Days Without Writing

At what point is one allowed to call oneself a writer is a question that I’ve spent far too much time contemplating. When I was younger, I would shy away from calling myself a writer because my writing wasn’t serious, wasn’t good, wasn’t published, wasn’t published in a paying magazine, and myriad of other reasons. I now say that the only thing that makes a person a writer is that they write (something I’ve heard a lot of other people say for a long time before I accepted its obvious truth). As long as I spend a good portion of my time getting words on the page, I am a writer. Maybe not a good one, a successful one or any other qualifier, but I am inarguably a writer, though there is always a little (or huge) part of me that doesn’t think I can call myself one. Part of the problem is that people tend to define me by my day job instead. Still, I tell myself, I’m writer first—I write everyday after all.

This past semester, I agreed to teach five Freshman composition classes. I was busy to say the least. Many of the books that I read where actually audio books I listened to on my commute. I was having a long distance relationship with my husband, even though we lived in the same house. And for the first time in years, I wasn’t writing everyday. Worse a whole week could go by without me writing.

I worried that maybe I was letting go of my dream. After all, I’ve read countless essays about how academia stifles writers and about how working as adjunct crushes one’s will to live regardless of one’s field. I hadn’t heeded their warnings, and I’d become another cog in the machine of academia. I wanted to throw myself down a green hillside during a rainstorm in despair and cry out about my wasted genius, but I had papers to grade (and I live the desert where rain is scarce and cactus is plentiful).

Now that my winter break is over and I’ve been able to catch up on sleep, the last semester no longer seems such an epic failure. Yes, I could have managed my time better, and, yes, I didn’t get as much writing done as I usually to do. I did revise quite a few of my poems, and I put together a chapbook that I’m quite proud of. I didn’t produce a ton of new work, but revising has always been the majority of my process. In retrospect, I did write quite a bit, but I just felt like it wasn’t enough, which is how I always feel.

But during last semester, I wondered if I selected the right day job—in part because my day job, teaching college English, is a career in and of itself. I’ve always known that if I was forced to choose between teaching and writing, I would drop teaching without a second thought. The problem is if I were to stop teaching, I would still need a day job. I know that artists shouldn’t concern themselves with money, but having regular meals and a roof over my head are luxuries I’m not willing to do without. I’ve worked since I was sixteen years old and having gone from fast food to retail to offices—teaching is the first job where no matter how bad it gets, I don’t sit in the car before my day starts and think, “Maybe I’ll get fired today. Wouldn’t that be wonderful.” Being an adjunct is the most stressful job I’ve ever had, but it also allows me to be a little selfish. The hours are flexible and the majority of work is grading papers and class prep, which can be done at home at 3 a.m. in my pajamas. Also, I get to focus on things that concern writing. Teaching grammar has helped me understand it better. Yes, none of my students care about the comma, but damn it I do.

There are many good reasons why writers shouldn’t work in academia, but I suspect those reason are more true for some individuals than other. The biggest reason, I’ve come across, that writers should get out of academia is that it isolates them from the larger world. It is an ivory tower that allows them to ignore what is happening on the streets. Yet I’ve found the opposite to be true. When I read students’ papers, I read about their experiences with financial hardships, crazy families, war, illness, death, birth, betrayal, abuse, friendships and joy. I discover more through talking to my students than I’ve ever encountered in the small talk in an office or a store.

In one class last semester, a student decided to read “Sins of the Father” by W.D. Ehrhart (you should definitely read the whole poem here). In the poem, the speaker’s daughter comes home from school crying because she’s being mercilessly teased. When the speaker says “It breaks my heart. It makes me want someone/ to pay. It makes me think—O Christ, it makes/ me think of things I haven’t thought about/ in years. How we nicknamed Barbara Hoffman/ ‘Barn’” the whole class gasped at this revelation of the speaker’s own past cruelty. I wanted to jump up and down and tell the class that, “What you just felt was what poetry is supposed to do.” Though most of them treated that moment of empathy like an anomaly—it was still there. Selfishly, I use such moments to remind myself why I write.

When I was getting my MFA, one of my biggest fears was that my classmates and professors would realize that I wasn’t suppose to be there and that I was just pretending to be writer. Other writers have assured me that this feeling is universal, but those reassurance have never made those feelings of inadequacy go away. Sometimes writing does not seem enough to be a writer. There is barrage of contradictory cultural messages about what one is supposed to do to be writer—move to New York, renounce materialism, experiment with drugs and alcohol, meditate, listen to jazz—and no matter the choices I or any one makes, someone will mention how what we are doing isn’t part of the writing life. Of course, that is all BS, because the only thing that matters is that you’re writing.

I realize that no matter what day job I have it would be the wrong one, because all day jobs will, from time to time, keep me from writing. I’ve just been lucky enough to find one that allows me to obsess over writing even when I’m not, and I think that is what a writer should look for in a day job. In the end, I didn’t stop being a writer last semester, I just slowed my pace.

Woman Writing Letters by Charles Dana Gibson


370 thoughts on “Days Without Writing

  1. I write and edit full time as my profession. Although it is not the same type of writing I pursue in my “spare time,” I find it keeps me in sharp practice and especially hones my pre-writing skills, e.g. research, interviewing, planning. Writers write is about as true a phrase as one could find.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am a writer and an editor for my day job and have often wished I could have a “simpler” job so I could concentrate more on my non-job-related writing. Sometimes after writing all day, you just don’t want to go home and write some more. And, even though a lot of what I write for work ends up being published, I still feel like a fraud; inadequate as a writer, like I am just pumping words into some dark void and receiving no feedback in return. It can be frustrating wondering if anyone is actually reading what I’m writing.

    • Thank you. It’s goods to know that someone whose day job is writing and editing still feels the same doubts and frustrations as I do.

  3. Most of us struggle with all of these daily: Am I really a (writer/artist/actor/anything creative – pick one)? – imposter complex. Which day job? Am I working hard enough? Failing at my dream?

    I’m so glad you have a place to mull things over and come out swinging.

  4. If it is true that writers and academia don’t mix, it is probably true that academia and autodidacts don’t mix.

    About writing. If you are writing most every day, you are a writer; if you write and don’t get published, you probably think that you are not a writer.

    Someone famous comes along—Hollywood actor, football star, baseball star, politician—and they barely know how to read (less write). They write an autobiography, it gets published and it sells 200 thousand copies in a week. All of a sudden, they are a writer. I don’t think so.

