Wednesday, December 14, 2011

If it Walks Like a Writer, and Talks Like a Writer...

Let's face it, being a "pre-published writer" can be a tricky thing.  We have all probably been in social situations where you tell someone you are a writer and the conversation goes as such:

Person You Just Met: are a writer?
You:  Yes.
Person You Just Met:  What do you write?
You:  Children's Picture Books, mostly.
Person You Just Met:  Wow!  That's wonderful!  Would I have heard of anything you have written?
You:  Not unless you broke into my computer!  (insert awkward laugh).
(Cue crickets to serenade the awkwardness)
You:  No actually, I am pre-published.
Person You Just Met:  Oh....

Have a few of these conversations and its no wonder that many of us often have trouble referring to ourselves as writers.  At least I know I do.

But the truth is, I am a writer!  And this week I embarked on a mission to feel like a writer everyday.  Now, this is different from "writing daily"..although I try to do that, too.  But I am talking about feeling like a writer everyday.

What does that entail?

First, I realize that it entails treating yourself as a writer.  For me, that means the following:
  • taking time to research (ie. reading published works, reading others' blogs about the craft, reading trade publications)
  • carrying a notebook around at all times and jotting down any ideas that come to me on the train or in the grocery store, etc.
  • and obviously, writing daily...or as much as possible.  Meaning, always finding a project to be working on...whether that is a homework assignment, a contest entry, or simply an idea you had for the next story.
Second, look for ways for others to treat you as a writer.  This means putting yourself in a community of other like-minded people who will think of you as a writer.  Examples would be:

  • Enroll in a class
  • Blog
  • Enter a contest
  • Submit your work
  • Attend a critique group
  • Go to a seminar/conference
  • Celebrate your accomplishments with your friends and family
The more you develop the habit of treating yourself and having others treat you as a writer, the more it solidifies this identity for you. time you sit down to read some blogs or read a published work...think of it as exploring the field.  Going to the library is professional work.  Hanging at the playground with your kids is research.  When you think like this, its easy to feel like a real writer every day.

What have you done so far this week to be treated by yourself or others as a writer?  What will you do before the end of the week?

Happy Writing everyone!


  1. Bravo!! Man, I was reeeally struggling with this, this week. You just gave me some fantastic pointers! I have had that conversation, it seems, every day for the last year. Even in front of my ENTIRE church! Yep. Marcie, this is wonderful. You're my new #1 writer best friend!

  2. I think we have probably all been down this road at some point, so we are not alone. You have certainly pointed out some useful tips. Thanks for sharing Marcie.

  3. Great post! I hate to say that even people you know well make this mistake. As you probably know by now, I've entered a contest with an e-publisher, and my hometown paper called me to do a story about it. My husband said, "You did make it clear that you're not a REAL author, right? Because you haven't published anything yet."

    And I said, "No, I did NOT make it clear that I'm not a real author because I AM a real author, published or not."

    It felt so good to say that, but I'm not sure I would have been able to even a year ago. People equate being a writer or being an author with being published, but that's just not the case.

  4. P.S. Lest anyone think my husband is a complete jerk, he is VERY supportive of my writing. He just has a very business-like mind. If you're not making money, how can it be a career? :-) Like I said, I've educated him otherwise...

  5. Love it, signed up, will definitely be back! I also read your other post about how much you've accomplished in three months -- inspiring and motivational! As for how I've treated myself as a writer lately? First I did the PiBoIdMo, then signed up for 12x12, then finally joined SCBWI...and from there a whole new world has opened up. I have been twiddling with my poetry and PB blog for A YEAR and it's still not up -- but "meeting" all you writers has given me an incredible buzz of energy, and I have vowed to have that sucker up by January. Cannot wait to join your ranks. Thanks so much for this awesome post!

  6. Such a great post. I have done the following:
    Enrolled in a class
    Just starteda writing Blog
    Entered a contest
    Submitted mys work
    Attend a critique groups
    Go to a seminar/conference
    Celebrated accomplishments with your friends and family...

    and I still feel a bit sheepish and silly for saying I want to be/am going to be a children's author. Thanks for this little pep talk!

  7. In case your wondering, from the other side of the street, even when you're published there are days when it's hard to feel like a writer! I love this post. It's a wonderful, concrete list of things you can do to ground yourself in who you are! And really, as long as you're writing, you're a writer :)

  8. Hi there. You don't know me, but first off, I must say, that this post is something I can really relate to as an aspiring author myself.. In fact, I wrote on this same subject in my own blog: I get eye rolls when I go to the children's section of the library to do some "research"!

    Second of all, if you were to visit my blog, you would see that you and I both have excellent taste in graphic design! I hope to see you there!

    P.S. How did you find your critique group?

  9. Marcie- Oh my goodness! I can't name one part of this post that wasn't inspirational or provided an 'Oh -- that's happened to me' moment. Very insightful. (And, in reading your blog I'm doing 'writerly research' right now. It feels good!)