If you’re reading this then you’re probably either a writer or you want to be a writer. That’s awesome. Being a writer is a tough life, a solitary life.
And, apparently, it’s something that lots of us are doing in secret. Oh sure, you’ll have the wannabes tell you, “Oh, I’m writing a book.” Sure you are, sweetie, just like you’re training to be in the 2020 Olympics. Lots of people say they’re writing a book.
How many people introduce themselves as a writer?
I do. I tell people what I do for a living, too, but that’s secondary. My name is Nicole Luttrell, I’m a writer. I started this blog out by telling you so, four years ago.
Today I want you to say it. No more hedging, no more playing around. Stop wanting to be a writer, and write. And tell people you’re a writer.
Here are five reasons you should start introducing yourself as a writer today.
It feels good
It really does, once you get used to it. Say it in front of the mirror if you need to, to get accustomed. I am a writer. I am also many other things, but I am a writer. It feels really good to own who you are.
I could tell you about my day job. It’s a good job, and I like it. I help people and I work for a company I respect. But at the end of the day, that job isn’t what I want to be known for. It’s not who I am. It’s what I do to keep the lights on.
What I am is a writer, and I should be honest about that. To be dishonest in this world is just not sustainable.
It gives people the opportunity to understand you
Having a writer in your life is a confusing thing. We do a lot that requires explanation and understanding.
Why are you reading five newsletters every morning?
Why are you looking up bullet wounds?
Why are you staring at that stranger in the coffee shop?
Why are you asking me about different kinds of commercial planes?
Why does your notebook need to come with us on the canoe trip?
Why are you up at five in the morning, blaring classical music?
Why are there five hundred index cards on the living room floor?
Why are you always typing something on your phone?
Why have you stopped dead in the store to pull out your notebook, that person almost ran into you.
Friends and family should understand that you are a writer. You are going to do weird things that are part of being a writer. Because when you’re a writer, you’re a writer all the time. It’s not something you do just when you’re at your computer. You’re always listening to people as they walk by, to hear a snippet of their conversation. You’re always seeking out new stories, new circumstances, new ideas. You’re always working out plot issues in your head, or thinking the best writing question of all, what if. You’re never not writing, and that can be hard for a nonwriter to understand. If you teach them to understand this about you, it will be easier.
Why is my spouse taking notes on the conversation the couple in the next booth is having? She’s a writer.
It opens up people to help you
A beautiful thing has happened to me since I’ve started telling people I’m a writer. They want to help me. My friends and co-workers who understand what I do are more than open to talking to me about things they know about. Maybe it’s because they want to help. Maybe it’s because they like it when people listen to their experiences. Maybe it’s just because we all like being asked questions about ourselves. Whatever the reason, my wonderful friends will answer just about any question I ask.
Letting people know what you’re aiming for in life means that if they can help you, they will. Being open and honest about being a writer has meant that other people around me have declared themselves writers as well. Like the manager of my bank, or a friend at work. We can now reach out and help each other, and I don’t know that that would have happened if I wasn’t so loud about being a writer all the damn time.
The universe is listening
Okay, I’m going to get a little moon child, crystals and chakras on you for a minute. But I think this is totally true, and I’ll fight you on it.
When you are open and honest about what you want from life, and when you’re working towards it, the universe will listen, and it will open up opportunities for you. I’ve stumbled upon so many little things to help me along this writing journey. I have found myself in the right place at the right time to end up on podcasts or get a chance to write pieces for places I didn’t ever consider. I’ve been blessed to have friends in this little community who have been well placed to help me. I’ve been blessed to have the road made easier before me in my writing career.
I don’t think this was because I’m some fantastic writer whose words must be read. I believe it’s because the universe is listening to us. And if we are ready, to be honest about what we want, who we are, and what we’re willing to do to combine those two things, then it’s ready to help.
So start today. When someone asks what you do, tell them you’re a writer. Be prepared for followup questions, everyone’s fascinated by this. Say you’re a writer even if you don’t really believe it yet. Especially if you don’t believe it yet. Because if you say it often enough, you’ll start to believe it yourself.
Don’t forget, we’re starting the 10 Days of writing challenge on Saturday October 20th. Have you signed up yet? Join us and find your deepest, truest writing.
Oh, I find this so hard. And it does impact on my writing because, until I’m honest and start owning my profession (I am a writer) I’ll continue to put it second in a way I wouldn’t another job. I’ll continue to run errands for others or accept coffee invitations when I should be saying, “sorry, I’ve got to work.” I just can’t get up the guts to do it – and I’ve been writing, seriously, for years. Sigh.
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It’s hard at first, because we don’t expect that other people will understand. But it will come. Even if it’s awkward at first, it will come. I suggest reading Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg. It’s such an inspiring book.