Every weekday for the past two weeks, I have gone to a group therapy program. Last week, we were given a worksheet that held the question: Who are you?
My immediate thought was not my name, nor was it anything along the lines of daughter, sister, etc. My gut instinct was to put writer.
I found it wasn’t uncommon to put down one’s occupation, but writing is not a full-time job for me. So I continued to ask myself, why is that my defining word? What was it that made me realize I was, am, and always will be, a writer?
The simple answer is this: it’s what I love, and you could never take that away from me.
I could list article after article about why you shouldn’t define yourself by your occupation — mostly because it brings upon the argument that it will erase your own personal identity — but I think that in most cases, that’s BS.
What’s the issue with being connected to what you are? Perhaps it’s the negative connotations oftentimes associated with writers. You hear the same things all the time from everyone, from everywhere: “Well, that’s not that hard.” “But what’s your actual job?”
For me, saying the words “I am a writer” fills me with pride and the goodness that comes with being honest. This is partly because I believe in — and actually like — my work.
It hasn’t taken me long to say that I’m pleased with what I create. From the moment I decided to write a “real book” at fourteen years old (it was not a “real book”; it was a very bad novella at best), I was proud of myself. Of course, years later, that pride started to fade away for my past work, but I was never unhappy with myself for writing the things I had.
You’ll come across the phrase “write what you want” more times than you’ll ever need, but it’s true. Every. Single. Time. You. See. It.
Write what you want.
Writing what I want has earned me the privilege of publishing a novel as a high schooler. It has given me the chance to truly develop my style, as well as given me the tools I need to further improve. And that, my friends, has made me happy in my decision to tell the world that I am a writer.
And I’m not afraid anymore. That’s the best part.
When you start writing, you either dive head first, or you dip your toes in at the edge because you’re afraid of slipping and getting your hair wet.
The fear of writing is something that I never thought I would get over. I thought I would be perpetually stuck in this bubble of being too afraid to write, and too focused on perfection to ever get anything done.
I did not stay this way forever, and neither will you.
The more things I wrote meant that I was getting in a lot more practice. And a lot more practice meant that I was, undoubtedly, getting better. With that new and improved skill, I found something that finally, really changed the way I viewed myself and my writing: confidence.
I would not be writing this article right now if not for the confidence I’ve acquired over the years. I would not be shouting into the void about how I feel writing has made me a better person. And yet.
I don’t condone basing your self-worth on the amount of work you do, because that doesn’t quite match up. Your self worth does not correlate with the amount of work you put into this world. You’re just worth it, period.
But for me, I like to say that I’ve done a lot. That I’ve written a lot. And I have. Nowhere near as much as many others, but a lot. And that makes me proud of myself.
Because I didn’t give up, and I don’t ever intend to.
That’s why writing makes me proud of me.