When is it the right time to call yourself a writer? Anyone can call themselves a writer, but let’s say you’re serious in that you try to write regularly, and possibly submit work. You’re probably unpublished. So now’s the time to practice telling people when they ask what you do, that you’re a writer.
Or when you have to fill in the ‘occupation’ question on forms, state ‘writer’, or advertise the fact when you’re on social media. Then when you are published, telling people you’re a writer will be a natural habit, mentioned without the least embarrassment or self-consciousness.
Why it’s important at the very beginning to tell people you’re a writer:
- You will start taking yourself seriously as a writer and therefore start acting like one.
- Because you’re acting and thinking professionally you’ll be more disciplined in your writing day, and will without doubt produce more polished work for the agents and publishers and editors you’re hoping one day to attract. They in return will treat you as a professional writer which could lead to a request for a full manuscript of your novel, a proposal for a non-fiction book, or acceptance of an article or short story.
- Your family and friends will take you more seriously and realise you need quiet writing time (to pursue what they still fondly call your ‘little hobby”) without their constant interruptions.
- You’ll get used to the sound of your voice telling others, or writing it down, that you’re a writer. Watch their impressed faces! Each time you say it you will gain more confidence until you finally believe it yourself.
- People you come into contact with are your potential readers. They will inevitably ask what you’re writing. If you’ve finished a first draft of a book, and are determined to get it published (either traditionally or indie) you can produce a business card, bookmark or postcard advertising the title and all your contact details. They can go on your special mailing list announcing your book’s publication date – a great way to build up your future readership.
- Whilst writing your novel you’ll need to do some research – lots, if you’re writing historical fiction. If you tell everyone you’re a writer (no need to mention you’re unpublished) and doing some research, you will often be taken into realms you wouldn’t dream of. It’s as though you instantly make yourself famous just by saying you’re a writer. And they never ask for proof! Here are a few examples of what has happened to me during the writing of my trilogy: The Voyagers:
- In Book 1 of the trilogy, Annie’s Story, my heroine embarks on a voyage to Melbourne in 1913. When I mentioned to the curator at Tilbury Docks that I was doing some research for my novel, he was intrigued. He allowed me to wander about in areas generally closed to the public. The town museum was closed. I found a custodian and mentioned I was a writer. He opened it up and gave me a thrilling spiel of the history of numerous artefacts displayed, and personal details of some of the passengers and their belongings.
- I came across an article on Google about a family who in 1912 sailed on the same ship as Annie (and my own grandparents when they emigrated to Australia – namely the Orsova). I emailed the chap who posted the article and told him I was a writer. He put me in touch with the great-niece who sent me a copy of the diary her great-aunt had kept of the entire voyage, asking only that I acknowledge the lady when (not if) it’s published!
- In Book 2 of the trilogy, Juliet’s Story, my present-day heroine goes to Australia on a freighter. I rang a company who organises voyages for passengers. They came up with a lady who’s been round the world by freighter. When I told her I was a writer she invited me for tea. As I was leaving she gave me copies of the fascinating journals she’d kept of her voyages.
- Nothing beats your own experience so I called the freighter company again, asking if I could go for a few days. ‘You have to do the whole trip,’ was the answer. I persisted, explaining I was a writer and the experience would really enhance my novel. An hour later they offered me a voyage on a freighter bound for China, but I could disembark in Zeebrugge. Apparently, when I mentioned I was a writer they conceded to break the rules.
- For Book 3 of the trilogy, Kitty’s Story, I needed expert help on military manoeuvres. Coincidentally, I went on a study tour: ‘Following in Churchill’s Footsteps’. Our guide was the senior historian at the Imperial War Museum. One evening I told him I was a writer and that my heroine goes to Cairo in 1941. I wanted her to meet a high-ranking Italian and fall in love with him. Was that possible? He mapped out that part of the story with absolute ease, his superb knowledge of the history barely giving him pause. He even gave me the name of an eccentric French singer who was there and I’ve given her an important role in the plot.
- Our other guide was Churchill’s granddaughter, Celia Sandys. When I mentioned I was a writer Celia asked me about the novel and added a few comments. She invited me to lunch in her fabulous apartment overlooking the Thames. There I was, only two people (her parents) away from my hero, Winston Churchill. ‘Cheers, Mr Churchill.’
I could go on with this list of places I’ve got into, and people who’ve helped me, purely by saying I was a writer. That’s why I’m encouraging you, even if you have a full-time job, are unpublished, or at the very beginning of your writer’s journey, to be brave, be bold, be proud to say when anyone asks (and particularly when they don’t!):
‘I’m a writer.’
You’ll be amazed at the response.
Denise is the author of Seller Beware: How Not To Sell Your Business
pub. by Biteback Publishing and Annie’s Story and Juliet’s Story, Book 1 and 2 of The Voyagers trilogy published by SilverWood Books.
Find out more about Denise on her Website www.denisebarneswriter.com
Follow her on Twitter: @denisebarnesuk
Sites That Link to this Post
- Call Yourself A Writer – Right Now! | Writer's Blog | January 16, 2017
- Call Yourself A Writer – Right Away! | WordHarbour | February 24, 2016