I am a Writer. Why is that so Hard to Admit?

I am a writer. Why is that so hard to admit?

It should be safe to say I am a writer. After all, I spend a lot of time writing. I write corporate communication pieces; I write a blog; I have written magazine and newspaper articles; I even wrote a novel.

So why do I hesitate to say I am a writer? It’s certainly not embarrassment about writing or a disrespect for the craft; I have a deep admiration for writers. In fact, that may be part of the problem. It feels presumptuous to put myself in the same category as respected writers. So as soon as I say, “I am a writer,” a voice pops into my head, “well, not a real writer.”

If anyone else said that, I would respond, “If you write, you are a writer.” Somehow I’ve developed a different standard for myself—a standard that until now I had never fully defined. So I took a quiet moment recently and asked myself, “What would it take for me to feel like a real writer?” I was a bit surprised at the narrow definition. As it applies to myself, I equate being a writer with being paid to publish. While I have been paid for writing, and I have been published, I have never been paid to publish.

How sad is that? I’ve left myself only one way to success and it happens to be something outside of my direct control. And this arbitrary paid-publishing requirement—it only applies to me. In my world, other bloggers are real writers. Self-published authors are real writers. Just about anyone who puts pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is a real writer. Except for me.

The good news? Since I created the rules—and evidently am the only player in my crazy game—I can change the rules. I can redefine what it means to me to be a writer. To help with that task, I went looking for inspiration. Turns out I’m not the only one asking, “What does it mean to be a writer?” Here are just a few of the answers I found, and guess what, none of them talk about payment or publishing.

Mallory England: Anyone can write, and many who hate writing are forced to attempt it in Freshman Composition courses. However, just writing doesn’t make someone a writer. Like with anything in life, if you want to be a bona fide writer, you have to love it. It has to be where your thoughts wander when you’re alone. It has to be the thing you use for comfort and, sometimes, a mode of escape.

Joel Ricki: It means having a story to tell and a need to tell it. Really, that’s all there is. So, if you think you’re a writer, you probably are.

Duy Truong:
To be a writer means I want to invite you to step into my world: chaotic, imperfect, dazzling. Full of pain, love, determination.

Michael Barnard: I’m a writer as part of my identity, not just someone who does the activity of writing. It’s integral. I do it like I breathe or eat. I apparently can’t not do it, regardless of whether I’m rewarded for it or not. Acknowledging that I was a writer as part of my identity was like getting married. It was just acknowledging a pre-existing state formally to other people. And probably most of them were thinking to themselves, “Well, duh. Took him long enough.”

Do you consider yourself a writer? I’d love to hear what being a writer means to you.
I Am a Writer
Christie
So What, Now What?


From Retirement Reflections:
When Christie first sent me this post, I immediately loved it and could not wait to publish it. I admire her openness, her honesty and mostly her willingness to have this hard conversation with herself. The question that she poses is an important one for all bloggers and writers of every form. The core of her query can be applied to any of our passions and, I believe, can help give us a better understanding of ourselves. I look forward to reading your comments on this topic. Next week we welcome back Sue from Sizzling Toward Sixty and Beyond. Are you currently feeling slightly off-track or floundering due to ‘disrupted routines’ during the recent festive season? If so, you will not want to miss Sue’s post on “Finding Your Mojo After a Holiday.” I look forward to seeing you there!

88 Replies to “I am a Writer. Why is that so Hard to Admit?”

  1. Well this one hit home! When I worked I wrote policies, letters, legal briefs, all sorts of things and I was paid yet I never considered myself a writer. It’s not even a highlight on my old resume (and it should have been). The concept of being paid to publish haunts writers. It may be how an out of work actor feels while they are waiting tables. I spent a lot of time writing now that I’m retired (all fun stuff…no more employee policies or “thou shalt now” memos). When someone asks me what I do “with all my time” I respond that I write. I find most people are kinder to me than I am.

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    1. Titles are a funny thing, aren’t they Kate? Particularly those that we choose for ourselves. I, for one, am thoroughly enjoying your writing. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post.

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    2. Hi, Kate – This post really hit home for me as well. Like you, I wrote heaps of stuff for work (documents, policies, guides….including two ebooks on International-Mindedness, written with a team, that you can still download from iTunes iBook Store). Although I easily say that I ‘write,’ or that I am a ‘blogger,’ I avoid the term ‘writer’ completely. Like you, and Christie, I agree that we are usually our harshest critics and that others are usually kinder to us than we are to ourselves. Thank you for commenting on Christie’s thought-provoking post.

