I was on the NaNoWriMo forums, and this was a post that someone was asking people, “why do you write?” My answer was very simple:
If I don’t write, my characters and their stories will not leave me alone. I have to write it down. It will literally keep me up at night. Creating characters and new worlds is almost therapeutic to me. Nothing else may go my way, but when I write I know I’m accomplishing something.
I didn’t realize that I wanted to be an author until high school. I was in my sophomore year, when my chemistry teacher at the time asked me that question grown-ups always ask teenagers, “What do you want to be, when you graduate?” Without hesitation, I told her a writer. I think about that moment now constantly. Nowadays when someone asks me, I don’t tell them a writer. I tell them other things because I don’t know what their reaction would be if I told them. I suppose it would be skepticism. I’m not ashamed; I just don’t want to deal with people’s judgmental comments.
When my teacher asked me, I felt like I was really honest to myself and someone else about what I ultimately wanted to be. I want to be an author. I am a writer. I have to constantly tell myself this because sometimes I don’t know if those words are true. I think we all carry that insecurity with us. Am I a writer? Am I real writer, even though I’m not published?
If you write, then you are a writer. At least, that’s what the general consensus is on that issue. Read more about this on Chuck Wendig’s post here. I found it very helpful and honest.
When I started writing, it opened a whole new world for me. I felt hopeful writing these characters, and it made me feel good creating these different people and their stories. It wasn’t until college that I really began to take my writing seriously. I started taking creative writing classes and fiction workshop classes. I wouldn’t be the writer that I am today without my professors’ teachings and my fellow writers’ advice. I have come a long way, and writing is forever a learning process, but I feel like I’m on the right track.
I will continue to tell myself that I am a writer, and I will continue to write and try to get published. And, if no traditional publisher wants my work, then I will publish it myself.
Good luck to you and tell yourself that you are a writer because you are.