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It's Time to Call Yourself a Writer

Writers, have you ever had an identity crisis?

I had a long professional identity crisis in my thirties and forties. After practicing law for a brief period, then caring for young children, the wandering and searching for the "thing I was meant to do" ensued.

For years, I felt frozen—and shame—every time someone asked me "What do you do?"

You know that question everyone inevitably asks when they first meet you.

I stammered and made apologies when I didn't have a simple—or satisfactory-to-me—answer, and pretty much wanted to dig a hole and bury myself in it in those moments.

During those years of wandering, I often forgot my gifts and what I loved to do.

I forgot that I had been a teenager who published my first article when I was a high school senior, a personal essay in my local newspaper about a study abroad experience in England. 

My father, back in New York with the rest of my family, had mailed me a copy of the newspaper clipping with this note:

"Everyone’s asking me if you're going to be a writer. Have you considered this?"

Thirty-four years later, when I was an empty nester in my fifties, I finally said to myself—and the world—"I'm a writer."

I’m not sure why it took me so long, but maybe it had something to do with a lifelong pattern of making safe choices.

It's not a coincidence that my memoir, forthcoming Winter 2024 from the University of Wisconsin Press, is entitled GRAVEYARD OF SAFE CHOICES. 😉

Claiming my identity as a writer was—and is—vulnerable.  

It was so much safer & easier to talk about writing and think about writing than it was to putt my butt in the chair & become visible.

But I'm guessing that you, like me, ARE a writer—not a wannabe writer.

Here's how to tell the difference between being a writer vs. a wannabe:

Wannabe writers talk a lot about writing.

✍🏻 Writers put their butts in the chair and write.

Wannabe writers write when the spirit strikes them (hint: it doesn’t strike very often).

✍🏻 Writers put writing dates on their calendars & show up whether they feel like it or not. 

Wannabe writers think they can do it alone.

✍🏻 Writers know that writing for publication requires support & community.

Wannabe writers avoid sharing their work with others.

✍🏻 Writers know how to seek out meaningful & constructive feedback.

Wannabe writers are scared to be vulnerable.

✍🏻 Writers are scared to be vulnerable—and they show up on the page anyway.

Wannabe writers believe that writing is easy.

✍🏻 Writers know writing is hard—and they write anyway.

Inside WRITE YOURSELF OUT, we help transform LGBTQ+ folx from wannabe writers to writers by providing coaching, support, accountability, and community.

You are a writer who has a story the world needs to hear.

Please never forget that your story matters.

I'm about to take a group of LGBTQ+ writers on their Queero's Journey. Curious? Click here to learn more.

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