by Bobbie Christmas
When I speak to writers, at times I sense their angst. Some feel embarrassed to admit they are writers, as if being a writer were a disease best left undisclosed.
We writers must believe in ourselves, or who will believe in us? We must take pride in our work. We must demand the respect that is rightfully ours. No longer should we be reluctant to admit we are writers. An old Talmudic saying goes, “If I’m not for me, who will be?”
Some folks think they can’t call themselves writers until they sell or publish something. How can they sell or publish their work, though, until they first write it? How can they write it, without being writers? You do not need to be published or paid before you receive validation. To be a writer, you need only to write.
In my book on creative writing, titled Write In Style: How to Use Your Computer to Improve Your Writing, I devote one chapter to what I call my Bill of Writes for writers. If you don’t feel worthy to call yourself a writer or to demand what you need to become an accomplished writer, my Bill of Writes is for you.
Special to SPAWN, I have agreed to list and explain each item in my Bill of Writes through a series of articles. Below is number one in my Bill of Writes. Watch for the remaining items in future newsletters.
Number One: You Have the Right to Call Yourself a Writer
Have you ever read a self-help book or attended a motivational event? If so, you know you have to believe something before you can manifest it. Once you believe you are a writer, you will write, practice, learn, and hone your craft until you become successful in whatever way you define success. I urge all writers to say, “I am a writer,” and say it with pride and conviction.
Writers tell me they are reluctant to admit they are writers, for fear someone will say, “Really? What have you sold? Have I read anything you wrote?”
Writers do not have to publish to be writers. If we use a pen or sit at a keyboard and type, we are writers.
My cousin and I wrote family newsletters together in our preteen years. In our high school and college years we wrote songs and even performed them, badly, together. We were writers then, and we both still are, even though today she runs a legal office and I write and edit books and articles.
Plan ahead. Practice your “I am a writer” answer. The next time someone asks what you do, answer with pride. Your answer might be, “I sell life insurance for Acme Mutual, I run a household, and I write children’s books.” It might be, “I am a husband, a father, a poet, and a paramedic.” My answer is, “I am a writer, a book editor, and the owner of Zebra Communications.”
If someone asks what you have sold, answer with a positive response, even if it is only “I’m working on it.” Your answer might be, “My letter to the editor appeared in the Metro Times last month.” You do not have to say you received no pay for it. Word your response in a way that gives you the pride and sense of accomplishment you deserve. Practice your answer until you feel comfortable saying it.
Editor’s Note: Watch SPAWN News for more from Bobbie’s Bill of Writes.