You’d assume it would be pretty easy, wouldn’t you? You write something, you’re a writer. You’d think it would be that simple, wouldn’t you?
The truth is that for many writers starting out, it’s not that simple.
You see, you you might first see your name in print in a book review or letters page. But that hardly makes you a writer, you say. So you’ll go on and maybe write an article for a small press magazine, but that one wasn’t a paying market so that “doesn’t count”. Same for when some online publication prints your first short story.
By this time you’ll probably be experiencing the con scene on some level, and meeting various authors. And you can’t really say you’re a writer, because they are writers – with books and stuff – whilst you have something… less.
So maybe you’ll even get your first book deal, have an agent and manuscript in the works, but you ask yourself, are you a writer until it hits the shelves?
The problem is one of confidence. Are you ready to stand there with the very people who probably made you want to write in the first place, and say “I’m just like you.” Nobody wants to come across an arse in front their idols, so better to be meek and play it all down.
“Oh I dabble, but I’m not a writer. Not like you.”
It took me numerous magazines, a contributing editor post, a non-fiction book and a short story sale before I was willing to even contemplate that i was a writer. That’s OK, because as pathetic as it might sound, I don’t think I was ready to stand up and be counted. I lived in fear that someone might point and say “but you’re not a writer.”
It’s very stupid but I’ve seen many writers go through it. It’s nice we’re all so humble but in this rough and tough world of publishing, humble isn’t going to get you anywhere.
It’ll take time to fit into your writer skin (or at least it will do if you are like me). It’ll probably take some friends telling you “Duh! Of course you are a writer” as well, because you’ll probably be the last person to actually believe it.
So when can you call yourself a writer? When you are ready