and possessing lofty thoughts about her abilities to write the next great American novel/poem/memoir/study.
For years I would say, “I like to write” or “I want to be a writer”.
I needed to learn what it takes to be a writer before I could own the label. I don’t believe I’m alone here.
Every couple of weeks I get an email that goes something like this:
Hi, Susie! So, I think I want to be a writer. I’ve got this story I’m working on and I want to get it published. I just wondered what I have to do to become a writer. Thanks!
My answer to this is always the same.
If you are writing then you are a writer.
Simple as that.
The publishing and making money (which isn’t the goldmine it would seem to be) and becoming famous (which is, happily, not a thing for most authors) — all that stuff comes after you get writing. After you get yourself a name tag and a sharpie and label yourself as a writer.
The first step in the writing life is accepting you have a problem…
taking the name of Writer.
Then, you know what you have to do?
You Have To Write.
A lot. Every day if you can. Don’t worry if it’s trash. Nobody has to see it until after you clean it up a bit.
Just do the work. Write your little fingers off.
Once you do that, you’re a writer, baby.
Welcome to the club.