    I have written a small number of manuscripts in my 53 years on the planet. I have had one short story and two poems published. I have had two books self-published. Am I a writer? Technically, yes, but since my books haven’t sold many copies I still feel like an unknown entity.

    If a tree falls down in the forest and no one is there to see it fall, did it fall? If a writer writes something and no one is there to read it, does the written work have any value? There are published writers and there are unpublished writers.

    I am more a drifter than a writer.

    “High Plains Drifter”

    • There is always conflict between how the world defines a person and how a person defines oneself. In the end, while I feel the pressure of defining myself by the world’s standards quite strongly, I think we should not let go of that self-definition just because the world doesn’t recognize it.

  5. Wonderful post, which resonates with me deeply. For too long, I felt my “day job” was a facade, that the real me was bubbling under the surface, never, ever to be allowed to flow free. Then a marvellous thing happened. I achieved a career goal I’d been working towards for 13 years. The dream became a reality and it changed everything about me. That was 6 months ago and I find myself on the cusp of needing to reinvent myself once more. To discover another me. As how can it be that this *is* what I am? How did I get so lucky? Like you I would struggle to call myself a writer. Yet here we both are. Writing 🙂

  6. I agree with your premise that someone who writes is by definition a writer – a good writer, a published writer, a writer who acually earns a living by writing – that’s a different quesiton entirely.
    Just thought: why do we so often categorise people by their jobs? We are different things to different people. The samde person may be a teacher, a mother, a granny, a school governor, a cook, a gardener, a marathon runner and an expert on macrame. Why should only the first one be used a an identifier?

  7. I run. I am not a professional athlete. I am not the fastest person on the track. I am not the fittest person in the gym. I will most certainly never win any medals. But I am still a runner.

    I think the same goes for writing. You are a writer if you write.

  8. It’s the eternal story of a writer’s dilemma. People keep saying that you write well but does writing well makes you a writer is a difficult question to convinc yourself upon. The testimony of writing lies in books and the reviews but these blogs do make few of us beimg read by many and feel blessed. Very nicely put together with the punctuations (as you mentioned) as flawless as the flow.

  9. Thanks for writing this. Greatly appreciated. Insight like this helps me as I struggle to write. In my 50’s I have just started trying to write and I have found that the best inspirations comes from writers like you. Be well.

  10. Reblogged this on The Daily Rite and commented:
    I was going through my wordpress reader this morning, and I came upon this article by an English Teacher with an impostor complex. Very interesting read. What are we? Do we deserve to be called what we are?

  11. I think we all feel like we are not true writers at times. There is a roar in the general public’s ear that to be a writer one must write every day, be published and hold a writing degree. While all these things are generally good in theory, that’s all they really are, theories. To be a writer, is to be a person who loves the written word. Not all writers are published. Not all writers should be published. Still, if a person’s heart tells them to put a word, a sentence, a paragraph or a book down on paper, they are indeed a writer. It is thier own chosen destiny.

  12. I also write because of a compelling desire to do so. I am happy to be read and the comments spur me on. But the desire comes from within. As long as I get a few laughs and cause people to think I will continue the madness.

  13. I love this and I can absolutely relate. But as others have said, and as you said yourself, what matters is that you’re writing – and you ARE a writer, period (no pun intended). Congrats on freshly pressed as well 🙂

  14. You captured the internal debates that I think most of us have had and some of us (me) continue to have. In reading it, I realized that I never say to people that “I’m a writer,” only that “I love to write.” Clearly, you are a writer. Great post!

    • Thank you. While I think most of us have that internal conflict, it’s is hard to remember that we are not alone those feelings.

  15. “is one allowed to call oneself a writer”

    Allowed? Screw allowed. That presumes that someone has power over you to deny or allow things in your life. When the hell did you decide that who you are is up to someone else? When did you give your power away?

    A quick and nonchalant review of history will reveal that the grand majority of people who have been labeled writers had a healthy streak of “Screw you all, I’m doing what I want” running through them. I recommend trying it on. It never doesn’t fit.

  16. I enjoyed reading this. I absolutely love to write, but I haven’t had the time to do it every day yet. I’m always thinking about it, but that’s not enough for me. In reading this though, I realize that you’re right. If you write, you’re a writer. Simple as that!

    • Thank you and good luck with your writing! Not all of us can write everyday, but what is important is that you keep returning to the page. .

  17. I like your definition of a writer. I write daily in a journal, and I’m going to try my hand at blogging. Someday I would like to be a journalist, but in the meantime, I want to keep writing for leisure and not just for school. I enjoy writing. I can express myself way better with print on paper or on a screen than with the spoken language. Thank you for your encouragement to all writers out there, professional and non professional alike.

  18. You are a writer because you have the desire to write, whether or not you have the capacity to do so in a given moment, including the capacity to recognize that desire.

    I think what makes one a writer is that deep agony of longing to write, to write well, to write just anything, to write everything – even when one is not writing, especially when one is not writing. And on the other side of the spectrum, the overwhelming satisfaction of being able to write even just one word, when we need it most.

  19. The best writers read, read, and know to READ even more to hone their own skills..WE define who we are by what we DO..Or least that is the motto I now live by..Don’t let anyone else, even society dictate or define who one IS..Taught my sons that & its helped them to define their own lives..I know many people who aren’t defined by what they do for a living! I’ve been blessed and fortunate that my day job closely falls into line with my lifes’ purpose..Anyways enjoyed reading your thoughts for it made me reflect also! ..Write ON

  20. Jennifer, I really enjoyed reading your post. It gave me further confidence in my own writing. Writing is not my day job, not even part of my day job, but it is the new passion of my life. Thank you!

  21. “Am I a writer?” must be a question almost all writers ask themselves. Since I’ve been creatively writing since I was seven years old, I consider myself a writer. It is a part of my identity, whether or not it becomes my day job. 🙂

  22. Yes. you are lucky to having a job that keeps you constantly and daily in contact with use of language at a micro level. It aids a writer greatly even if it sucks up some of your Muse.

  23. “writers should get out of academia is that it isolates them from the larger world. It is an ivory tower that allows them to ignore what is happening on the streets.”
    I think this is a really powerful point, which is not to say that those in academia are necessarily isolated… but it definitely can become a sort of separate reality. Nice post, thanks for sharing your experience.

  24. I am preparing to go into a career teaching English at the moment in order to support myself whilst I try to get published. Whilst this may keep me away from writing all day, everyday it seems like the most sensible option to me. The amount of writers who manage to make a living out of their writing doesn’t make writing a sensible career path. Rather than seeing writing as a career, I prefer to see it as a passion, and one that I hope one day to be fortunate enough to indulge in for the rest of my life.