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  2. Hi Christie, To me someone who writes is a writer, regardless of whether s/he chooses to publish and/ or get paid for his or her work. Writing is a creative activity and people who have this creative bend do it for enjoyment and/ or to let it out because their soul, mind and body need to. A writer may pause writing for a while but always picks it up at a later point in time because it’s in their DNA. The topic and the format may vary but the writing and thinking process are there. I see myself a s writer. My writing may resonate with someone or no one and I’m fine with it either way. Thanks, Donna, for featuring Christie’s writing.

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    1. Natalie, thank you for sharing your thoughts on writing being about the creative act, not necessarily the finished product. I definitely feel like writing is in my DNA. I’ve changed how I fulfill the instinct to write over the years, but I am always writing something. I love blogging because it allows me to write in short blocks and to be exposed to so many other writers and their work. I often find something that resonates with me, including on your blog. Have a lovely Sunday!

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  3. Like Kate, I have no problem saying I write. I don’t say, “I’m a writer.” Definitely not, “I’m an author.” Semantics? I don’t think so.
    For me, “I write.” says hobby while “I’m a writer.” says profession.
    The difference between hobby and profession? Or as Christie put it, what would it take for me to call myself a writer?
    A paycheque? That would certainly help my self-perception as a writer, but no.
    The real problem is quality. I don’t think I write well enough to call myself a writer.
    I’m not very good at patting myself on the back. I’m working on it, but in the meantime I have a great hobby 🙂

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    1. Hi Aimer. Thank you for sharing your viewpoint. This is one of the things I love about guest posting for Donna–it creates a conversation, and I get to “meet” new bloggers. (I will be stopping by your blog soon.) I agree the title “writer” feels weightier than simply saying I write. However, an argument could also be made that if you write, you are a writer. Regardless of semantics, writing is a great hobby, an emotional outlet, and a lovely way to get to know each other. Nice to meet you!

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    2. Hi, Aimer – Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I definitely consider you an ‘author’ and a ‘real writer’…. without question! I agree that true writers and artists are usually toughest on themselves (as you and Christie so aptly prove).

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  4. Very interesting and thought-provoking post. I go back-and-forth with this, as I do with being a “photographer.” I don’t get paid for either advocation, but I do love both. I did a lot of writing when I was working, but I didn’t consider myself a writer, it was just part of my job as a marketing professional. Now that I’m retired, I guess I am a lot of things: writer, photographer, researcher, chef, explorer, artist, party planner, designer. You can call me anything – or not – just don’t call me back to work 😄

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    1. Thanks for making me smile with that last line, Janis. I just got back from a lovely vacation with mostly retired couples. I have to return to work on Monday, and I’m jealous of all of you! 🙂 I am grateful for a job to go back to, though, and a chance to prepare a little more for my not-too-distant future retirement. In the meantime, I hope you continue to share your many avocations with us!

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    2. Hi, Janis – The last line of your comment made me laugh out loud. So funny and so true! What I enjoy most about retirement is that we can be so many things — and we can engage or disengage in each endeavor with varying degrees. When I wrote for work, I had a narrow scope and a deadline. Now the sky’s the limit. I can change directions, scrape what I’m working, or dig in deep with that single focus at any time. How can you not love that?!

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  5. Thank you, Donna, for your kind words and for the opportunity to share my musings on Retirement Reflections. Your readers always have such thoughtful comments. What a great way to start the new year!

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    1. You’re very welcome, Christie. Thank you for your very thought-provoking post. I love the people who hang out in this corner of the blogosphere. I was delighted to share your post with them and greatly looked forward to their thoughts.

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  6. I’ve struggled with this as well! I wrote extensively in my career – mostly technical writing. In retirement I realized I enjoyed writing and it was one of the things I can get lost in (that’s an indication of passion/flow!). I even took some creative writing classes… to push beyond the technical. Started writing a blog – and hit 100 posts today (OMG!). And I even have a book drafted (needs editing!). But still I cannot call myself a writer. I’ve been able to at least call myself a blogger. I think it’s an indication that it’s only a hobby (no paycheck!) and my writing is not to the quality I expect from a “real writer”. Both pretty weighty elements, as you commented!

