Seven years ago, I started writing a YA novel with my cousin. From the first line she ever typed on her keyboard, she began introducing herself as a writer.
The project was foregone and we went our separate ways yet she persevered, writing another novel and another – six in total in the past seven years. She created a writers group and attended book conferences. She went through rejection letters and endless rounds of editing without ever parting with her outstanding confidence that she would make it. Her manuscripts went from ok to good to absolutely marvelous under my eyes.
You should check her latest novel out, it’s called Ghostboy, Chameleon and the duke of graffiti and her name is Olivia Wildenstein. Outstanding novel and inspiring writer.
I, on the other hand, have been writing for as long as I can remember. My first story was put up on the school’s walls when I was 8. I’ve written children stories, novellas, a YA novel, and the latest to date, a mystery comedy. Yet despite my numerous creations, I couldn’t seem to see myself as a writer. I feared I wasn’t good enough; I lacked depth; my writing wasn’t honed to perfection. I felt like a fraud pretend playing to be an author.
My self-doubts crippled me, so did my laziness.
If you look at my cousin’s example, she’s spent an insane amount of time perfecting her craft. My insecurities shielded me from doing the work that’s required to succeed. If I’m not good enough, there’s no point overworking myself. I won’t make it so why go through the hassle?
Writing never seemed like work to me. It’s just something I do, something I love doing. But editing ? Twittering ? Blogging ? This is a full fledge job in a world where beautiful writers are many and publishing deals are scarce.
I decided to shed my laziness and insecurities one month ago, when I attended the London book fair. There was a conference given by some of Amazon’s self-published bestsellers. They explained their marketing strategies; they demystified the publishing world for us aspiring writers.
Suddenly my definition of being a writer expanded. These were people with no agent, no impressive publishing house to back them up, yet they called themselves writers. Moreover, their books were out there for the world to read.
Just like my cousin, they believed that doing the work – firing up their computer every day and writing down their stories – was enough. That they made it to the bestseller list is beside the point. Publishing didn’t make them writers, writing did.
And now with self-publishing, nothing stands between our need to share our stories and actually doing it. If you’ve written a novel and YOU feel it’s good enough, then publish it. Throw caution to the wind, and face the world head high saying, “I’m a writer”.
It took me thirty-one years to understand this, and with a new found self-confidence, I’m ready to speak these long time coming words.
I am a writer.