    I started calling myself a writer when I wrote my first book but as you say that inadequacy is always there. It’s reassuring to hear you say the same thing.

  25. Thank you for this. I have always felt like that. Even to the point where I stopped writing all together (except for required papers in college.) I just recently started back up again, and hopefully I’ll stick with it this time.

    Great post!!!

  26. I received a B.A. in English/Creative writing and spent several years working in the financial industry. When I finally got my first job as a writer, I was so excited because I thought I could finally say that I was a writer. I ended up hating the job because the type of writing I was doing was depressing and did not leave much room for creativity. I left my job last June so I could stay home with my kids. I started a blog after leaving my job, and now I feel like I finally have a chance to work on my writing. I don’t know what is next for me in terms of my career, but I have finally decided to allow myself to say that I am a writer. I write. It is a part of me. Writing feeds my soul. I don’t write a lot, and I don’t think I am a great writer, but it is something I enjoy doing. Writing is fulfilling, and because of that, I think it’s okay to say that I am a writer.

    Wishing you a wonderful journey in writing!

    • Awesome! I’m glad that you can finally call yourself a writer. May where ever you go next nurture your creative side.

  27. This is great! I can relate to so much of it. You have answered a question I was just struggling with today: “Should I quit my day job and focus more on writing?” You made me realize that teaching IS the ideal day job to focus on writing.

  28. Thanks for a good definition of what a writer is. I struggle with that as well, considering I can’t find anyone right now who is willing to pay me for me work, willing to publish me, etc. However, I am still a writer, just like you. Thanks again, and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  29. I think for me, the proof positive, is the amount of notebooks you have filled. Note books that are teaming with ideas, that at the time seemed so promising, but upon reading them back, lose all credibility.

    every writer I have ever spoken to , both published and amateur, is insecure about the writing, that for me is he hall mark of the writing trade

  30. I’m happy to see that so many others who are paid to write as part of their day jobs agree. Are you writing? Then it doesn’t matter. You are a writer.

  31. As a retired English prof, I agree with you that teaching writing in academia keeps you closer to writing issues than the ivory tower aspect might lead you to expect. Not only can you connect with students who have complex lives, but you see more examples every day of how writing can go astray. And finally, you’re learning to be a better reader of writing, of style and organization–and I think all good writers have to be terrific readers in a specialized way.

  32. I see a problem with attempting to pigeonhole people. Part of the human condition is that our brains seek to make sense of the world by engaging in subconscious acts of classification. It’s very unfair that, from childhood onward, we are labeled like jars in a pharmacy.

    When I am feeling snarky, I tell others that my occupation is that of being human. Or, if asked “What do you do?” I am apt to say “I breathe, I eat, I sleep, I listen to good music.” And then I bite my tongue to prevent myself from adding “and I suffer fools like you.”

    Excellent post! Thanks for writing it.

  33. You are a writer when the reader connects to what you have written and experiences a change, no matter how small, because of it. Thanks for writing the piece. This reader made the connection.

  34. “the only thing that makes a person a writer is that they write” – you know, I struggle with this, not really sure why. After all, it applies to running – if you run, you can call yourself a runner, and no one immediately corrects you if you aren’t competing in the Olympics, for example. Yet I continue to resist calling myself a writer, mostly, I think, because I fear the next question: Are you published? It’s always felt to me that if I was not called a writer by others, then I couldn’t/shouldn’t call myself one. Nice essay – good WRITING, oh writer!

  35. Thank you for this post. I found it strangely inspiring. I too have spent countless hours teaching college composition and have wondered about the same things. I too have hesitated before telling someone that I am a writer although I’ve been writing and writing and writing simply because, I may not be, what in their definition they might call a professional. I too have wondered if a different day job might be better because it might be too far from the sphere of anything cerebral and hence like a different life altogether. I have wondered if reading too much *bad* writing during the day job might influence one’s own writing (I’m ashamed to admit) and whether that could be a better reason to quit the fascination of teaching which I also find as inspiring as writing.

  36. Reblogged this on luvsiesous and commented:

    At 4 am, as I quit writing on my 12 page blog post …. I might break it up into sections for you.

    I read this writer who has quit writing, because she is teaching writing classes.

    As she writes of her need to quit, and her need to keep a roof over her head, and living a long distance relationship with her family, am I the only one who thinks, “Maybe it is time to quit the day job?”

    What do ya’ll think?


  37. Reblogged this on Unidentified and commented:
    Hey guys!

    I read this article recently and made me realize things about the whole writing experience thanbt I had.
    though I’m not a professional writer, i gope that someday I’ll be able to develop my writing skills to give you better blog entry.

    I hope you will enjoy reading it to.
    Have a nice day! 😀

  38. This is a great article for all writers to read.
    You become a writer much like you become a jogger.

    You are a jogger when you put on running shoes and start running — and the shoes are optional. You are an author when you start writing and share you work with others. Sharing it with others, of course, is optional.

    It is so easy to start a blog and see if you can build a following that every writer should do it. It us terrifying to put you soul into writing and throw it out in public to see what happens. Writer, however, need to develop a thick skin. Everyone can be critical of what they read. Few have the disciple and courage to try to write things that express their personal truth in clear and simple language.
    Networking and supporting other writers by helping them expose their work is important.
    The voice of writers is all that allows ideas and the search for truth and beauty to stay alive.Truth must be rediscovered anew by each new generations. Writers of older generations pass forward the wisdom if their generation. Young writers interpret that truth and express it to the new generation. Hopefully, their voice includes yet transcends the core message of truth that was expressed by older generations.

    Freedom of thought and speech are the vital foundation if all other freedoms. Freedom of written speech allows your voice to be heard across the waves of history. There, however, one important glitch.

    Most great writers are not widely recognized until after they die. Don’t let this frighten you, however. Writing won’t kill you. Do here’s what you need to do.

    Keep writing and sharing what you write with others. It’s important. Do it even if you don’t believe that you have anything important to say. Every person has a story. All true stories express truth. All if recorded history lives in the brain/mind of every living person. Art allows us to feel that flow of history within our own soul. Science allows us to structure knowledge in a way that it can be used. Writing allies it all to be passed forward through time and and space. Writing can truly make us immortal.
    Now I want to talk about some important nuts and bolts I’ve learned about writing over my career.

