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:

“What do you do?”

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

“Are you now, and what do you write?”

“Non-fiction, short stories, blog posts and I’ve written three novels.”

“Anything published?”

“Two articles for a magazine a year ago. Now, I publish blog posts on the internet and I self-published three novels in three years.”

The chap smiled and said:

“Should you really call yourself a writer if you’ve only been at it three years?”

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 way of interacting with and viewing the world.”

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

P.S.-This post is the 206th on my blog: www.writerdave.com

Also published on Medium.

6 thoughts on “If You Are A Writer, Call Yourself A Writer!

  1. Thought at 1st you were referring to an Oldie Lit Lunch ! I remember meeting you at a round table at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand & was impressed by your card !

    On another occasion the woman opposite me asked if I was a writer …lol…

    Keep up the good work,Dave …just entered your birthday in my 2016 desk-diary…{^_^}

  2. You are a writer. I know because I actually read those words you scribble on……Wait a minute…..Do you use paper anymore? I think I hear trees cheering behind me…..Dave, you are saving the world…….
    My eyes are tearing up…….I’m just too emotional to go on………I’m going back to bed………………

  3. I love it. Actually a successful author told me once that if you write you are a writer, even if no-one publishes you or pays you. It has been the same in the music business…you make music, wow. Followed by the inevitable question about the number of releases you’ve had and where is the Rolls Royce, as if everyone who makes a record for a record company has hit records and makes money, and if they don’t have a number one, then they are either not a ‘serious’ musician/songwriter or a failure. Luckily my artists and songwriters are successful, even those who ‘just’ write for others and never have fame in their own right. They bank the cheques anyway. Yep, this rings a bell.

  4. Writing is a vocation not a job description or title. It doesn’t matter by what label you call it – if you write – you’re a writer. I had a regular poetry slot in the local Echo when I was 16, and since then, I’ve edited, written thousands of articles, done features for magazines, numerous press releases, ghosted columns for “others” and written my own stuff such as books and blogs. Yet I don’t call myself a writer. When someone asks me what I do, I simply say “I write.” It’s put a roof over mine and my children’s heads and put food on the table. Just a pity I get paid for ghosting and writing for others, and not as much for my own…goes to show don’t it?

  5. Ah, so true! Three books in and an overload of stuff I’m writing, and I still call myself ‘a retired chemist who writes’ rather than ‘I’m a writer’. I’ve published three books, have one in edit, another ready to edit and at least ten more I dip into regularly. I do more writing than anything else.

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