Becoming a Writer

I don't know why, but having the courage to say 'I'm a writer' seems to be a big deal. I know I'm not the only one that struggles with this. My writer friends, and a lot of the people I follow on Instagram, have mentioned they have the same reservations. I wonder if it's linked to the gatekeeping that has so protected the trade of writing since the industrial revolution. But let's leave that for another time.

In May 2015, on my original blog, I wrote this:

"For the last month and a half, I’ve been working on my first book. The experience has been challenging, overwhelming and fulfilling, all wrapped into one. My poor husband has been putting up with an emotional rollercoaster at home, because as someone said on a webinar I listened to just yesterday: “Your biggest dreams are on the other side of your greatest fears” Or something to that effect.

Writing this book has brought so much fear to the surface. Because while I’ve never, in my life, been happier or more secure in what I’m doing, at the same time, I’m putting myself out there in a way I haven’t had the courage to do before. If this book is a disaster, if only one person ever buys it, or if a few people do and they hate it, I can’t imagine how painful it would feel. Being in this position of knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that I’m in the right place at the right time, brings a lot of vulnerability. And while part of me is begging me to go back to some random full time job, to hide myself in a cloak of fear, the other part just won’t let this dream go this time.

As I wrote in a few previous posts, I’m well known for being a good starter and a bad finisher. But what I’ve let those words do is become a part of my identity, when the truth is simply that I always started things that just weren’t a good fit for me. So I’ve read articles on how to become a professional writer, I’ve felt more inadequate than ever because I don’t have the qualifications to do so, I’ve considered giving up more times than I’d care to admit, but I’m carrying on anyway. This blog was always intended to be a place where I could write about my journey; a journey that simply started with quitting a job I hated has lead to something so much bigger. I’m a full time writer."

Ignoring the over-elaborated language, what's interesting is that here I am, 7 years later (how did that happen?) and not really any closer to calling myself a full time writer. Back in those days, I worried that I wasn't qualified enough. Now, I know I'm qualified, but I still hesitate.

In a recent trip abroad, my sister was shocked to hear me tell people that I'm a full-time mom. Although I absolutely adore my children and wouldn't change being a mother for anything in the world, I do work. I write, I study, I have my own business. But in the same way I found it difficult to say it 7 years ago, I find it difficult to say now.

Does it stem from fear of failure? From feelings of inadequacy? From the fact that I have no published work to show? I don't know. I'm working it out. If my soul-searching produces any results, you'll be the first to know.

(If you're wondering what happened to the book I was working on in 2015- I did finish it, but it will never see the light of day!)

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