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    1. Congratulations on your 100th post! That’s a lot of writing. And writing a book is a monumental task. I have written a novel based on my mother’s life homesteading in 1950s Fairbanks, Alaska (which also needs editing). Getting it all on paper was such a commitment, it’s part of what lead me to blogging–the ability to complete smaller pieces. Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments.

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    2. Hi, Pat – Congratulations on your 100th post! That’s very exciting.
      I remember a past post of yours where you discussed this topic, so I was very interested to read your comments today. I love your writing on your blog and look forward to reading your book as soon as it is ready.

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  7. Years ago, I read a quote that said, “If you write, you’re a writer.” I’ve struggled with this for years. My second book will be published by Harlequin in 2018 and I’ve had several stories published in magazines, yet I never refer to myself as an author or writer, except in my bio. Go figure! Perhaps it’s because my writing is a hobby that I just happen to be fortunate enough to receive compensation. I would never depend on that income to pay my mortgage and other bills, if I did, there’s no doubt my creativity would dry up and writing would no longer be enjoyable.
    Thanks for addressing this common quandary for many, Christie!

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    1. Hi, Jill – I love the quote that you shared, yet agree that it is hardest to apply to ourselves. I admire how much you have accomplished as a writer while holding done a full-time non-writing job during the day. You are an inspiration to so many!

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    2. Jill, it just occurred to me that this goes back to the question of identifying ourselves by what we do for a living (financially). When people ask us “What do you do?” Our first response, and probably their expectation, is usually a description of our jobs. I wonder why that is when we are so much more than a career? Thanks for your sharing your thoughts on this topic.

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    1. I think you are right Suz–a lot of it comes down to comparing ourselves to others and fear that they are judging us. I’m working on that in all areas of my life. And getting better. For me, self-acceptance is one of the joys of getting older. 🙂

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    2. In my experience, that is exactly why, Suz! For me, it’s fear – of not writing well enough, of not having anything important enough to say, of comparing myself to other bloggers. And I’m not sure writing is exactly a “passion” for me, but it’s something …I even bought myself a fountain pen, because I love the way it feels on paper! I must be a writer! ~ Lynn

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      1. You ARE a writer, Lynn. I’m so glad that you’ve returned to blogging (because you are a genuine writer you could not stay away)! Fear and insecurities always try to prevent us from achieving all that we can. Please don’t let them!

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      2. You sound like a real writer to me Lynn!

        And I’ve experienced all the comparisons you listed. Maybe that’s part of becoming a real writer too. Pushing through the fear and writing anyway. Thanks for contributing to the conversation.

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  8. It has taken me a while to declare that I’m a writer, but I have started to do so. And even without cringing or feeling like an imposter. I love writing and having a new idea that sparks a writing session is a true delight for me. I would do it even if no one read it but when they do it is a bonus. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Christie. I think many can relate to it and the difficulty we have claiming our identity as a writer.

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    1. Thanks Molly. It’s encouraging to hear that you have claimed your rightful title of writer. I certainly enjoy your writing. I know that feeling of suddenly having an idea that needs to come out and you can’t wait to share. It’s energizing and delightful. Thanks for commenting. Happy Sunday!

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    2. Hi, Molly – You definitely are a ‘real writer’ in every sense of the word. I agree that most true writers would write even if no one else read their words. Thank you for effectively modeling that we can call ourselves ‘writers’ without cringing or feeling like fakes!

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  9. I really enjoyed your post Christie and the ensuing conversation! I don’t consider myself a writer but after reading Duy Truong’s words: “To be a writer means I want to invite you to step into my world: chaotic, imperfect, dazzling. Full of pain, love, determination” – I’m not so sure as it sounds exactly like what I do in my blogging world, I literally invite people in to share my World!! Great words and I think we’re all selling ourselves short.

    I just love the comment Janis finished with about don’t call me back to work too, made me smile 😊
    Another fab guest post Donna, thanks so much!!

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    1. Hi, Debbie – Duy Truong’s quote resonated with me as well. Isn’t that exactly what we do as bloggers?
      Thank you for your kind comments on this Guest Post Series. Round One was the introduction of my favourite bloggers. My hope for Round Two was for us to engage in deep conversations about topics on which we are passionate. It is exciting to see this second round unfold that way — and more!

