The transformation to become a writer is an interesting process and often fought internally or met with denial.
“Yes, I wrote that, but I’m not a writer.”
“I’m not really a writer. My degree is in engineering.”
“Yes, I have a blog, but it doesn’t count.”
I’ve thought about this at great length. In addition to writing, I also love to paint. However, I won’t call myself a painter. You know why? I don’t think I’m good enough to carry the title. I’m going to get back to this in a moment, but first I want to tell you about my most recent proud mama moment.
My daughter and I were sitting on the bed going over an email she was sending to a new professional acquaintance. She shook her head and said, “I don’t get it. Why does it take me so long to write a short email? This should be simple: Nice to meet you. Let’s go for coffee. See you soon. Blah. But it’s not that simple.”
Light shined down from the heavens and bathed my daughter in writerly light. Angels sang.
“I know why,” I said. “It’s because you, too, are a writer like me and your grandparents, and our ancestors before them.”
We went over the signs.
It’s official! I wasn’t completely oblivious to my daughter’s skill with words. Her clever ideas are a constant source of inspiration for my own stories and she often edits for me. But now I know, and more importantly, she knows, writing has a deeper meaning for her. One day, she’ll tell me how the words won’t leave her alone, or I’ll reach in her purse for something and find a napkin scribbled with ideas for her next story. I am so proud.
My daughter is just figuring out her place in the world. Her transformation happened naturally, and she wasn’t riddled with denial. However, there are others out there without a team. They won't dare call themselves a writer. They don’t feel worthy of the title. Maybe it’s because they lack formal training or they worry family or friends won’t take them seriously.
I’m here as an official representative of the writing community. If you string words together until they make sentences upon sentences, and you enjoy it, you my friend are a writer. Take the word “aspiring” off your Twitter bio. I give you permission. But the truth is, you don’t need anyone’s blessing. You are the one with the words.
Back to my painting analogy. It doesn’t matter if my mom and my kids are the only ones who like my work. I paint, therefore I’m a painter, dammit.