Self-image and Writing

A friend of mine was over a few weeks ago, saw one of my published books on the shelf, and asked to borrow it. She called earlier this week to tell me how much she’s enjoying it. Guess what that did to my self-image as a writer!

How about you? How do you see yourself as a writer? Oh, sure, those who love us offer glowing support for our writing, but we sort of expect that. Even our writing group members tend to be kind more than critical at times. And, yes, it’s important how they see us as writers, but how you see yourself as a writer is even more important.

If you haven’t spent much time thinking about you as a writer, here are some ideas to get you started.

  • List three adjectives to describe yourself as a writer (not as a person, not as a spouse or significant other, not as a friend, etc., but focus solely on you as a writer). Are you disciplined? Are you dedicated? Do you keep your promises to everyone but yourself (that is, let everyone else claim time you could be writing)?
  • List the top four hurdles you need to get over so you can become the writer you want to be. Do you need to be more honest (not mean, just honest) with yourself about your discipline, dedication, etc. to writing? Do you need to determine what you need to change, then get the knowledge on how to achieve that change? Do you need to work on consistency in saying no to others or in saying yes to self? Do you need to budget for classes, books, travel, research, memberships, conferences, retreats, or whatever you think will help you become the writer you want to become?
  • Find thirty minutes a day for you. If you love to write so much you feel guilty about doing it while there’s other work to be done, give yourself permission to write for a short period (say, 30 minutes) every day. Writing could include anything connected to writing–research, reading, writer’s groups, editing, even writing! Find the 30 minutes (even if it’s two 15-minute periods or three 10-minute periods) to concentrate on writing. The experts say we can benefit by getting our 30 minutes a day of physical exercise in similar shorter periods, so why not get our writing exercise the same way?
  • Embrace your desire to be a writer. Too often we embrace the criticism, the negativity (even if it’s only us telling ourselves we don’t write description well, we don’t use active voice enough, we don’t…, we don’t…). There’s a place for criticism, but there’s also a place for encouragement. When you like a character you created, celebrate that success. When you get a compliment, claim it and keep it. When you’ve accomplished 30 minutes a day writing, put your writing away for the day, take a deep breath, smile, and congratulate yourself on achieving that goal.

Writers write, right? How you see yourself as a writer is important to your success as a writer, so create the best self-image you can. Happy writing!


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