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  10. It seems that a lot of people have written things in their job and because it is a job a lot of the types of things we have written are technical. The last major piece of writing I wrote was a school report that took me most of the year to write, and it just about killed me! Why don’t we all take a giant step forward and just call ourselves writers? Recently, I watched a show where the guest who was promoting his latest book talked about how we cannot succeed at what we want to be because we have assumed we can’t do it like, for example, lose weight or not be stressed out. His premise is to physically be what you want to be. If we all act like writers, we can be writers!

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    1. Great point Fran. If we act like writers, and believe we are writers, then we are writers! Also, you have to be willing to be a vulnerable beginner to ever advance beyond that point. You can’t accomplish what you don’t start. Thanks for getting me thinking in a new direction!

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  11. Hi, Fran – Thank you for your very wise comment. Research proves again and again that if we think we cannot do something…we probably can’t. I salute your call to let go of our fears and comparisons and call ourselves what we believe we are and who we want to be.

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  12. Hi Christie! I know exactly how you are thinking – although I only write my blog. However, why is it that we never think what we do is good enough, when others admire and enjoy what we do? I didn’t know you had written books so I’ll need to check them out. My goal is to write an ebook this year but I said that last year! I procrastinate because I don’t think I can write, even though in my working years I had to write policy documents and have written presentations etc. Thank you for inspiring me (as always). Thank you Donna who inspires me as well and also for this lovely series. I’ve loved it so much that as you know I’ve copied the idea this year for my blog. Have a beautiful day and let’s all just give ourselves some much needed love and congratulations!

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    1. Sue, I wrote a novel based on my mother’s life homesteading in 1950s Fairbanks, Alaska. I’ve completed the writing, but not yet the final edit. So far, I do not have an offer to publish. I may consider self-publishing, but again the ego part of me says if a publisher isn’t interested, maybe it’s not good enough. Hmm…

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      1. Hi, Christie – Some self-published books that I’ve read are my favourite of all. If you do not find a publisher that you like, please do not hesitate to self-publish. I definitely want to read your book!

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  13. P.S. My high school friend decided to take a leap of faith and follow a passion of writing when she retired. She has now written 5 books and I’m so proud and inspired by her for finally following her dream. 2 self help and 3 thrillers her name is Toni Pike and I’d recommend her to you.

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    1. Hi, Sue – I had forgotten that Toni was your High School Friend. I’ve come across her several times in this corner of the blogosphere. I agree that she stands as an incredible inspiration of what can be accomplished when we put our minds to it.

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    1. Hi, Kathy – I totally agree. It’s as if Christie was reading my mind too. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I’ve tried to sign up to follow your blog by email (as opposed to WP Reader) is that an option? If so, I would love that (so I do not miss a post)!

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  14. For a period, I never announced to family, or friends that I am a writer, however after over 1000 blog post of flash fiction, short stories, photography, and poetry, it is within the past 12-months that I feel comfortable with announcing what I do in retirement.
    Other writer friends of mine have stated I’m a writer, but I’m sure it was my self-confidence needed to build as I have learned to edit, re-edit, edit some more, re-editing again and always edit seeking a happy medium for the creative writer within me.

    Like many commentators above in my previous career, I never considered myself a writer, even after the tens of thousands of reports I inked by hand with 4-carbons in between along with my bottles of “White-Out.”
    I often joked how I should have bought stock in the “White-out” company based on the amounts I used in the 80’s into the early 90’s.

    As I assemble my current short story novels for self-publication, I feel comfortable with my passion as a writer who loves to read.

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    1. Ooohh, white-out and carbon-copies….I remember the days well! You make great points about needing to built confidence as writers….and it often being hardest to share our work with close friends and family. Thanks so much for dropping by, Marty. Your comments have been very helpful.

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      1. I prepared my husband’s thesis for publication on an IBM Selectric! Don’t you know that I was thrilled to throw the white out right out the window! As for writing, you are so correct that it is hardest to share our work with friends and family. My best friend’s comment was, “Why would you want to do something like that [write a blog], and my family DO NOT YET KNOW about an Encore Voyage. I figure maybe when I have 10 or 20 thousand page views…Lynn

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      2. Hi, Lynn – I know other bloggers who have not told their close friends/family about their blog. I, on the other hand, (shamelessly) share with everyone I know! If they are not interested in reading, I’m not offended. But it is surprising how many friends and family truly embrace it, read regularly and are very complimentary. You never know until you give them a chance!

