Becoming a writer is easy; all you have to do is write. However, for some reason, many writers, especially beginners, have a very hard time speaking publicly about their occupation; they even have trouble admitting to themselves that they are writers; it seems to them as if they are part of some secret cult, but they are not, and it doesn‘t always have to be like that.
When did it all start?
If I remember well, I was 8 years old the first time I decided to become a writer. I loved telling stories and I bought a notebook in which I would later write the first pages of my unfinished novel; one of many, to be honest.
Later on, I would occasionally start writing a novel or a story, and I would never finish it. Sometimes, I would keep a diary then I would stop. Somehow, I always knew that I want to be a writer, but the hard part was realizing that I already was one.
I can still remember the day when I made a deal with myself that this time I am going to turn the novel idea into an actual book and print it. I was 26 years old, graduated from college, without a job and with a big dream of becoming a writer and I wasn‘t doing anything about it. Instead of writing, I would play games and spend time on social media.
Then, one day I sad to myself:
That’s enough I want to do something with my life, I want to write a novel. I don’t care what anybody else thinks. I don’t care if they think that’s not going to pay off or anything like that; I just want to be a writer.
I still couldn‘t call myself a writer
Even when I was writing a novel, I still didn‘t see myself as one. As a matter of fact, I was ashamed to tell that to anyone and I realized that not minding what other people think is harder than I expected. I thought that people might see me as crazy, because
Who am I to be a writer? Why am I so special?
The other thing that made me uncomfortable was the fact that I didn‘t have anything behind me. No stories, no articles in the magazines, nothing except the school and college assignments. Therefore, I thought that if I publish something before my novel, it would help me to identify myself as a writer. And, I published a story and an essay, but it didn‘t help.
When I told my parents what I was up to, their advice was to keep that as a hobby and to get a real job. I listened to their advice, got a temporary job at a soda factory, and felt even less like a writer. At that time, I was facing the battle between a full-time job and writing for the first time in my life and I didn‘t know what to do about it. Eventually, I learned to dedicate certain blocks of time for writing and two years later I‘ve got my novel published.
Not even publishing helped me
Publishing the novel was a huge milestone for me. I thought that now I could call myself a writer but I couldn‘t. I remember filling that information in my facebook profile and for some odd reason feeling like a fraud.
The book promotion
Soon after publishing, I had my one and only book promotion, which happened to be in my hometown. I felt very nervous and I didn‘t know how it will go. I expected to see only a handful of people instead of the crowd which was present. Believe it or not, giving interviews, signing books, reading reviews didn’t help me to identify myself as a writer.
Although I was still failing to see myself as a writer, I learned something from the experience – It was all in my head.
Objectively, I was a writer, I had a book published, several articles, I wasn‘t working in a soda factory anymore, I‘ve got a new job as a copywriter, even my parents realized that their son is a writer, but none of that helped me to accept the fact of who I am.
Once again, I decided to make a deal with myself
From now on, writing will be your main job, because that‘s what writers do, and you are going to get up every morning and write, whether you like it or not, and you are going to call yourself a writer.
Although it sounded more like a threat than a deal, it worked and it happened 23 years after my first attempt at writing. Perhaps I wasn‘t an 8-year-old writer, but I was a writer once I was working on my first novel, but for some reason, I couldn‘t see that and I still don‘t know what is the reason for that.
What is your experience with this issue? I know that a lot of writers have this problem. Please share your experience in the comment‘s section below.
Recently, I‘ve stumbled upon a great book on this topic – You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins.
Honestly, I wish I have read this book a long time ago; it would most certainly help me to identify as a writer, but it is never late for you. Don’t make the same mistake go ahead and read that book.