    1. When expressing ideas, shorter is better as long the meaning is retained. The best advice I ever received was to take my first draft and mercilessly cut unnecessary words and find the turn of a phrase that expressed the idea more concisely.

    2. Reduce you ideas from paragraphs, to sentences to bullet words and phrases, then build it back out again. My best work has come when I reduced ideas to bullet points that could be followed and understood without being explained. Finding those bullet points was the time consuming part of the process.

    3 Good nonfiction writing involves explaining a point concisely, then giving an example that is as vivid and compelling as a scene in a great novel. Then comes the hook.

    4. The hook is the simple trick that makes people want to read the next paragraph. The hook goes fishing for the readers curiosity. If you can make the reader curious about what comes next people will keep reading and you will have written a page turner. Do I do ?

    You have to judge for yourself by checking out my blogs.

  39. Reblogged this on Terry Gorski's Blog and commented:
    This is an excellent blog for anyone of any age aspiring to be a writer. Remember this, when you define yourself at least in part by your writing, you are a writer whether you call yourself that it not.

    Write on my friends, write on

    Best Regards To All
    Terry Gorski

  40. This is beautifully expressed, and I especially appreciate your point about academia not being isolated from writing. Academics write all the time, and help others write all the time too. Now admittedly what academics write may not always be fun or creative, but someone who can’t write is not going to have a successful academic career.

  41. Excellent, thoughtful post. From what you say, you are indeed a writer. I, too, have worked a number of jobs in the last decades. (I have been trying to figure out what I’ve wanted to be when I grew up–for going on thirty years. But that’s fodder for another blog post.) Oh, and I write. I share your strong impetus towards writing. Regardless of what my day job is, somehow I usually find my way to the computer. I hope you do, as well. Whatever your day job is.

  42. Being a student and an English major, it is comforting to hear that someone who is much more established within the writing community shares the same anxieties as I do about my writing and calling myself a “writer” in general. Thanks for the inspiration to keep writing, regardless of job title and status.

  43. You are a writer when you express your thoughts on paper (or other visible media) and share with others. Not receiving compensation for your work doesn’t make you less of a writer, just as not every runner wins marathons or gains sponsorship or even competes in events. He’s a runner because he runs, you’re a writer because you write, and you’re a good writer at that. Celebrate your accomplishments and keep sharing your thoughts with us, your readers. Check out my blog at also

  44. The thing about the day jobs and the things you do besides writing is that they are NOT “wrong”, precisely because they bring you in contact with experiences and people and the world, and THAT’S what makes the best writers, I think. It’s the reason I agree with you that writers SHOULDN’T go into academia. There’s no set definition for “writer”. I did ballet intensively while I was at university (doing media studies), but never referred to myself as a “dancer”, though others would refer to me as, “oh, she’s the dancer.” I have been a journalist, a copywriter, a communications officer, a researcher… and a whole number of other things in my life… and I still do not really consider myself a writer. But I don’t think it matters if people who do less writing than I do in my working life call themselves writers. These are all just titles. It’s… a bit semantic. I agree with Stephen King that writers are formed; you don’t really decide to be a writer. I’m a human being who writes, sometimes HAS to write or go mad, sometimes is compelled to write, and sometimes has to go out into the world and live her own stories. 🙂

      • Sometimes I think THAT could, in itself, define what it is to be a writer. The thing that we are compelled to do for survival. 🙂 Like a vocation. Someone called to god, or someone called to teaching or nursing. We are called to writing by some force of nature. I have a friend who would probably go crazy if she couldn’t paint (and she paints the most beautiful things).

  45. Just a thought on your title “If Writing Is Not Your Day Job, Are You Still a Writer?” and in my personal opinion, anybody can call their selves as a writer may it be in magazine, blogs or on newspaper as long as the person who wrote the article are able to convey the message to its reader then you can call your self a writer.

  46. If you love what you’re doing, it’s not really a job, right? I’m an accounting student hoping to write novels one day… and if I’m paid to do so, I’d have no idea what to call it. Perhaps there’s more to the art of “writing” than simply churning out papers and the like. Weightlifters lift weights, but at the same time, the most serious ones are filling up on thousands of calories everyday.

  47. “Sometimes writing does not seem enough to be a writer.”
    How true be that..! There is always something missing… the appreciation/criticism from an audience, a novel you dream of publishing some day but one that tends to languish in drafts on your iPad, a writer’s block… and yes, a day job where you aren’t a writer.

    Growing up I always wondered at what point can you qualify yourself as a writer. When you’ve got a 1,000 bloggers following you? When you publish your first book? When someone introduces you as, “Ahh… my daughter… she’s a writer.”

    I think you’ve gotten as close to the answer as there can possibly be… If you write, you are a writer.

    Cheers to the post..!

  48. That post is redolent with your passion for writing. I subscribe to many of your thoughts, even identify with them. Here is wishing millions of moments of what you love to do the best!

  49. Hi Jennifer,

    I love this post. I can relate completely to that conflict of the practical benefits of the day job vs. the desire to be working at something where your passions and talents are better utilised. Isn’t that what they say — Find a job you love and you never ‘work’ a day in your life? If only…

    The other day when I was driving to work (bleh) listening to the radio, they were asking listeners to call in if they LOVED their jobs. I think this came about because it was that first Monday that people typically return to work after their Christmas holidays. They didn’t get a lot of callers, but they did get this guy, who truly loved his job. He was a tow truck driver for large haul vehicles. He went on and on, and on some more about all the things he loved about his job and how he enjoyed returning to it after the holidays. Clearly he either a) wasn’t a writer, or b) his job gifted him with a lot of great writing material AND a lot of idle time in which to write it! I was jealous!

    I do agree that you are fortunate enough to find a job where you can still be at least surrounded by what you love; where you can ‘obsess over writing’. Spare a thought for me.

    I work in insurance. In an insurance call centre nonetheless.

    It looks funny when I write it out like that and today I can look upon it with humour. Some days though, I don’t find it so funny. Those are the days where I realise how far removed my working world of premiums and performance reviews, compliance and coaching, is from my interests and talents.

    Anyhows, on a lighter note… When I tuck the kids into bed each night I am slowly chipping away at finishing my degree so that I can become a teacher. I hope that this will bring me a happy compromise between practicalities and passions. And, just recently, I’ve started a blog so that I can send my words out into the big webbed world. Even if no one is reading, it feels good to be writing again.

    Thanks again for your enjoyable post.