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    2. Ah yes, carbon copies and White-out, I remember them well. With years of writing behind you and short story novels in the works, you’ve definitely earned the title of writer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, Marty.

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  15. Christie, your post has made me stop and think that perhaps this ‘crisis of identity’ is part of my recent problem blogging. I’m struggling to find ‘my voice’ again.
    We tend to be really hard on ourselves and carry around a feeling of being a fraud. I too don’t feel like I’m a writer, and yet I’m writing all the time … but most of it never sees an audience.

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    1. Hi, Joanne – I am sorry to hear that you have been struggling to find your voice again. I greatly enjoy your posts, have learned a great deal from them, and miss them in their absence. Since I am a real reader, you must be a real writer. Yes?

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    2. Joanne, thanks for your openness about your struggles finding your voice. I think we all go through identity crises on occasion to varying degrees. The good news is that’s where a lot of the growth happens. I look forward to reading more from you, Joanne the Writer. 🙂

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  16. This post from Christie spoke straight to my heart, Donna. Less than a week ago we had friends (who are also our neighbors) over for dinner. During the course of the night the husband asked me whether I was working and for the first time ever I said. Yes, I’m a writer. It just came straight out of me. In the past I’ve played it down, worried about what people thought and believed people thought it wasn’t a real job. Just a hobby. But it’s my passion and finally I’m embracing it, no holds barred. I love it and I’m not hiding it from the world anymore. But it took 52 years to get to this place! Wonderful, wonderful post and I love how you have different writers voices here. Writers unite! 🙂

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    1. Thank you Miriam. I love it when I read pieces that speak directly to me, and when I can reach someone else with my own writing, all the better. How wonderful that you have embraced your identity as a writer. You are an inspiration.

      And, Donna, I couldn’t agree more that this series is a wonderful collection of writers’ voices, both the guest hosts and the discussions that develop among your followers. Thank you.

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    2. Hi, Miriam – You are, without question, a ‘writer’ in every sense of the word….and you have a beautiful portfolio to prove it! I am glad that you are now embracing this identity full-on. Thank you for sharing your story with us–it is very inspirational!

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  17. Hi Christie and Donna! This is such an important topic for all of us who consider ourselves to be writers–but just don’t have the courage to claim it. It took me YEARS to finally say I was a writer and I’m happy to say that I’m finally able to do it without hesitation. And much of it had to do with that idea you mention–that unless I’m getting money for it–it doesn’t count. But then, I did get paid and I STILL couldn’t claim it–both in paid magazine articles and even two published books by traditional publishers. I have finally decided that what was holding me back was little ‘ol me! I kept comparing myself to the best writers I knew and I knew I didn’t compare. I sort of ignored my own progress, kept focused on the fact that I didn’t “study” writing or have a degree, and held the erroneous belief that once I was a real writer all my doubts would disappear. Ha! At some point (not that long ago) it just started clicking. I started realizing that my progress was important and that I might not be the best writer out there…but I was so much better than when I started. Plus, if one person reads my blog and gets something from it–then I have acheived my intentions for writing. And yes, I am now a writer–and I’ll bet you are too! Thanks for reminding me! ~Kathy

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    1. Kathy, thanks for sharing your inspiring story. It was encouraging to hear that you struggled, but have now embraced, the title of writer. It was also enlightening for me to hear that even after you reached the goal of paid publishing, the switch wasn’t magically thrown. It really is internal forces, nothing external, that hold us back. I love the idea of measuring our writing against our early efforts, not others. Again, this is what I love about blogging–the support and input we share with each other. Thank you!

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  18. Hi, Kathy – I respect you deeply as an author and as a friend, so I was very interested in what you would have to say about this topic. I was hoping that you would comment. I assumed that you always knew that you were a writer. It was very encouraging to read your story. I agree that it is often ourselves — our fears, our insecurities, and our self-comparisons — that hold us back from being who we truly can be. I also agree that if our writing resonates with one other person, or just provides much-needed release for our own soul, then it is all worthwhile and writers we are. Thank you again for sharing this!

