Is yours the only house on the block with a window still lit at 2:00 a.m.? If that light were not casting a golden glow across your backyard when he comes home from swing shift, would the deputy sheriff living next-door break down the door to see if you are lying in a pool of blood atop your keyboard? Fret not. It’s good to have someone watching over “that crazy writer next door.”
Do you constantly have a slight burn on your left wrist from resting it on the edge of your laptop as your fingers grow tired and wander from the home keys? Don’t worry, it’s not really a burn and the discomfort eases after the second hour. On the other hand, maybe it’s just that your whole wrist and every finger are numb by then. Numb is good as long as you can keep your fingers on the keyboard.
Do you keep your fingernails cut short so you don’t end up having to use the backspace key with every other keystroke? Okay, you don’t have to use it as often. Then again, maybe you regard the backspace key as your favorite. After all, you visit it most often.
Do you panic when you hear a peal of thunder while you’re on a roll, the story flowing like silk from your mind to the tips of your fingers? Do you resent every moment you are forced to leave your computer unplugged while the lightening strikes trees outside your window? No worries. After you sell your first book you can buy a laptop with more than eighteen minutes of battery backup.
Do you read books and constantly say to yourself, “Oh, he’s used the wrong word here. It would be so much stronger if he wrote…” Do you throw books across the room in frustration when you trip over plot continuity problems, and rush to your computer to prove you can write a “better” book? I’m afraid you’ll never grow out of that. Use it as inspiration to make sure your manuscript is precise and polished, edited and re-edited before you unleash it upon the world.
Do you have over a hundred books on writing by writers? Do you have to buy new bookshelves on an annual basis to house these treasures? Good for you! A writer never stops learning and exploring.
Are your pockets filled with scraps of paper torn from receipts, napkins, and the corners of newspaper, covered with scrawled story ideas that fill every inch and run in tiny… tinier… tiniest letters around the edges of the paper? This too is normal. Just don’t get caught defacing your boss’s newspaper, and remember to remove the scraps from your pockets before laundry time. The paper and washing machine will survive. That ingenious story idea written in ketchup may not.
Do you write in your sleep, your sleeping mind naming the letter on each key as you strike it, until when you awake unrefreshed and groggy, you comfort yourself by going to the computer and spilling all those letters onto a new page? Sometimes you find you’ve dreamed a complete short story. Rejoice! You won’t be staring at a blank page today.
Do you name yourself as Writer when you meet someone and her first question is “What do you do?”
Hey, what happened? Did I lose you there? You’re not declaring you’re a writer to one and all? You’re not standing on the back deck and shouting it to the robins, squirrels, and the occasional deer passing through your yard?
Until you take a deep breath, stand as tall as you can, and declare yourself a WRITER, in all caps, with bold, and italics, and fancy font, you will never believe it yourself.
What are you waiting for? No fainting, no panic attacks allowed. Just sheer guts and everlasting belief in yourself. Come on, I’ll help you. Shout it out with me.
I AM A WRITER.
There, doesn’t that feel better?
Oh, yeah. This post is an entry in Jeff Goins’ I Am a Writer contest to celebrate the launch of his new book You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One). You are reading Jeff’s blog aren’t you? If not, you’re missing out on generously shared writing tips and wisdom from a successful writer who’s not afraid to claim it. This is a good time to hop on over to Jeff’s blog and sign up for his posts. Before you go, leave a comment and make your declaration as a writer. Everyone’s rooting for you.