Self-Applying the ‘Writer’ Label

by ryankl

When do you confidently start saying you’re a writer?

I can remember when I started writing, a long time ago now, and I treated it like a silly hobby I kept to myself.

Then I would say that I write in my spare time. Like admitting you enjoy exercise, but you’re not a gym junkie.

I can remember meeting my wife and realising I’d have to explain that I was spending my time writing stuff. I was unpublished [mostly, I’d hacked up enough unearned confidence to self-publish two short stories as little ashcan prints] and yet I’d be devoting all this time to this untested and unknown venture. It seemed silly at the time, and I did feel weird talking about it. It felt even weirder as people outside that circle found it out, too. Her family, her friends, MY friends.

Because who gets published, right? Authors get published, big time authors can then call themselves writers, and I was some idiot with a laptop and an overactive brain.

I can remember writing novels, and most people knew I was writing by then, and yet I wasn’t a writer [not in my mind]. I wrote, but it was invisible, it didn’t add up to anything. People could see me pump in hours, but nothing came through on the output tray. Nothing tangible, at least.

I can’t remember when I felt fully comfortable calling myself a writer. I don’t know what it took to make it feel official. I mean, I, inside myself, knew I was a writer. I just didn’t feel I could use the label. But here I am now, with multiple comics collected in tpb format, thus making them ‘real’ to the wider world. I had a book out last week, I’ve got another out in another few weeks.

I’m a writer. It snuck up on me, but it’s a cool feeling. It’s a lifelong dream goal achieved. I should probably actually spend some time appreciating that.

The above was taken from my weekly newsletter about writing and my writing life, THE TWO FISTED HOMEOPAPE

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