  50. I really like your post, you’re definitely a writer. I like to write too and now I’m writing a blog(my first blog)about thoughts and feelings that I have. For me is a little more challenging because English is not my first language. I search often for grammar sites at the internet and some articles about writing skills. I’m trying to get better, that’s my goal.

  51. I hope it felt as good to write that as it did to read it. I am a columnist for a major paper, but my day job is being the CEO of a nonprofit. I’ve learned that I am always writing, even when my fingers aren’t on a keyboard. So many people who read this will associate because it doesn’t ever feel like any of us can be writers – even when we are published regularly. My first editor repeatedly scolded me for saying, “if I ever become a writer.” Writers are Wilde and Twain and Tocqueville for god’s sake. But she said something I never forgot – if you don’t write what it is you have to write, no one ever will.
    Thank you for sharing.

  52. Boy, for someone who says they don’t write much, you certainly write a long blog. By the way, congratulations on being “Freshly Pressed.” I guess, in a way, that means you are published.

  53. Thank you for this encouraging post. I used to write frequently. I was an English major in college and I taught high school and junior high English for a while. Now I am a stay-at-home mom/adjunct ESL teacher. I’ve just gotten to a place where I can write regularly again. It has been a while. I wouldn’t call myself a writer…but after reading your post…maybe I could.

  54. I think everyone has it inside them to write, but to really bring writing to the surface you need to enjoy writing, give time and energy into it. For me, writing has always been fun. Up until I discovered blogging that it became content that can and could be published – otherwise I was happy for it to sit on my hard drive somewhere only accessible by me.

  55. This is quite fascinating. Perhaps there is something more subtle that determines your status such as your level of humility, self-gratification, etc. Published writers are often referred to as authors, not writers. Writers seems to be more of an amateur description of someone who enjoys writing. Perhaps, that thought process is only mine. I write research papers for my University and write a blog full-time, so if I am not a writer…what am I? An informer? It’s an interesting ideal to conceptualize, how prevalent titles are in this day and age.

  56. You hit the nail on the head. A writer unfettered by insecurity and doubt is probably not worth reading. Doubts haunt all of us in creative fields. The measuring stick should not be monetary, but qualitative, but still we succumb to using dollars to define success. It’s a trap.

  57. Hi, I think the above writing relates to my passion of writing also…All these days I was doing a full time job due to which I had no time to write.But now that I have quit my job, am resuming my passion of writing….
    Am not a great writer but I would require all ur feed backs on my postings….

  58. I worked as a freelance writer for the whole of 2013 and I nearly stopped writing all together as a result. It drove me crazy. Every piece I wrote became driven by money and, worse still, I never had the time to get out and actually live – which is probably one of the most important things a writer should do.

    I don’t normally like to leave links because it seems a bit spammy but I think you’d enjoy reading about my experience with this dilemma, which I’ve aptly named ‘My quarter life crisis: writing for love, not money’. Check it out and let me know your thoughts:

  59. Perfectly written… Reading these comments I suppose we all obsess over the fear of wasting our talents. This blog, these thoughts make you a writer. Thanks you!

  60. Pingback: Is writing work? | bottledworder

  61. I’ve often been pulled by the same dilemma while teaching and writing at the same time. I do think there is space in life for both, for teaching to influence writing and for writing to feed into teaching.

  62. Pingback: Days Without Writing | Bleed Words; Live Boldly

  63. The irony of any job — including writing for your sole income, as I do — is that even THEN, i.e. with the title people so crave, you often don’t get to write…i.e. write what you most prefer or find most interesting or which will push you into new genres or to new heights (one hopes) of accomplishment or creativity.

    I am a writer/journalist and have been one since college. People go “ooooooh!” but few of them, as this week will typically include, might be quite so eager to:

    chase late payments, rely on a line of credit because all my payments are late, attend two trade shows for a distant industry newspaper, pitch 5-10 new ideas to editors, write 2,000 words within a few hours, invoice clients for finished work, sign a contract that no one will negotiate that might well shred my agreed fee **by 75%** if the editors, (three of them, none of whom I have worked with or met), suddenly don’t like my product (and deem writers “difficult” for even daring to try to negotiate the contract).

    Like that.

    Adjuncting is damn hard work. Good for you!

    But even writers who do it for their living scramble to carve out time and energy for work that is deeply and creatively satisfying, not just cranking out copy to put costly gas in the car and food in the fridge and go to the dentist. Much of what pays (well) is not “writing” in the hallowed sense many people imagine, or hope, it to be.

    I recently blogged about this ongoing dilemma — hope you don’t mind a link…?

  64. Um, did you steal one of my journals?! That is to say, I have felt the very same way. Not enough time, financial stability, experience…and so on. From high school to grad school, I felt so stifled by the academic “voice” and agonized about being authentic while complying with the requirements. I had so much anxiety it took the joy of a process I found cathartic and fun. I’ve since reclaimed that and write because it has truly become an extension of my meditation practice (ha!). It’s a movement & release of energy. It’s not about being prolific or creating a product for publication that will garner praise. It’s for my personal well-being and creative/spiritual development. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  65. writing is my passion, seems the only place where true salvation occurs however due to life s circumstances one sometimes just does not get to it. as long as the feeling is there in the heart, i strongly believe the time will come. thx for reminding us to stick with it no matter what.
    => a mom of two, where one has a severe illness so that has been my priority lately, but still appreciate words of wisdom of my surroundings and when i myself get the chance, forever thankful.
    bless & success on your journey.
    feel free to check my blog:

  66. I think it goes with the territory – every time I write, or say, that I am a freelance writer, I feel a fraud, and that at any minute, someone will reveal me as an imposter! You most certainly are a writer!

  67. Fantastic post – you express so well the doubts and feelings about calling ourselves writers. I’ve always loved to write, and it’s something I’ve always done, but I didn’t really call myself a writer. Over the past couple years I have started a blog and written freelance articles, and yet I still struggle to call myself a writer. I feel like I don’t have something that really proves that I’m truly a writer, and so I seem like a fraud calling myself one! Thanks for this post – for expressing what so many of us feel and for reminding us that we are indeed writers. And congrats on being freshly pressed, it is richly deserved!

  68. I identified with so many bits of this post. I work to live, not live to work. I would love to be able to write to live, but that’s a ‘pipe dream’. I’ve written two books and several articles and I’m grinding away at two screenplays. I yearn for retirement when I have more time for my passion.

  69. This resonates so much with me – balancing teaching and writing is tough, but I learn so much from planning syllabi and class lectures, from talking with students and grading. Great post, thank you for writing!