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  19. Hi Christie,
    When people ask me what I’m going to do in retirement, I say, “I enjoy writing, so I’ll be doing a lot of writing.”
    Their comment usually goes something like this. “Oh, I didn’t you like to write. What do you write?”
    “I have a blog.”
    “You have a blog?” They seem shocked
    It seems for some reason others don’t see me as a writer, so I don’t see myself that way either. Then they read my blog.
    And I become a writer.

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  20. Such an interesting comment thread.
    I NEVER say that I’m a writer, and since you asked, I’ve thought about why.
    1. I think I have the idea that I have to be paid to write in order to really be a writer.
    2. I spend a lot of time writing, but it’s not my main thing because I’m homeschooling my kids and doing all the mum stuff with most of my day.
    3. I have a very high threshold for what I would have to do in order to qualify as a “writer,” as in maybe having a book published — or even maybe more than one book.
    Thanks for asking the question to get me thinking about this.

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    1. Hi, Michele – Thank you so much for dropping by and adding to this comment thread. I greatly appreciate your point of view. I agree with you that we are each composed of many, many layers. The ‘top layers’ consume so much of our time that it is often hard to comfortably define ourselves with one of other layers. I am off to check out your site now.

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    2. It has been very interesting to read everyone’s thoughts. Thanks for adding yours. I do think part of the challenge is focusing on one aspect of who we are. If I say I am a writer does that rule out all of the other things I am?

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  21. Hi Christie and Donna, in scrolling through the 6000 comments, I see I reside with many who ask the same question. Identity is that funny thing especially when we prefer to identify ourselves with work or what we “do” as a vocation. Writing slips into the nether world of work and leisure, so no wonder many of us struggle with that? As bloggers, we quickly admit that we are, but writing? I still struggle with “photographer” so it is a quandary. When I prepare all my lectures which requires a ton of writing and creating slides with words so that it makes sense, not to mention the writing of the assignments, course syllabus, etc. Not fiction, more like technical, but a form of writing nonetheless, at the end of a day creating these forms and slides, I find myself exhausted! Yes, we are writers…! We blog, we write , we connect–after all writing all these comments is…? Cheers to a thought-provoking post and hope more people find it easier to accept writing as an important identity!

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    1. Hi Terri. Thanks for your sharing your thoughts on the subject. I have found this whole conversation very enlightening . As you pointed out, even crafting these comments is writing. If you accept the premise that to write makes you a writer, we’re all writers!

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  22. Hi, Terri – I think that you added a couple extra digits to the number of comments received…but I agree that Christie’s post generated a very active and engaging comment thread! Although I believe being a writer is in my DNA, I never use that term to describe myself. You are right, the term ‘blogger’ is much easier to use. I share your hope that Christie’s post has made it easier for all of us (both readers and writers) to accept writers for who they are. Thank you for stopping by and sharing this.

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  23. For me, before publishing my first collection of short stories, I struggled with calling myself an author. Then I found myself asking if an author and a writer were the same thing. I wrote a similar post a few years ago and got an array of answers. I never really got the answer as it seems that what one calls themselves is very much an individual thing. Do I now call myself an author when people ask what I do? No. It seems I’m now a blogger because that is where I concentrate most of the art of writing.

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    1. Hi, Hugh – I greatly appreciate your comments on this post. To me, you are definitely a writer, an author and a blogger in every sense of each word. I agree that what we choose to call ourselves is an individual thing. I also go with ‘blogger’ because it is the main form of writing that I am currently doing.

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    2. Thanks for adding your voice to this conversation, Hugh. I agree how we refer to ourselves is a personal thing and changes over time. For now, I am (in no particular order) a writer, an insurance executive, a blogger, a daughter, a mother, a wife, a grandmother, and a runner. I wonder what response I’d get if I answered that way next time someone asks me what I do? 🙂

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      1. You’d probably get a strange look, Christie! 😀 However, when asked the question ‘What do you do?’ by somebody we don’t know or have only met once or twice, I think that most people want to know what it is we do for a living. I can answer that with the words ‘I’m retired’. Now you have me asking myself why I don’t say “I’m a Blogger”? Your post is very thought-provoking.

