Last week we talked about the things that distract you from your time and concentration as a writer.
If you do want to be serious about being a writer, there are ways to stop impediments and bring balance to your life.
First Order of Business
Tell yourself, “I am a writer.”
When you’re not yet published and especially if you aren’t making money, saying that sentence aloud sounds ridiculous. However, you need to express that your goal is to write every day for publication and to make money.
Bring Others on Board
After you’ve convinced yourself, the next people you’ll have to persuade are those closest to you. Start with your household. Get them used to the fact that you are a writer, writing every business day for a set number of hours. Then choose those hours. Place them aside and write. When they see you saying you are a writer and working hard to meet your goals, they should start calling you a writer.
Don’t Let Naysayers Sway You
Remember that writing itself makes you a writer. When you are writing, no one can say that you are not a writer. Don’t be deterred if anyone declares you have to make money to be a writer. You typically wouldn’t ask an acquaintance who’s an Uber driver, website designer, or in another profession how much money they make. If you make $10 or $1,000,000 a year writing, it’s no one’s business but those you choose to tell.
Now you are a writer by work and by definition. Next week: how to ward off career-killing distractions.
Can you believe you’re a writer? Why or why not?
What convinced your friends and family you are a writer?
Who is your biggest source of support?
I first had to believe and then I felt called by God to write, and then God kept downloading on me. Then I knew I was a writer for the Lord!
Thank-you for writing this. What a confirmation. I was out to lunch yesterday with a group of leaders from our church as we were planning our year’s strategies and they kept reffering to me as, “the writer.”
It’s weird to realize that you are already wearing something you are not sure even fits.
Maybe I am.just the last to know, or perhaps the last to agree with what God already knows.
Anyway, thank-you for helping me hear Him today more clearly.
Today may just be the day Iook in His mirror and feel okay with how He has dressed me, in the robes of a writer.
Damon J. Gray
I am so thankful that my wife and my best friend (same person) is my biggest cheerleader. She believes in me, at times, more than I believe in myself. I recognize that I have a tremendous gift in her.
David Scott Elman
Self confidence and a lack of fear helps, too. It’s easy to be intimidated. Especially by those who talk but don’t do. I’m not published. Doubt I will be. But I write. I’ve written a bunch of books. Not all are well done. But the more I write the better the results (I hope!). So, if any other obscure writer, or one who hopes to be published sees my comment, know this: In my opinion, write because you have to, for yourself, for what you think and feel is important. Not to please, but for your edification. Perhaps others will be moved by your work, for after all, your work is you. If only one person reads your work, you are a success!!
Sharon K Connell
First of all, thank you for this encouraging article, Tamara. I’m sure it will help many a new “writer” as well as some who have been writing for a while but struggling.
My biggest supporters are and always have been Arnie (hubby) and my friend Alan O’Reilly. Arnie, even though he basically only reads non-fiction, encourages me every day to do my best. He’s there to celebrate every book that’s released and does everything he can to help me. Alan is the reason I started writing in the first place. He kept encouraging me (actually pushing me) to start.
The first time I wrote a scene, I knew I was a writer. I prayed about it, and felt perfect peace. Still do while I’m writing.
The first person who lit a fire under me to write was my sixth grade teacher–and that was a long time ago. Since then friends have encouraged me. Like the rest of you, I write because I have something to say. I hope my grandchildren someday will go through my journals and learn a bit of family history they never knew.
I love this, I have the same secret hope.
I had a close call a couple of years ago (a stroke and lots of complications). It was the same year my first grand baby was born. I charged one of my dear friends with gathering my journals and keeping them for my children (some of who were still teens and school age). I didn’t want them to get tossed if I didn’t make it because there is SO much of me in and on those pages.
I write with such a desire for them, and I guess others, to see my Jesus journey and experience the REALITY of how He really does work out the mystery of Himself under the pavement of us.
I started calling myself a writer from the day I started to write, in 2015. Even if some people say it’s not real, I figure “fake it till you make it.”
Thank you, Tamela. It’s so easy to think that since I’m not making the big bucks, I’m not a “real” writer, yet. Even when I saw my first article in print, I did not consider myself a writer. Not until I attended a writers’ conference and was challenged by a Bible verse (Job 19:23), that I began to see my writing career as a calling. I make no apologies when I say that now I’m my biggest fan with my sister a close second. She was convinced when this rookie writer self-published her first book despite its editorial flaws. I have developed over the years, but that’s not to say I don’t have moments of “I’m not as good as so and so.” However, the constant desire to hone my skills and apply them to my passion for crafting words is also an overriding reason why I know I’m a writer, big bucks or not.
There was time when I thought
that writing would define me,
and the peopled stories that I wrought
would be my living legacy.
But life happened (that’s its wont);
plans and dreams were thus derailed
and tales that flowed from muse’s fount
now languish undetailed.
I do not wish another road
for I think I may have done some good
in helping others with their load;
I’ve done all that I could.
I hope the way I used my talents
are pleasing God, in the balance.
I find it helps if I can leave the house for a few hours. Libraries and bookstores are great getaways, and many eateries now provide for and welcome customers with laptops. Trying to write at home may seem easier, but for me, the waiting housework taunts me.
Thanks for being encouraging to us. I guess I never thought about saying anything else but, “I’m a writer.” I admit that there have been times when I’m discouraged and someone asks “What do you do?” and I tell them, I’m hearing in my head “Fooled you, didn’t I?”
