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If You Write, You Are a Writer


If You Write, You Are a Writer

 I remember the day a published author said, “If you write, you are a writer.” That was an eye opener to me. She was speaking to a group of wanna-be writers at a writers’ conference. With that comment she instantly gave us permission to think of ourselves as writers. It took a while, but I gradually began to respond, “I’m a writer,” I responded when someone asked “What do you do?”  Always before, depending on what stage of my life I would respond, “I’m a teacher or administrator,” or “I’m a decorator.” It took courage to begin saying “I’m a writer.” I felt like an imposter. Everyone is interested to meet a writer. Of course, I had to brace for the next questions, “What do you write?” and “Is it published?” “Where can I find it?” In the beginning I was writing personal essays. That response usually killed their interest. With more experience and focus to my writing I began writing a memoir. “I’m writing a memoir,” usually evoked a faint smile and a changed subject. No one wanted to directly say, “So what’s so special about your life?”

After attending writing workshops and joining writing groups I felt more like one of them—a writer. I  designed business cards with my name and address and WRITER boldly printed under my name. By doing the cards on the computer, I could add information as needed. One of my first writing endeavors was writing a column for a local newspaper on decorating—a topic taken from my profession as a decorator. I added WRITER/COLUMNIST to my business card.  Newspaper editors are eager to have new column ideas. Write what you know and share it whether it is your hobby or your profession. You feel like a bona fide writer when you see your byline in print.

For one of my writing groups I volunteered to write a monthly newsletter—The Collective Connection—with writing tips and member news. Writing groups are wonderful support for new writers. I recommend joining or starting a writing group. I became a member of The Tennessee Writers Alliance and attended their conference. I added member TWA to my card. As a member of The Council for the Written Word, a writing group, I submitted a story for an anthology and had it accepted for publication. With that accomplishment, I proudly added AUTHOR under my name.

Publishing is not necessarily the goal of every writer. Writing for many is simply for their own pleasure. For some, as Pulitzer Prize nominee poet Stellasue Lee says, “writing is like breathing, I have to do it.”  She breathed life into two recent poetry books, Crossing the Double Yellow Line and Firecracker Red.

 If you enjoy writing, write. If you write, you are a writer.

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