About a year ago, I learned an important secret. It’s a trick that all professional writers use to set themselves apart from the amateurs. And it’s the one thing I was afraid to do.
For years, I wrote. I published blog posts and magazines articles. My words moved readers, and I was paid for my craft. And still, I doubted I was a writer. Using words like “aspiring” and “wannabe,” I subtly sabotaged my art. Because I was afraid to admit my dream.
After all, if I called myself a writer, then I’d be responsible for acting like one.
In the midst of this struggle to find my calling, I had the opportunity to interview Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art. I asked him when a writer becomes a writer, and he said seven words that forever changed the way I thought about writing:
“You are when you say you are.”
When friends and family members called me a writer, I shrugged and said, “Shucks, that’s just something I do on the side.” It was fear speaking —sabotaging the work that I was made to do.
Finally, it took a bold friend and a tough conversation for me to realize how caustic this was to my craft.
When I told my friend Paul that my dream was to be a writer, he said, “Jeff, you don’t have to be a writer. You are a writer; you just have to write.”
So that’s what I started doing. And you know what? He was right. The more I did it, the more I believed. And the more I believed, the more I wrote.
So how do you become a professional writer? Say you are one. Then believe it. And then start doing it.
Do you dream of being a writer? Have you called yourself one yet?
(Jeff Goins is a writer who lives in Nashville. He works for Adventures in Missions as the Communications Director. You can follow him on Twitter @jeffgoins, or read his blog: goinswriter.com. Also, check out his new eBook: You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) (youareawriter.com).