‘I’m not a real writer if…’ statements might sound absurd, but I’ve heard them muttered by more than a few writers. We use them when our doubts begin to wash in. Before long, they threaten to carry away our confidence*.
I’m not a real writer if I don’t write every day.
By the same logic doctors aren’t real doctors if they don’t see patients every day. Writers need to live a little to be able to write because our best writing comes from experience. We need to earn a living since writing doesn’t pay except for the rare few. We can be constantly thinking about writing, constantly observing the world, but we don’t have to be writing all the time or every day. There are benefits of writing every day
, as I’ve explained in a previous post, but it doesn’t somehow make you a failure if you can’t.
I’m not a real writer if I’m not published.
For a long time I didn’t tell anyone I was a writer because the first response I got was, “Oh, you’re a writer! Where have you been published?” While I’m able to answer that question now with a happy collection of short story achievements, for a long time I thought publication validated me as a writer. But here’s the truth: Publication doesn’t make a writer, it’s simply a means of sharing a writer’s work.
I’m not a real writer if I haven’t written a novel.
I know plenty of writers who have found a fulfilling career from writing short stories. None of them are somehow less of a writer. They found a niche they take a great deal of enjoyment from.
I’m not a real writer if I don’t have more than one idea for a story.
For a long while I stressed over this one because I struggled to come up with new ideas. After a reminder from my hubby that I have a tendency to focus on my current project in a way that sets up blinders to everything else, I realised that’s okay. The moment I finished the manuscript, the ideas started flooding in. But even if you are a writer with one idea, that’s okay too. Pour all you have into that idea and give it all you’ve got. If you do, then you’ll create something special.
I’m not a real writer if I take more than a year to write a book.
Tolkien took around 12 years to write The Lord of the Rings
. Apparently Suzanne Collins took about two years to write The Hunger Games
. George R R Martin, author of the Game of Thrones
, is notorious for being a slow writer with 10 years between books. And let’s not forget it takes a while for the ideas to percolate before a writer even starts to write.
There are, of course, more statements I could add here, but I think I’ve made my point. We all work differently and what works for one writer may not work for you, and that’s okay.
Whether you're a writer or not, do you have a tendency to think this way? What do you do to remove this kind of negative thinking?
This post was written for the Insecure Writers' Support Group
hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh
. We post on the first Wednesday of every month.
*This is not to say our confidence is a coconut but I just had to use this pic I took on the Isle of Pines ;)
And now for the Giveaway of an ebook copy of Make Believe
. Everyone's names of those who helped me with the launch and will be helping me in the tour went into the sparkly hat. A huge thank you to everyone who took part
, but there could only be one winner. My adorable husband drew the winning name...
And the Winner is...
Please send me an email detailing which e-format you'd like Make Believe in.