If You Are A Writer, Call Yourself A Writer

I was at a luncheon, where the speaker’s topic was “Becoming a Writer”.

During lunch, before the speaker spoke, the gentleman next to me asked me what I do now that I’m retired.

“I’m a writer,” I said, and all the other six people at the table suddenly looked at me with raised eyebrows.

“Are you now, what do you write?”

“Non-fiction, short stories, blog posts and I’ve just finished my first novel.”

“Anything published?”

“A few articles for a magazine years ago, I publish my blog posts on the internet, and I’m going to self-publish my novel.”

The chap smiled and said:

“Should you really call yourself a writer?”

This guy was getting under my skin. The others at the table were waiting for my answer.

“Of course I’m a writer and I have a pile of rejection letters to prove it! Only writers who write and submit can get rejected. What do you do?”

“I’m a doctor.”

“That’s nice, nobody at this table is going to ask you to prove it!”

Everyone laughed.

“It’s interesting that writing is one of the few jobs where people put the “burden of proof” on you.”

“I guess it’s a form of identity,” one person across from me said.

“Yes, you’re right. I look at myself in the mirror and say, “I am a writer”. It’s a unique way of interacting with and viewing the world.”

“I guess if you call yourself a writer, you have to write often, probably daily,” the doctor said, humbly.

“That’s right, a writer has to produce. Nobody will ever miss something you didn’t write. Writers have to create their own motivation.”

“You must have to discipline yourself to write,” someone said.

“Yes, a writer must have self-discipline. Writers are people who write!”

“What about writer’s block?”

Questions were coming from all directions now!

“Well, questions like the one the doctor put to me, “Should I call myself a writer?”, contribute to writer’s block!”

“What do you mean?”

“All writers have a little negative voice in the back of their heads saying:

“Are you really a writer, maybe you should put your pen down and walk away from the table.”

“Writers hear voices?”

“Yes, so do you, it’s the voice of self-doubt!”

Everyone at the table nodded their head.

“The doctor’s controversial question just fortifies that voice, which is the enemy of writers and really the enemy of all art.”

“Well, you sure know a lot about writing. I’m sorry I said what I did,” said the doctor, shaking my hand.

“Apology accepted.”

At that moment the M.C. announced:

“And now, ladies and gentlemen, our speaker: Writer Dave.”

The applause was deafening. I GOT UP AND WENT TO THE PODIUM!

10 thoughts on “If You Are A Writer, Call Yourself A Writer

  1. At what point are we comfortable calling ourselves writers? I’m sure we have all struggled with that. It took me some time to actually switch from ‘I write’ to ‘I am a writer’. Good post, Dave.

  2. I think your a very good writer, and am happy to say your my cousin. I never did anything to equal your blog stories and am looking forward to your novel. Your L.L.C. Jim

  3. Thanks Dave. Indeed you are a fine writer. This latest blog stirred my memory. In the early 1960s, I left my columnist/advertising position with the Miami Beach DailySun (run by Miami Herald executives) to join IHOP as their first California trained co-ordinator. Tired, hungry and thirsty after a long cross country flight to Los Angeles, I ventured from my motel room across the street to a bar and grill for a sandwich and a cold drink. Seated, the guy at the bar next to me started the conversation. ” Hi, ” he said, “haven’t seen you in here before.” Nope, this is my first time in Los Angeles. Where ya from, he said. South Florida I answered. Vacationing? No, I am starting executive training with IHOP tomorrow. How did you get a job like that? I started with the Miami company a couple of years ago by handling their PR and advertising placement while working at my full time newspaper job. “I don’t believe you,” he said. That’s nice I said and proceeded to show him my newspaper ID and press pass from Chief Rocky Pomerantz of the Miami Beach police department. “I still don’t believe you ” he said. My sandwich and gingerale arrived and I silently consumed both.
    Some six weeks later I was on my way home to my new career. Less than a year later I went back to the Miami Beach Sun and my column. In 1967 I was hired by Scripps Howard’s Hollywood Sun Tattler as a section editor.and daily columnist for entertainment news. My wife, Brandy took over all of my IHOP chores and represented Florida IHOP from store #3 to 94 stores over an 18 year consecutive period. Dave, keep on writing, like a fine wine, your writing style gets better with age.
    Larry Primak

  4. I just finished a play where a woman says to me, “I’m a writer” and I say “horseback?” She say, “Not a rider. A writer.”
    You, Dave, are a WRITER.
    Keep up the great work.

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