Are you a Writer?
What is it that we are afraid of when uttering the words, “I am a writer.” Do we expect the job-police to jump out and contradict us? Are we ashamed of our passion for writing? Or do we simply not believe that – when we write – we can be considered ‘a writer’.
It seems to be a common ailment amongst us creatives that we fail to claim the name of ‘Writer’ for ourselves. Instead, we pass the power to label us onto others – be they qualified or not. We wait for someone to tell us we are a writer, and even then we shy away from it.
We seldom challenge other names in this way – you have a child; you are a parent: You teach children; you are a teacher: you go to work; you are a worker. Why do we so consistently shrug off the identity of ‘writer’. Why do we hide behind anonymity and wait for someone to call us out? Why do we transfer the weight of responsibility for being a writer to anyone but ourselves?
What’s in a Name?
I’ve spoken to lots of writers who refute the name. They brush it off with the excuse that they don’t write often enough, or haven’t yet completed anything, or even that they are not published. But these are not things that make you a writer. What makes us writers is that we WRITE. That is all.
What is there to be fearful of when we are simply describing ourselves by the label of our actions. Descartes said ‘I think, therefore I am.’ Why can we not also say, “I write, therefore I am a writer?”
We bundle up our self-worth and our potential as authors with the label of ‘writer’ – we question whether we are worthy of the title, but the word does not care who you are, or why you do it. Simply put: We are writers. We write.
Writing as a Writer
It took me a long time to adopt the ‘writer’ identity. I, too, believed that I did not deserve the recognition of calling myself a ‘writer’. But each day, when I sat down to add more words to my manuscript, or create short stories, or even just sketch out the bare bones of a new narrative, it became more difficult to separate myself from the term ‘writer’. Writing is what I was doing, it is what I love doing, and being a writer is an integral part of who I am.
So I’m asking those of you out there who write to claim your rightful (write-ful?) name. Be proud. You are worthy of it. You deserve to acknowledge – for yourself – that you are a writer. Don’t ignore the authority you have simply by writing – you are a writer.
Say it. Claim it, and be proud.
And remember: There is no one but yourself to refute it.
So, tell me, are you a writer?
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