Sunday, August 18, 2013

Honestly, I swear I'm a writer.

I'm reading this wonderful little book right now called You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins. Even seasoned writers need inspiration, pick-me-ups, and the occasional pep talk. In the book, Goins talks about how you need to embrace the title of writer for yourself before you can expect anyone to take you seriously.

I feel like a writer. I have no problem announcing on Facebook that I'm a writer. But there are still times, even as long as I've been in this line of work, that I seem to fold in on myself and I purposely withdraw from face to face opportunities to talk about my writing.

Though I know better, there are still times when I feel like I'm fooling myself with all this writer rig-a-ma-row, that I don't deserve the title. That anxiety is never more prominent then when I'm standing with someone and have to talk about what I do.

For example, I was working a shift at my store and one of my regular customers came in with his daughter who was home from college for the week. My coworker had been very vocal about my latest book and had been trying to sell some for me so my customer knew about my "side job". "She wrote a book," he told his daughter and the girl looked at me with a big smile that said she enjoyed the written word. She was curious and it would've been the perfect time to give her my pitch, or if nothing else, bring the book trailer up on my phone or give her my business card. But I clammed up, said little, and I was thankful for the pouring in of customers so her attention could be diverted elsewhere.

So why do I do stuff like that? I know exactly why. I'm afraid of the reaction I'd get. I'm afraid that they will think I'm just a dreamer. I'm afraid they'll see my occupation as a store clerk, see that I'm a college student, and think, What right does she have to claim herself a writer?

For another example, a few months ago, I was talking with a police officer in my town. He's a fill-in officer who comes in as a last resort. He was telling me about his farming business, as if it was important that I knew his part-time protect and serve wasn't all he did in this life. In turn, I revealed my reason for my love of life; writing.

And you know what he did? He laughed at me.

I didn't have my business cards with me to help validate this for him or I might have been more confident about it. Instead, I shrugged it off and steered our conversation toward its end.

He's not the first person to react that way and it is doubtful he'll be the last. Some people just have a natural way of bringing down others, whether they mean to or not. I think it was just a natural reaction of, You? A store clerk claiming to be a writer? But it's crushing, nonetheless. You can believe in yourself all you want, but still, as part of the human race, there's a need to be validated by others, to know that people still believe that no matter your station in life, you can do anything with hard work.

How can I improve this? My audience is growing and for that, I'm thankful. But most of the growth is local and while I'm thankful for that, it fills me with fear to know that I can be approached by any number of people here to talk about my writing.

It's going to take practice; practice in being confident, practice in pitching my book to face-to-face potential readers, practice in fully accepting that I am, and should act like, a writer. I'll get there.

"Everything is practice. Every word you write and action you take is a chance to get better. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Pros are always looking for a chance to get better, to improve their craft just a little more." - Jeff Goins, You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One)


Peace, love, and yes, I am a writer,


No comments:

Post a Comment