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.
3 thoughts on “A Writer in Progress.”
It’s a hard call being able to “own” the title writer. I always thought one book would do it, but it took many more. So many reasons for that too, I might write a blog post about the subject myself soon. However, you can “own” being a writer because you are writing and you are published. Next time someone asks you can say – truthfully, ‘Oh, I’ve been published in various magazines and newsletters and I’m currently writing a novel.’ The sooner you start to “own” it, others will too. (Family and long-time friends are hard, knowing you pre-writing, but it comes once you start.) Best wishes, Chris. PS: Absolutely change your “I am an unpublished author” on your website and blog to “I am a published writer”. You are – and absolutely entitled to own it.
Oh Debbie, I know just how you feel. Uttering those words “I’m a writer” is daunting isn’t it? I am like you, without enough publishing credits for ‘the general public’ to take me seriously…at least that is what my head tells me. Keeping up one’s self-confidence can be a constant struggle.My advice is to take the plunge and say it. (I should listen to my own advice 🙂 )
Thanks for the positive words Chris and Lynn. Stepping up and owning the title of writer is hard, but one I aim to make. The positive attitude begins with small steps. I have taken your advice Chris and removed ‘unpublished author’ from my website, blog, etc (and yes, family seems to be the hardest critics of all)!
So Lynn, are you prepared to take the plunge with me? 🙂
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