  70. I have felt all of these things that you describe about writing at some point. Sometimes I wonder if I don’t want to call myself a writer because I didn’t major in anything really related to writing. I would love to write anything full time, but when I was 18 deciding my “life plan” my head wasn’t where it is now. I find it very hard balancing writing (which I truly love to do) with my day job (which I sometimes like to do). I also find it very difficult to admit to others and myself how much more passion I have for the one over the other. It’s a true never ending battle.

  71. I write partly so that others can enjoy what I write about, but largely because I enjoy what I write about. Sounds a bit selfish and hedonistic, but there it is. I mostly write about experiences I have had in my 65 years and relive the stories as they roll off of my pen (yes, I prefer pen on paper for rough drafts). I agree very much that if you write you are a writer, and I enjoyed reading what you wrote, you writer, you!

  72. Thank you! I’ve felt like an absolute lunatic trying to decide a major for a day job. Everyone just scoffs when I mention something new because I can’t decide- then I feel like a fraud telling people I’m a writer because I hear myself, quite often might I add, saying ‘What I want to do isn’t realistic’. It’s a sad truth with writing. I can write until my hand falls off but it doesn’t mean it will provide me with a roof over my head, food on the table, or security with bills. I feel like every week I am bouncing my interests into another major. I’ve visited every possibility under the sun: psychologist, mental health professional, english teacher, editor, business woman, physcial therapist… You get it. It’s difficult to juggle a day job (no matter what it is), schooling (if you’re in it), and writing. It just is beyond terribly sad how our dreams get kicked under the furniture just so we can contently get by. Thank you so much for posting this! I was busy having my own doubts about my writing and this validated my dreams. This made me see that I won’t be satisfied with anything I pick in school because it’s not the job I want no matter what. Thank you =)

  73. I really liked this article! I’ve recently been struggling with going back to school to teach English. My day job is rather boring and I’m always wishing to do something more fulfilling. Like many others, I believe that you are a writer and even better a story teller. This isn’t a talent everyone possesses. I think that’s what separates writers from non-writers- the art of story-telling.

  74. I’m going to keep your post in mind while I’m sifting through my seventh graders badly written essays. I’m going to remind myself of this while I bang my head against the wall, and remind myself that later I’ll be banging the keys.

  75. Pingback: Days Without Writing | rswinslet

  76. Thank you for making us all feel less isolated in our passion. I know that if I were ever stranding on a desert island that I would absolutely not survive without a writing implement & something to write on. I suppose an ever ending book that really held my interest would do too. Yes, the pen is mightier than the sword – a good poke in the eye will do the job… or, I found my pen between my sheets; it was sore…

  77. If you write and writing is your passion, you are a writer. But there are different types of writers: some write journals; some short stories or novels; some short or long nonfiction, and some are poets.

    A few writers become traditionally or indie published and then they may call themselves journalists, poets or authors. A writer doesn’t have to have an agent or a traditional editor/publisher to be an author, blogger or poet.

    For instance, there is my journey from being just a writer to becoming a poet, author and Blogger.

    But it didn’t happen overnight. It took decades for the writer to graduate to an award winning author.

    I wrote my first novel-length manuscript in 1968 in my first creative writing class during my first year in a community college paid for by the G.I. Bill after I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marines. That was when I became a serious writer who went on to earn a BA in journalism in 1973 and then an MFA years later after attending classes out of UCLA’s extension writing program for seven years. I didn’t earn the MFA at UCLA. I started it at Cal Poly Pomona and finished the last few credits at another university. The years at UCLA was sandwiched between the two.

    Over the years, this writer had more than one legitimate agent who earned enough money as agents to pay their bills, and this writer’s work was considered by senior editors at Random House and smaller traditional publishing houses but none offered contracts. Decades later, along came Amazon, Kindle, e-books, print on demand and I decided to go indie and published my first historical fiction novel in December 2007.

    That brings up another question: Does that journey make this writer an author? The fact that my work has sold more than 16,000 copies and won numerous juried literary awards where less than 5% of the writers who submit their work place, I think I’m more than a writer today.

    But I’m sure that there are some who would say no—that to be a writer one must be traditionally published with a legitimate agent representing them.

    Yes, you are a writer, because I was a reader who you have never met and probably don’t know who read your writing on your Blog and left this comment. That makes you more than a writer. It makes you a Blogger. If you have published poetry on your Blog and people have read those poems and commented, then you are also a poet. The same goes for being an author. Once you publish a book and strangers buy it leading to royalties for your work, you then graduate from being a writer to an author.

  78. I forgot to mention in my longer comment that during that journey as a writer I had a day job for thirty years as a classroom teacher and for some years I had a part-time night job too. Even most traditionally published authors need day jobs to pay the bills because only a few authors earn enough to be just authors.

    Where do you think all those MFA programs find their teachers. The fact is that even most traditionally published authors often don’t earn enough from their writing to survive on that money alone. The average traditionally published book sells 250 copies its first year in print and 3,000 in its lifetime. In fact, if a fiction author sells 5,000 copies of one novel, they are then considered a mid-list author. For non-fiction, that number is 7.500 copies.

  79. You’ve put so many of my own thoughts into writing with this post. I still don’t call myself a writer. I’ve always felt that I need to have more discipline and better enforce good writing habits before I can go around calling myself a “writer.” It’s always nice to have a reminder that you’re not the only one out there who feels insecure about writing. 🙂

  80. I want to be a successful writer some day, and I have a strong desire for creative writing. I know it takes more than just strong creativity and good writing skills, you haft be able to reach an audience. People that can relate and feel what you’re writing about. it’s just like a good actor, he has to draw his audience in the direction that he wants them to go, and feel the effect’s of his image he’s displaying.

  81. Thank you for addressing a topic that enters my mind every single morning. Every morning that I head to a clinical, structured, as-far-from-writing as a job could ever be. That being said, writing (and reading) every day is the thing that keeps me going, helps me decompress at day’s end and makes life more balanced and fulfilling. I’m hanging out in the blog-o-sphere tonight trying to find inspiration to cure an acute case of writer’s block. You just helped me!

  82. Writing isn’t my day job either, but I do love to write. It’s been a while since I called myself a “writer,” although I do have an MFA. Since I earned that MFA, I’ve gone on to do many other things, none of which involve writing fiction, and I am now reluctant to identify as a writer. Just figuring life out (as always), and not sure that I can afford to label myself really. Your article definitely gave me food for thought, and so did many of the comments. Thanks!

