I’ve been writing for five years now, three of which have been professional, and I’ve only just come to terms with calling myself a writer.
People often ask me what it is I do, and I used to reply with a blurred answer. I’d say something like ‘I wear many hats’, or ‘I do this and that’ when in actuality, I write (and play music, but that’s another kettle of fish!).
No, I don’t work in a coffee shop three days a week (not that there is anything wrong with that, I began my career as a barista). I literally write and play music seven days a week, and that’s my living.
But I still struggle to call myself a writer, or a musician at that. There’s something to be said for career titles. They’re judging and they give people the chance to label who you are.
I don’t like that.
But calling yourself a writer and actually becoming a writer are two very different things. It’s the classic ‘all talk, no game’ situation, and I’d rather be more game than just talk.
The point I’m trying to make is this: you can call yourself a writer whenever you want. You don’t need to wait for a paycheque or a job title to give you a sense of worth. You are worthy.
Just remember this: what are your motives? Do you call yourself a writer because you want the lifestyle? Or is it because you have something to say?
If you’re a writer with something to say, my hat comes off to you. If you’re a writer because you smoke a pipe and discuss Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ even though you haven’t read it, go and reconsider why it is you’re here in the first place.