A couple of situations occurred over the past week which raised some questions in my mind about how people look at themselves, especially when it comes to identifying themselves as writers. First, I received a comment to a recent blog post that I bet many readers will resonate with. Kerry Hargraves' comment talked about how in her various past careers she wrote all the time but never considered it writing. “I love words and their proper usage and used that to great advantage but at no time did it ever occur to me to call myself a writer.”
Now that Kerry has her own business, she still writes all the time, but it is so much harder because it is now about her. “Words that flowed easily now fight me because they are so much more important.” However, interestingly enough, because she struggles to write for herself, she now recognizes that she is a writer. Sort of coming around to it from the back side, but guess what Kerry. YOU ARE A WRITER!
The second situation was when I was at an event where I had a table for Our Little Books. People would come up and chat with me about their writing and potential books. However, I had several people come up and announce, quite adamantly, that they were not writers. I asked one event attendee, Ruby Trammel (who had told me she was not a writer) whether she blogged? “Yes.” Did she write copy for her website? “Yes.” Did she write articles? “Yes.” Did she write sales pages and such? “Yes.” Hmmmmm. Guess what Ruby. YOU ARE A WRITER!
Both Kerry and Ruby really got me thinking about how people think about their own writing. Why is it, when most everyone who has a business definitely writes, people don't think of themselves as being a writer? Of course, I then thought about my own writing and I realized that I was no different. When I look back, I realize I've always been writing. Even in my 30+ years as a successful disability lawyer, I was always telling my client's stories, writing briefs for judges or the courts. Then I wrote my first non-fiction book, The Little Book of Identity Theft, which was actually the basis for starting the Our Little Books Publishing company. Since then, I've written and ghost-written other non-fiction books, blogged, wrote articles, and website copy. I also mentor and coach other beginning and advanced writers with their writing. But despite all that writing, just like Kerry and Ruby, (and this is a confession) I never thought of myself as a writer.
I knew I could write. But somehow, that didn't translate to thinking of myself as a writer. This really surprised me since I actually teach people that they are writers. It is my business! How could I not think of myself as a writer? It wasn't a negative. It wasn't a self-limiting belief that I thought of myself as a non-writer, because if you asked me if I wrote, I would have said, "of course." I just never thought of myself as a writer. What was it that made that disconnect being a writer and yet, not thinking of yourself as a writer?
I recently started my first novel and have written over 100,000 words. Somehow, that changed my mindset. I now think of myself as a writer! But people shouldn't have to write 100K words to get in their heads that they are writers. So I have made it a personal campaign to remind everyone to think of themselves as writers. Do you blog? You are a writer. Do you journal for yourself everyday? You are a writer. Do you write articles? You are a writer. Do you write information for your website? You are a writer. Do you write sales copy for your business? You are a writer. Do you write letters? You are a writer. You don't have to have written a book to be a writer. If you put pen to paper or hands to keyboard and produce written words, then consider yourself a writer. Once you change your mindset, you will be surprised at how much easier writing becomes.
Are you a writer? OF COURSE YOU ARE!!
As a Publisher and Writing Guide, Candace shows speakers, coaches and other service based professionals how to take what they uniquely do and build it into a marketing strategy that builds instant credibility by writing and publishing their own book. For those interested in getting started writing or how to use your words, the next one-day Writer's Workshop will be on 5/16/15 in Alameda, CA. For those of you who would like to work with her 1 on 1 on how to write your book, or would like to explore how you can publish with Our Little Books, please contact her for a free consultation.