As long as I’ve been writing, I’ve considered it to be so. Even when I’ve had to take breaks, I still consider myself a writer.
We all should say as many times as we need to until it just rolls off our tongues because it’s implanted in our brains.
It’s taken time to say “I’m a writer” without feeling the need to justify it. But I love being a writer.
My husband is definitely my biggest supporter. He works from home so we often swap when he’s done so I can write. I never had to do any convincing with the people in my life. Especially him.
Now getting quiet time with a six-year-old, a four-year-old, and a work-from-home husband… That is a challenge, lol. I can’t wait to read your post about distractions.
If I may…
I’m gonna be a novelist
with a mansion in the hills,
writing tales you can’t resist
while accountants pay my bills.
Bikini’d babes will lounge beside
the champagne-filled swimming pool,
and the gold-bricked driveway shall provide
fodder for my neighbours’ drool.
Limos stocked with fine cigars,
and Learjets, two or three;
the beautiful, celebs and stars
will long to hang with me.
Now, dear agent, stop your laughin’;
get to work, and make it happen!
I love this!
Calling myself a writer has taken two full years. I started when we had no income. I’ve always invented stories in my head, writing one down was my answer for Christmas presents that year. It was a decision that changed my life as long to use my writing to present the gospel of our wonderful Lord and Savior.
My sister was always praised for her writing talent, and she does have a gift with words. Two years of writing, editing and learning has finally taught me I can be a writer, despite having different talents than my sister.
Once I started I couldn’t stop. Seeing how much it means to me, my family and close friends all encourage and support me. By now even my first grader calls me a writer.
Thank you for the encouraging post!
This article brought tears to my eyes. I am working on two novels – one I’m well into and one I’ve just been given the inspiration for. I’ve struggled as of late to claim “I’m a writer” settling for “I’m trying to write.” This was a beautiful reminder. I AM a writer, given words by the Lord to accomplish unknown things for Him. Thank you for being the writer to bring this message to me today.
Linda Riggs Mayfield
When we returned to the US from the mission field, we didn’t return to the house, city, or state from which we left. I had felt much more at home in Chile than I did in my new surroundings in Quincy, Ilinois. I wrote a story about trying to find “home” again that was published in Guideposts. Then an article was published in a Christian education journal. I had a husband and four kids, worked fulltime, played the piano and sang in church, and when the kids were all launched, I went back to school and earned a doctorate in education. My formal research articles were published in professional journals. Since 2012, I’ve been writing history columns for the local newspaper and I blog. So I have no problem calling myself a writer.
But I have written12 books in several genres. Two were bought then shelved by the publisher over in-house conflicts, but none have been published, so I don’t call myself an AUTHOR (yet). Ah, aren’t we word people particular about words?! ;-D
love your posts!
I call myself an author. I have an old, old cookbook SP’d but hey.
My supporters in real life are few, pretty much my hubby, so I have learned to ignore the naysayers in my family (biggest naysayers). I receive a lot of support with Facebook/Twitter communities and find that cool.
About being a writer: indeed, but success is being published (for me, fiction with traditional publishing). So I tell folks who call themselves ‘wannabes,’ ‘reach higher,’ to call themselves authors. Learn the craft. Live happily with rejections. But, be an author!
Pamela Russell, North Carolina
Writing is a calling to those who venture into its ‘murky waters’. Days of doubt and interruption may plague those who work from the internal engine of thought, yet somehow belief in creativity and expression drive us. There is no room to be ‘impaled’ on the predictable when mastering the art of writing, because to write is to see the unknown and to hear the interval voice, desperate to make itself known. I write that voice, and I see it live.
Sales of my Christian evangelism training book, Take Someone with You to Heaven, aren’t exactly showing it, but I am a writer. That takes me back to the time, many years ago, before I had almost 300 articles and my book published. I was at the old Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver’s Cherry Creek when one of my favorite authors, Clive Cussler, appeared at that special table on at the top of the stairs to sign books! I waited until the others had talked with Mr. Cussler and walked up with my copy of his book.
After I introduced myself, he said, “so, what do you do?”
I said, “I want to be a writer.”
“Do you write,” he asked.
I said, “yes.”
“So, you’re a writer,” he said.
That’s me. I’m a writer.
Thank you for this. I’ve been calling myself a writer for awhile, but have lately begun to wonder if I should be. So thanks. And just to see, I asked my mom, “Do you consider me a writer?”
And she said, “That’s all you do.”
So yes, I’m a writer.
It took a while for my family and friends to realize I was serious about writing. Once they began seeing my name in anthologies and began hearing about me placing and winning contests, they began to take note. My consistency and follow-through convinced them of the career I’d chosen. My family is my biggest fan.
Tamela Hancock Murray
As always, I love all your posts! This blog community gives me joy.
I am a writer, both prose and poetry. I receive encouragement from members of my local Christian Writers Guild. This comes at our monthly meetings, and also by Email. For example, our president wrote thanking me for the article I submitted to our local newspaper last Easter, saying she thinks there is information there which could be new to many readers.
When I write poetry, I often have trouble coming up with ideas. An online blog gives me encouragement as well as suggesting a topic for that month.
Great post, Tamela. I remember when I had to keep telling myself that after so many rejections, but perseverance paid off, and you were a huge part of it.
And here I sit, watching the years bury my dream of becoming a published writer with procrastination, doubt, and fear. Our past sometimes blocks the road to our future…