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While I occasionally get comments on old posts from time to time, that post seems to be the one that most consistently continues to get comments. And more times than not, those comments are from people who have never read my blog before—people scouring Google to answer that very same question.
Because honestly? Writing is really friggin' hard. And when you combine that with the all-too-common syndrome prevalent amongst creative types, Imposter Syndrome, and you combine that with our tendency to compare ourselves to others, it leads to a ton of self-doubt. Especially when slogging through a stage where the writing isn't coming so easily.
So I want to clarify some things.
If you love writing but...
- only just started writing
- have never published a book
- have never finished a manuscript
- have never queried
- have only received rejections when querying
- have come close, but still don't have an agent
- have had to shelve one, three, ten, twenty manuscripts
- don't have a writing-related degree
- have never taken a Creative Writing class
- don't write every day
- haven't written a new project in [insert amount of time]
- [insert qualifier here]
...you're still a writer. And nothing and no one can take that away from you.
I know how tempting it is to think that we've lost "it" during hard writing stages. I know all too well how it feels logical to think I can't come up with a halfway decent story idea—how the hell can I still call myself a writer?
I know, because I've been there. I know, because some days I'm still there.
Short of a traumatic brain injury, you can't lose the ability to write. You can't lose the right to call yourself a writer if writing is what you love.
We all go through phases where writing stuff comes easily, then not at all. We all go through cycles of doubt where we feel like a fraud every time the word "writer" passes our lips. But I promise you writing and being a writer are not things that just disappear. It's not something you can lose. It's a part of you, even when you're not writing, even when you haven't written far longer than you feel comfortable admitting, even to yourself.
You are, and always will be, a writer.
Have you dealt with this kind of self-doubt? What has helped you get through it?