Have You Ever Told Anyone You’re a Writer?

In my class “Becoming a Writer While Keeping Your Day Job,” I ask each student to introduce himself or herself and tell me something about what they write or why they took the class. I get the normal answers and that helps me focus the direction of the lecture.

Early in the lecture I ask them, “Has anyone here ever told anyone they’re a writer?” Typically fewer than a handful of hands go up. I focus on those who raised their hands and say, “Once you tell someone you’re a writer, you probably get two questions. What are they?”

Within seconds, they respond, “What do you write?” and “Have you been published.” Yep, those are the two questions I expected to hear.

Then we discuss how the implication (from those questions) is a person is not a writer unless they’re published. I debunk that idea immediately by telling the class that I can promise everyone attending that they won’t be published unless they write.

What about you? Have you ever told anyone you’re a writer? If not, why not? After all, a writer writes AND SOMETIMES gets published. But if you don’t write, you’ll never get published.

Find some time every day to work on your writing. What counts as work? Research (including interviews, reading, observing, experiencing), working on your rough draft, rewriting, etc. Strive to spend 30 minutes a day that you’re currently wasting (you determine if that means you get up 30 minutes earlier, go to bed 30 minutes later, turn off the television for a half-hour, stop surfing the web for a half-hour, etc.) and use that found time for writing.

And if people interrupt your writing time, let them know you’re working/writing and you’ll get back to them shortly. The important thing is you write and don’t worry about getting published until you’ve written something publishable.

Happy writing!

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