  83. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. Well deserved. I enjoyed your article, especially having been in the job where I’ve thought “Maybe I’ll get [laid off] today. Wouldn’t that be wonderful.” Thanks for writing – – now I’m off to read the poem you recommended.

  84. I can also relate to this. I love to write, but don’t call myself a writer as I’m not published. I guess that’s the beauty of blogging, it is instantaneous and gives us a chance to write daily, without needing the approval of agents, editors and publishers.
    Writing is such so subjective. I think if we can be proud of the work we have produced then do we have to give ourselves a title.

  85. This post was a god send.. I’ve often tried to materialize the line between a writer and the owner of a pen and pad. Although I meet the criteria you’ve stated.. move to New York, renounce material things, experiment with drugs and alcohol, etc. I am a writer because my purpose is to provoke emotion. To express a sentiment is my true goal. I created a blog to showcase my poetry, check it out..

  86. It was only recently that I began calling myself a writer. Not many people lost sleep over this revelation, but as a person it meant fulfillment, satisfaction and joy! The questions that all writers ask, like the ones you put up have crossed my mind more than once. But then out of the blue I get some random idea to write about. I forget all trivialities and just get down to writing. I love every bit of the experience. Thank you for the wonderful reminder that I deserve to be called a writer:)!!

  87. Wonderful. I’m a professional dancer- but yes, I have to teach too! And I feel like sometimes it devalues my performance resume. But it is SO necessary. Best of luck on everything- let us know of your next publication! Cheers!

  88. While I’ve been writing consistently since I was 14, I made the decision to call myself a ‘writer’ a year and a half ago when I started my first blog with full intentions. I’m still trundling down the road toward professional publication, but I feel confident in saying that I am a writer.

  89. I’m glad I’m not the only one who worries about this academia/writing issue. I’m a historian (currently unemployed) so have plenty of time to write, but it is important to have an income.!

  90. You know, I read a quote somewhere not too long ago that said “If you’re waiting for inspiration to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” Years ago, I read Stephen King’s “On Writing” – in which, if memory serves, he recommends writing at least 500 words a day. I think that the concept of who – or what – makes someone a writer is much harder to define in this day and age because of social media, blogs etc.

  91. I had a similar inner conflict, but it was over whether not being paid made me a writer (my day job is a lab tech and I need science in my life too much to give that up). For a while I was paid to write for a website, and that felt more official than the other sites and magazines I wrote for. Then, after the site no longer had the funds to pay me, I realized that the only difference between that gig and my previous writing endeavors for other publications was budget and it didn’t change the effort I put into my work.

  92. I know exactly mean. I have come to realize that I am in fact a writer, no matter who says what. I lost my job as a writer and got quite depressed about it, and stopped writing because I I let the experience define me. I realized the writing I did at the company was not what I was good at. After 6 months of feeling sorry for myself, I returned to writing. Its my one passion and it’ll always form a part of me. The trick is brushing up on my skills because I am good at what I do, learning is just part of the growth process.

  93. Just started writing again by starting a new blog and I almost jumped out of my skin from excitement. I consider myself a writer because it’s my passion and even though I’m not published ( yet) I am still a writer. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  94. Reblogged this on Sereta Thompson and commented:
    I have always considered myself a ‘writer’ even though i have no published pieces nor do i get paid to do it. Writing has just always been my greatest love. I think it is really the fact that you right and write well that make you a writer.

  95. Yea same here. I always believe that if you love to write, you are a writer. As for me, I have been writing fiction novels and to be honest, I cannot help but feel that I am not a official writer unless my work gets published so the public can read and enjoy it. I have people read a bit of my work and they enjoy it a lot (which is good relief for me), but it is not enough.

  96. Excellent post. I’ve often struggled with this question. Though I write all the time, most of my stuff that I’ve shared has been in the style of fan fiction or blogging. I’m finally getting the courage to actually put some original work out there, but even if I hadn’t I think I would still call myself a writer.

  97. So Inspired by Days without writing – I wrote a blog within my main blog (science stuff). It prompted me to come clean & tell my story about the difficulties of writing & publishing… the blog within a blog is in the main menu of the link to my profile and is entitled: ‘The Unruly Pen’.

  98. It’s a such difficult choice to make between a day job and going after a passion like writing. Sometimes, the writer finds herself taking job and quitting and taking another and quitting again. The cycle continues forever for reasons of insecurity. I love words, their flow, their meanings, their impact and everything that makes them come alive. From the first day I stepped into the writers’ den, I’ve always wished to be able to earn a living while doing what I love – writing. I’ve written letters, articles and short stories. I only received $26 for an article. I was promised another $50 for another published article. This amount never came. For financial security reasons, I’ve decided to move into copywriting. I hope this field will help me do both writing and earning money. I’m afraid I may have to sacrifice some rigid rules of professional. Masters in this say it matters little about your style. What matters is how much your words sell.

  99. Pingback: “Days Without Writing” by Jennifer Lynn Krohn | C. L. Tangenberg

  100. Great topic, the singer/songwriter Leslie Feist has a lyric, “It maybe years until the day my dreams will match up with my pay.” I’ve struggle with this topic myself. It’s becoming a more complex topic as forums online grow. The saturation of content limits the amount of revenue available. This only further complicated by the debate whether ‘blogging’ is legitimate writing.

    Ultimately, I think if your intent and behavior are aligned with the job description, even sans pay, you are that title. I watched the documentary on Charles Bukowski, who was broke and relatively unknown until his 50’s. Yet, he punched out pages day after day. As long as you don’t sway from the process you can continually regard yourself a writer.

  101. Hi Jennifer,
    I’m an English conversation teacher in Italian State schools and with a mother who has been a “who’s who poet” and published author, I grew up in a writing environment and has always wanted to be a writer. Teaching Italian high school students is my day job and it has been since I moved to Italy from Rhode Island, but I dream day in and day out of becoming a writer. Like you I feel the same way, but you know what? Today we have possibilities of writing and getting our word out there in the cyber-world like no one before us. Writing for me has become a reality with blogging, yes I am not getting paid and my blog doesn’t get millions of views, but I don’t let it stop me from telling my story.
    It is great to read other people’s story and be inspired to do more. Every day I push my self to write and hope that maybe something will happen to make “the dream” a reality. Writing is my constant awakening to my dream.

