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  • Writer's pictureHolly

Can You Call Yourself a Writer?

Updated: Jun 14, 2023


I'm continuously amazed at the amount of writers who have trouble openly calling themselves writers. It's almost as if they've put writers up on a pedestal too high to allow themselves to be included on it.


But I believe being a writer is more a function of a decision one makes to be one, than any sort of honorary title bestowed once they've hit some arbitrary external benchmark (such as getting published/produced, or becoming a bestselling author).


When I was 21, I had an idea for a movie flash before my eyes, and I thought it would be a shame not to try to write it down. In that moment I became a writer. Not a great writer. Not even a good writer. But I became a writer, none the less, because I chose the path.


From that day forward, and in the 30 years since, I have done all the things any writer does. I got real about the fact that this journey would be a marathon, not a sprint. That it might be years, even decades, before I mastered my craft enough to share with others.


I rearranged my life to make room for my pursuit of writing. I intentionally chose careers that supported my growth. I started looking at everything that happened in my life through the lens of story. I studied human nature. Studied myself. And most importantly, I spent countless hours (be it in my journal or while trying to write a scripts) figuring out the most dynamic way to express, what was in my heart, onto the page.


Like a guitarist who spends countless hours simply playing scales and chords, the more time I spent writing, the better and better I got at it. And over time, to my delight, when my heart flooded with something to express, the words to express it flowed with more and more ease.


I became bold. Fearless. While simultaneously aware of the areas where I still wasn’t fearless. I developed a high tolerance for sitting in the uncomfortable tension of a question that felt unanswerable (as all writers working out a story must), for as long as it took for the most inspired answer to come storming to the surface.


I learned patience with the process and myself. Learned how to manage the days when inspiration flowed so freely it almost overwhelmed me, and made me feel manic. And I learned how to keep going on those days/weeks/years when it felt like the well may have run dry permanently. This is the work of a writer.


Anyone can be a writer. They just have to choose it. And keep choosing it. If there’s stories in your heart, they are there for a reason. And if you make a commitment to yourself to get them out, then you are a writer.


Where it will take you is anyone’s guess. That's really not the point. The point is in the trying and how it moves you, challenges you, forces you to grow.


What I can tell you from a lifetime of choosing, is that I’ve never regretted the choice to become a writer. Even when choosing to be a writer made me crazy. When it made me so frustrated I wanted to quit (which I did at least 3 times over the last 30 years), I was still grateful for it. It gave purpose and meaning to my life in a way that simply wouldn’t have been there otherwise. It caused me to love harder, feel deeper and pay attention in a way I never would have. The adventures I’ve had, the people I’ve met, most of them wouldn’t have happened if not for my choice to become a writer.


If you’re someone who has been teetering. Refusing to call yourself a writer, consider this your push over the cliff. Just choose it. Decide to become one. Don’t wait. Let the life adventure begin now. It starts by shifting your mindset. Claiming the identity. Saying the words, "I am a writer". There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.


And if you need support. If you need a coach who has been there, who can help you steel your commitment, and help you get yourself back on track, even on the days you want to quit, book a call with me. I’ve got loads of ways to support you, no matter your budget or time commitments. Just book that call and together we’ll figure it out where to start.


***Holly Payberg-Torroija is a writer/writing coach and founder of Loving The Process, a coaching program designed to support writers in getting out of their own way, so they can write the stories they were born to write.

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