In a recent conversation with one of the mothers at my son’s new school, she looked at me and asked ‘You don’t work?’ I quickly replied that I do casual work. Straight away, I jumped into the safe, acceptable job, rather than tell her I’m a writer.
I have been down this road a number of times over the years. During my mother’s generation, one was frowned upon if women went to work, rather than stay at home and look after the kids. Now it’s the complete opposite; I may not get dirty looks, but I can certainly feel their scorn. They think I stay at home and do nothing all day. Very few know I write, and only a handful know that I study. It is those mothers who don’t know me that are always so quick to judge.
Yet, a tiny voice inside my head refuses to allow me to tell anyone that I write. That voice is the voice of self-confidence. Because I am just starting to get myself out there and have very little publishing credits, I believe I sound like a fraud in saying I’m a writer. I know how it would sound. People would ask me what I’ve written (meaning published) and I would reply very little. They would look dubious, and I would feel ashamed. Rather than let that happen, I continue to be in an acceptable role.
And so I continue to be a writer in progress; practicing my craft and trying to make it as perfect as I possibly can. Putting my work out there is the first step to self-confidence and letting people know who I am: a writer.
Image by Debbie Johansson.