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      2. Thanks, Hugh. I agree that Christie’s question is very thought-provoking. And, as revealed in this comment thread, the answer is not always straight-forward. I believe that you and I are similar in the fact that we wake up each morning shouting “Yippee, I’m retired”! Both of us connote the word ‘retirement’ to be very positive – but not everyone does. It would be a great test for us to now answer the “What do you do” question, by saying “I am a writer” or “I am a blogger”. It would then be very interesting to compare the responses that we receive.

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      3. Very true, Donna. However, I don’t know about you, when I first decided to blog I had no intention of earning any money from it. That still stands today, but I know of many bloggers who do earn money from it. Many even give advice on how to make money from it, but it’s something that has never interested me. However, I think I’d still stick with saying I’m a blogger. 😀

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  24. I left a long comment with my iPad, but it was lost. The error message back was “Blocked as suspected bot”. Trying again from my computer. The gist of it was this:

    Hi Christie – I can totally relate to this blog post. For years, I didn’t allow myself to be called a writer either, while every other blogger and writer would fit that description in my book. It/I would be an insult to all of the “real” writers… When traveling, I had to fill out “profession” boxes. Since I hadn’t taught in ages, the only other thing I could come up with was “freelance writer”. Not because of my blogs, translation work, daily diaries for 25+ years, massive emails, travel reports or anything else that I wrote for hours a day, but for the fact that my stories and photos have been published in “real” magazines and I was paid for it. Step one! 🙂 I do write every day, for most of the day. I have to, just like in one of those quotes you mentioned.

    Then, I think that there is a difference between a writer and an author. I won’t call myself an author, until I have written and published a book, with a readership. Maybe that could be a next blog post: are you an author? 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi, Liesbet –
      Thank you for taking the time to comment again. I greatly appreciate it. After my week in Blogging Hell, I’ve been holding my breath that my blog will not generate any more error message. Hopefully yours was a one off!
      You make several great points here. ‘Freelance Writer’ is an excellent term — you are definitely that…and much more. Since you write for a large portion of every day you truly a genuine writer. I look forward to reading your published work!

      Like

  25. Yes, Liesbet, thanks for taking the time to re-write your comment. I’ve been there and know the frustration. I’m glad you’ve come to accept your title as freelance writer. I definitely enjoy reading your writing.

    Like

  26. It took me a long time to say that I was a writer, too. Eventually I realized that my ability to write was not contingent upon where I put my writing. A blog is merely another form of communication, like a magazine or a memoir or a letter. Light bulb moment. Glad that it happened for you, too.

    Like

  27. Christie — wow! This post sounds just like the little voice in my head that gives all the reasons that I can’t consider myself a “real” writer. I love the question that you posed to yourself about what it would take for you to be able to consider yourself a writer/real writer. So I asked myself that question. It turns out that in my twisted mind, I would have to publish a literary book in order to warrant that title. So for me that would mean that nearly ten years of blogging doesn’t count, writing almost everyday for most of my adult life doesn’t count, and publishing scholarly articles and a scholarly book doesn’t count. But wait — I’ve published a book of poetry. So why can’t I call myself a writer? I think I’ve put the ideal of “being a writer” on such a high pedestal that it’s always out of reach.

    I’ve claimed the self-descriptor “a writer” when I describe myself on my blog. But I still have never once called myself a writer in face-to-face conversation with anyone.

    Thanks for writing this thought provoking post.

    Jude

    Like

    1. Hi, Jude – You make a great point. So many bloggers who have commented on this point also shared that they just can’t call themselves “writers” (when they can easily apply this term to others who write the same or less than they do). Your thought that we, as bloggers, VALUE good writing and writers so greatly, that it is then impossible to use this term for ourselves. That makes total sense!

      Like

    2. It seems you’re inner voice has an even stricter definition of writer than mine. I’d love to say I’d published a book of poetry. Of course, truth be told, I think you hit the nail on the head. We put writers on such a high pedestal, we can never attain the title.

      Like

  28. ♥ Congrats on being published Christie, that’s awesome! I think anyone who writes and puts it “out there” is a writer. It doesn’t matter if it’s on a blog, in ebook form, hard cover, etc…anyone who does it is a writer. And WOW, if I could put my dreams (nightmares) down on paper or into a word document, they might rival Stephen King! That will never happen though 😦 Thanks Donna! Shared onto Fb, G+, Pn, and Tw ♥

    Like

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