Sometimes, we don’t know what to call ourselves. Are we writers, novelists, authors, all of the above? When people ask us we often just shrug and say “I write stuff I guess…” or just kind of “I’m a writer but not published or anything” Does it matter what we call ourselves or what we say, as long as we write?
I used to struggle with calling myself a writer. I thought that no one would care, no one would appreciate it unless I had something to show for it. I used to write in secret, and I used to let only one person, or a few read my works (and those were first drafts!). I still don’t completely share all of my works yet, but maybe someday I will.
I started to call myself a writer pretty recently, when more people started calling me a writer. As I got older, I got more comfortable calling myself a writer, telling people what I do, what I want to do, what I feel I must do to enjoy this one life I have. So now, when people ask, first I say I’m a soon-to-be nurse (since I’m technically waiting to take the test that will make me a real practicing nurse), and then I say I’m a writer. Depending on who asks, it’s usually switched. I have been a writer way longer than I have ever even wanted to be a nurse.
An author, in my mind, is someone who makes money from their writing. I am not yet an author, but I want to be. Someday, you will all see my name on bookshelves everywhere. I just have to face the fear and dive into the publishing pool head first. And it is scary. The waiting and the rejection and the possibility of having my words out there is three parts exciting and one part pure and complete terror. So I cannot yet call myself an author, but I will someday.
I made the first step toward calling myself an author today. It’s a baby step, but I researched short story publishing today. There are a lot of choices, and so many more steps, but it was a start. It’s terrifying, but I am so glad I did it. It might be a while, but it is going to happen, and I am going to keep writing until it does happen.
Our fears may be frightening, looming before us like huge gates, holding us back from what we can achieve, but amazing things can happen when we face them. Courage, not fear, is the way we make our dreams come true.
What is your biggest writing fear? How do you plan to face it?