"I’m a Writer": Saying It with Confidence (and a Shout-Out to Copyblogger for Making This Post Possible)


And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath


Hi. My name is Paula, and I . . . am a writer.

You know how long it’s taken me to muster up the courage to use that sacred word to describe myself, what I do, what I love?

Try 37 years.

I’ve always loved words. Big words, little words, common nouns and proper nouns. Diagram sentences? Why yes, thank you, don’t mind if I do!

And books . . . I love everything about books. The beauty of the cover, the feel of the paper between my fingers, the foreplay-like anticipation of moving from back cover to front cover to preface and finally breathing in that pivotal first sentence. I mean, why is it that I can remember my public library card number from more than three decades ago (2838), but I can’t remember to put money in my son’s lunch account?

But despite studying writing, teaching writing, and actually writing and editing in my “real job,” I still hesitate to call myself a writer. And I know I’m not alone. For some reason we don’t feel worthy to bestow that title upon ourselves until we’ve gotten a “book deal” or 2000 hits a day to our blog or until someone else says, “So, I hear you’re a writer…” Writers seem to be the antithesis of actors. Ask any waitress in L.A. what she does for a living and she’ll likely tell you she’s an actress. Ask any writer what she does for a living and she’ll likely tell you she’s a mom, or a teacher, or a marketing consultant, or a waitress . . . oh, and I do a little writing too.

A friend and I were just talking about this last night. She has been blogging for a year or so but has yet to publish a post. Why? She’s afraid that she’s not good enough. She’s afraid of misspelling “their” or placing a comma in the wrong place. She’s afraid of what people will think.

But the truth is, she’s a writer. Being a writer isn’t about being able to quote Gregg’s Style Manual from memory (although I probably could) or making sure you have a 1-inch indent all the way around your paper. It’s about saying what you want to say the way you want to say it. It’s about voice and passion and resonating with your audience, whether your audience is all 130 gazillion of Oprah’s fans or just your mom. It’s about letting go of fears and owning it with a little attitude: Yeah, that’s right, I’m a writer.

I thought of my friend today as I read this fantastic post from Copyblogger called “7 Bad Writing Habits You Learned in School.” Genius, really. Whether you consider yourself a writer (or are considering considering yourself a writer) or just write the occasional email, you’ll benefit from this post. And Friend ( you know who you are), forget about whether you should use “who” or “whom” and just click the “publish” button! You ARE a writer!

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10 thoughts on “"I’m a Writer": Saying It with Confidence (and a Shout-Out to Copyblogger for Making This Post Possible)”

  1. And I have to add that you are not just a write, you are a GREAT writer. I really enjoy reading your blog posts. It's fresh, funny and interesting. πŸ™‚

  2. The blog about how not to teach writing is very good. When I taught Sarah Plain and Tall we talked about her short sentences and paragraphs. Just because a sentence is long and goes on and on does not make it good or interesting. A good exercise was What can you say in 5 words or less. Let me tell you…they could say plenty!! πŸ™‚
    And my favorite segment on the morning news is My 3 Words.
    Well, as you can tell, I'm not a writer. But I am the mother of a writer πŸ™‚

  3. Yeah, I deleted that previous comment because I accidentally signed in as the wrong user…

    Amy, thank you! You are a great writer, too, my friend! So glad we met!

    Mom, you're so right! (But you are a writer, I have to tell you. Hello?! What about the children's books you write for the grandkids every year?!)

    Andi, um, you're a writer! Your blog is soooo good! You TOTALLY qualify (as if there was some qualification needed in the first place)!

    And My Dear Kara, you are so welcome! Now take my advice!!! πŸ™‚

  4. You & I talked about this very thing at the Type-A Mom Conference. I am glad you have decided to embrace the fact that you are a WRITER! Writers write, and you, my friend, write well!

  5. Bravo! I know we talk about this often. And, as I've told you before, you really could be our Erma Bombeck. Go, girl!

  6. I adore words too. Books, don't even get me started. I've only been blogging a year and I really don't consider myself a writer. I've written less the last few months because I've been in a low place & just didn't feel inspired. Thanks for this call to action.

  7. Colleen, I was so happy to meet you at Type-A Mom!! You are an inspiration to me, and don't think I'm not going to be bugging you for more free advice! πŸ˜‰

    Jody, you're so funny! I just bought a book written by a woman who a reviewer called "the next Erma Bombeck," so I may have to fight her for that title. Better start training…

    Jen, so nice to meet another word lover! I go through many, many times where I can't seem to spit out even a decent sentence. I think the key is to just keep writing and plow through it!

    Miss Sarah V, you're my idol you know, so I think that makes you a writer. πŸ™‚

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