|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
SO, WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?
IF YOU DON'T KNOW, HOW WILL ANYBODY ELSE?
You're at a party and, out of the blue, someone you've never met walks up and asks, "So, what do you do?" Without thinking, what's your reply? "I'm an accountant." "I'm a middle school teacher." "I'm a housewife and mother." "I'm a recent college graduate with a Liberal Arts degree trying to find a job." Why not, "I'm a writer"?
Even if you have never published a damned thing, if you're sitting in front of a keyboard, pouring your heart into whatever path you've chosen on a daily basis, you ARE a writer. After all, what does a "writer" do? They write, right? The only difference between you and Stephen King may be he's published a couple of things. So that makes him a published writer. If you've read anything he's written about his early career, you know it took him a while to get off the ground and find his stride.
Now, the next time someone asks, just say it. "I'm a writer." Why? Because, until you begin to regard yourself as a writer, how do you expect others to? Ask yourself, "What does it mean to be a writer?" Sure, it means writing. It might also mean taking classes and attending workshops with other "writers" to improve your skills. It might mean reading books on marketing your writing or researching possible outlets for your work. All of this will help you develop a better sense of your writer persona.
What if you get asked those dreaded questions, like, "Have you got anything published?" "Have I read anything of yours?" "Are you signed to a publishing house or are you self-publishing?" Could you see your reply being, "I have a novel, self-help book, volume of poetry in development." Or how about, "I'm in talks with a couple of agents but haven't decided on who I'll go with yet."
The point being, if you create the opportunity for others, but mostly yourself, to see you as the writer you are, the more valid your persona becomes. The more time you spend writing, developing your skills, creating a network, and defining your dream and goals, the easier it is for the rest of the world to accept that is who and what you are.
Does this instantly confer on you a career with all the promises and perks built in? Nope. It gives you the chance to earn those things. Once you begin to reap the rewards, it becomes your obligation to continue to produce and improve. Why? Let's look at it this way: In ancient Rome, whenever a general returned to the city after a great victory, he would ride through the streets on a chariot, accompanied by a slave. The slave held a wreath of laurel leaves above his head, and whispered, over and over in the general's ear that all glory is fleeting. It was a reminder that, past glories are past and there is always somebody waiting in the wings to hijack your ride.
Just a helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.
Meanwhile...live, love, write and stand in front of the mirror once in a while, repeating, "I am a writer!" ten times in a row.
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Dane F. Baylis