We need to talk. Listen, I understand that we live in a society that devalues your worth and puts down your talents, I get that. But I am sick and tired of hearing you tell me you’re not a writer.
I see you commenting on my Instagram. I watch you interact with others in our Facebook groups. I read what you post on social media.
That, my dear, is writing. Which makes you a writer.
Right now, those voices in your head are probably saying two things simultaneous: 1. You’re right! I’m a writer. and 2. Yeah, but don’t writers _____________?
Some of the ways I’ve seen people fill in that blank are:
- write every day,
- have books published,
- pay their bills through writing,
- have a large following of loyal readers,
- write better than I do.
While these things might make someone a famous author, they don’t make them a writer.
The only thing you need to do to be a writer is write.
When I attended my first writer’s conference in 2010, my friend Kevin Smokler told me something like this:
“People will pay a lot of money for you to tell them how to become a writer. They’ll take expensive classes on what to write, how to get an agent, how to market a book, etc. They’ll do anything to keep from doing the one thing they need to do to become a writer: write.”
Neither Kevin nor I are against writing classes – in fact, I teach writing all time. I’m just against writing classes that focus on theory and forget to have you do the darn thing.
Since that day, I made a promise to myself that I would only take classes and would only teach classes that centered around actually writing. Like my free Finding Your Write Space course, that helps people create the mental and physical space they need to journal regularly.
If you write, you are a writer.
And I’m going to guess that you’re probably a better one than I am.
Why? Because you’re just starting out. Your head isn’t filled with the thousands of critiques and edits and theories you’ve been told over the years about your work. You’re not yet trying to make it a full-time job that pays your massive student loans and feeds your tater tots habit.
You say “I don’t have any formal training” like it’s a bad thing. Like I said above, I think classes that encourage you to write and ask you to think about topics you wouldn’t normally explore are amazing, but sometimes formality ruins fiction.
I know just as many profound, successful, passionate writers that have no degree at all as I do once with MFAs.
Getting my law degree was the most formal thing I’ve ever done, and if anything it ruined my writing for years because of that.
You don’t need formal training to be a writer. You just are.
And I love that about you.
So keep on writing. I can’t wait to read it.
With love and light and enthusiasm,