Five Reasons to Call Yourself a Writer and How I Did It

I have been a writer since 1966. I was in middle school at the time. I wrote about two things that affected me then: entering puberty (and everything that goes with it), and science fiction. You can probably guess how those two went together. I asked my mom to read one of them, and, though she didn't show it, I am sure she was scandalized that her own daughter could write such things. It wasn't until the 1980s that I took the bold step of calling myself a Writer. I call it a bold step because I had very little self-confidence. But, I was tired of hiding my talent, gift, calling, whatever you want to call it. I decided that hiding my ability/desire was more painful and embarrassing than admitting it, and I wanted people to know. So, in conversations I began to say, 'I am a Writer.' (And, yes, I did say it with a capital letter.)

Usually, people were polite and asked me what I wrote, but there were some folks that would challenge me with: 'Oh, are you published?' Sometimes that means: 'I only believe you can call yourself a writer if you are published.' So, I would reply, 'Not yet, but give it time!' Then of course I would walk away feeling disgruntled because I was not published, and I could not rub it in their faces by saying 'yes' to their challenge. That did a couple of things to me:

First, it made me begin to analyze my reasons for writing and whether I ultimately had publishing as a goal.
Second, it made me look more critically at my craft, to determine how I could make it better, so I could be published.

There are many reasons to call yourself a writer, but if you are not calling yourself a writer when you know you are one, figure out why. Is it because you don't feel qualified to the title? Why not? Maybe through self analysis you can come to a decision that you are a writer, no matter what anyone else thinks, and that you deserve to be called the owner of your craft. The reasons below are the ones that freed me from censoring myself.

Reasons for calling yourself a writer:
  1. You love to write, and you do so (whether you are published or not).
  2. You read all there is (or all you can afford) about being a good writer and honing your craft.
  3. You take those suggestions and learn how to use them in your writing.
  4. You have partial or finished manuscripts laying in a drawer somewhere.
  5. All of the above is true, even if you have no intention of sharing your work with anyone.

We are all afraid of something, but don't let owning the moniker 'Writer' be one of them.