Sunday, October 4, 2009

When Do You Feel Like a Writer?

I was getting new glasses the other day and through my near-sighted squinting into the mirror trying on pair after pair of equally nice but invevitably expensive frames nothing seemed quite right. But then I put on a pair of dark frames a bit funkier in style than what I'd been used to and I exclaimed out of nowhere, "Oh, wow! I look like a writer!"


Now why did I instinctively gravitate to glasses that I felt made me look more 'writerly' - whatever that looks like? Did I need to look like a writer because I didn't feel enough like one already? Only recently have I actually started to admit to people (outside of close friends and family) that I am a writer. But do I really believe it or is it something like that old saying "Fake it till you make it". If I say I'm a writer more often maybe one day I'll really believe it?

Maybe I'll feel like a writer after my first book is published but, in my deepest heart of hearts, I think I'll always feel like I'm a bit of an imposter. No matter how many words I've written, no matter how many courses I take, conferences I attend, I always feel like the other people who are writing are more like writers than I am. I'm not sure why I have this insecurity about calling myself a writer. I mean, I write. It should be simple. Yet, it's not.

It's not that I can't label myself. I'm a lot of things. I'm a mother, a wife, a bad cook, a good friend, a proud Canadian - there are any number of roles I inhabit. But I have to remember that I felt weird calling myself a wife at first. But I got used to it. It was weird being a mother at first - kind of frightening actually. But I can't imagine not being a mother now. So, like any significant aspect of your life, a new label just needs a little getting used to I guess.

So, after several million words and almost seven years of writing I just need to say it more often. So, here goes: "I. Am. A. Writer."

Wow. It still feels weird. But good. :)


  1. I wonder if all writers feel that way sometimes, even those who have "made" it. There is so much uncertainty in writing that it seems even well-established writers look at other writers and envy their writer-ness. Maybe it really is all about faking it! Or, like you said, maybe it's something you get used to over time. I try to remind myself that if I write, that makes me a writer, but it's never quite that easy is it?

  2. Hi Anna! It must be a writer's curse - thinking they're not a writer even when we're actually writing! A writer's brain would probably make for a very interesting MRI!