  102. Pingback: Be a good neighbor | Livin' Italian

  103. Excellent post. I’ve been working on writing my first novel although a few months back I fell off the wagon & need to get recommitted to the project. In the meantime though I have written extensively on my blog which is dedicated to books I am reading to hopefully make me a better writer. Your post is a reminder not to beat myself up too much for ignoring my novel of late. I’m still writing and taking the writing seriously; the simple truth is that I have merely shifted the emphasis on how and where I choose to write.

  104. Kudos to you for writing every day, especially since life often gets in the way.

    You’re a writer when you dedicate time to putting your thoughts down on paper and then let others read them, and then you repeat. A writer is one who writes. Add other monikers like published if a company has distributed your work, or successful if many people like your work, or prolific if you’ve written quite a bit. But at the end of the day, you’re a writer if you write and repeat. Simple.

    Define yourself by what you do and think, not by what you think you should be called.

  105. I really enjoyed this and can relate entirely! Having majored in Fiction Writing and finding myself constantly conflicted between writing and achieving financial gain, I am completely at odds with myself most of the time. Thanks for helping me not feel so isolated 🙂

  106. Fantastic post! I am so glad I came across this today. I was really able to connect with your honesty, I hope you treat us to some more of that. I don’t know if you have been featured on freshly pressed before, but I can’t help but think that you will no longer need to question your legitimacy.

  107. Reblogged this on chrispavesic and commented:
    This is a very interesting post. It deals with issues of semi-professional writers who earn their livings in other fields. It does raise the question about people finding the time to write when other work-related responsibilities take most of the hours in a day.

  108. Fortunately, I haven’t gotten a job that’s not related to writing. But I have had this fear before that I might work in the future in a field that is not inline with my passion. That’s why I make it a point to explore different opportunities for writing outside the professional realm, like blogging. So if the time comes that I wouldn’t get the writing/editing job I want, I can still have an avenue to continue my passion. Great post!

  109. Besides writing my FT job is going to Dr.’s appointments I made my New Years resolution to focus more on writing however I am starting off on the right foot to the best of my ability

  110. Thank you for this insightful post. I can sympathize entirely. I always wanted to be a Writer, but knew that a day job came with the territory. I would write consistently no matter what I would be studying or doing otherwise. But after a semester of law school I realized that weeks would pass by without pen touching paper, and started to doubt whether I could call myself a writer anymore.

    Thank you for your thoughts on the issue, they’ve been very consoling.

  111. Great blog post and contemplating. I agree that what one does to earn money doesn’t define who they are or their passion. I can completely relate to this statement, “Maybe I’ll get fired today. Wouldn’t that be wonderful.” I have often wished for the same things. I have also daydream on my way to work that I just keep going pass my exit and runaway, off on a big adventure. Naturally, that doesn’t happen. Thanks again for your wonderful post.

  112. So many truths in this blog. “Teaching is the first job where no matter how bad it gets, I don’t sit in the car before my day starts and think, “Maybe I’ll get fired today. Wouldn’t that be wonderful.” Wow, that really hit me. That statement is my current life! I fantasize every day about getting fired, and I hate that I need my stupid day job to survive. If I could live on writing alone, I would. At least I have an outlet for my thoughts and my ridiculous humor, thank goodness for WordPress blogs! Thanks for speaking for all of us writers.

  113. Reblogged this on ktjsturtle19071205 and commented:
    I can definitely relate to this, but only in the sense that it’s other things or a certain someone from my flat that takes me away from my own writings or stops me from doing so via disruptions to distract me from what I’m trying to complete! I frown then and take my writing off to another room in order to concentrate, which can sometimes be helpful (doesn’t always work). But yes, anyway this is a great blog that I’m reblogging onto mine as I’ve enjoyed reading this one today. A well written article! O:-) x

  114. I don’t think it matters what your day job or night job is. When you’re a writer/artist, that’s who you are. No matter how much you try, it doesn’t change. You always come back to writing or creating something new. Cursed and Blessed at the same time. Love at you do.

  115. This is fantastic! I struggle with this as well as I have a “real” job that involves very little writing (unless you include emails). Writing and my blog is my passion and my sanity but I don’t call myself a writer as I have and use the title from my “real” job. I’m not sure when I will call myself a writer – perhaps when I’m paid to do it?

  116. I think all writers, even if it is your day job, feel this way. Should you be writing or sending out queries? How many times do you read and re-read what you just wrote. Is reading a novel homework or procrastination? To be a writer is to doubt your existence and write anyway.

  117. Pingback: This Week: What I’m Reading, What I’m Writing | Jennifer K Blog

  118. I am an English student at Texas Tech University, and I don’t know how to feel about writing. I really don’t. I love to write, but I can’t seem to assign any sort of meaning or definition to my own personal writing. I am even more conflicted with regard to my academic writing. I love to write but haaaaaaate being told what to write about or getting a review that is marked by undertones of personal preference instead of grammar, content, etc.. Anyways, thanks for writing this. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  119. Hi! Thank you for this post.

    I can say that I’m in a somewhat similar struggle . I have a day job (as an analyst in an investment bank) but my mind is always out of it. Yes, it does give a lot of time to ponder on things I wanted to write but most of the time I only think of whether I’m in the right path or not.

    Reading your post somehow relieves me because I can totally relate!

    Thanks and hope to hear from you.

  120. Reblogged this on Words by Nola and commented:
    A well written Freshly Pressed article that resonates with many (evidenced by the many comments). Understanding what we are is as much about what we do, think and feel in our every day living without losing touch with what we understand drives our inner being, a desire to create – a desire to write.

  121. Having always been a writer by choice and by destiny and by choice never been an academic, I find this article insightful and informative.

  122. I hesitated once calling myself a writer as it wasn’t my source of income, not my occupation or career. It doesn’t erase the fact that I do write, and I do it to share what I have to say. Be it read or not, I can only hope that at least someone, somewhere, would say “she writes a good one.” Don’t you think it would worth it?

  123. I’m overwhelmed by all the response. Thank you all for your comments! I’ve read them all, and find great encouragement in that so many other writers share my fears.

  124. Great post and comments. I too have struggled calling myself a writer. I have 2 jobs and a family and have only recently began to think of myself as a writer. It started when I joined a writing group with fellow writers, both published and unpublished. That is the difference, we who write are all writers, its just that some of us have not published anything yet.

  125. Hi. To tell you that I enjoyed reading this particular article would be a base understatement. I read all my fears about being the writer I have always considered myself to be. There! I said it. I now feel able to slough off the inertia which had held my true passion at bay. I’ll look at my day job for what it needs to be, but refuse to let it define. Thanks for the mentoring and speech-to-the-heart encouragement.

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