First, Call Yourself a Writer

04.08.2021 |

Episode #1 of the course How to build a strong writing habit by Frank McKinley


Have you told anyone you want to be a writer someday?

If they laughed, you’re not alone.

If they smiled, rejoice.

What do you believe? Do you call yourself a writer?


Why People Don’t Call Themselves Writers

We have romantic ideas about writers.

Here’s the American Heritage Dictionary definition: “one who writes, especially as an occupation.”

The second part makes you feel like you’re not a real writer if:

• You haven’t published yet.

• You’re not making money writing.

Here are some crippling connotations:

• Your English teacher said your writing stinks.

• Your friends laugh at your dreams of writing something great.

• You’re afraid no one will care about your writing.

• You’re afraid you have nothing to say.

If any of these apply to you, they’re blocking you.

Let’s see how to get unblocked now.


How to Become a Real Writer the Easy Way

Let’s take each of the objections we listed and make them irrelevant.

You haven’t published yet. Find a platform, like, and post something there. Don’t worry about making money. Your goal is getting your name in print. Once you hit the publish button, you’re a real writer.

No one paid you to write. Write a useful eBook and tell people about it. Answer an editor’s call for submissions. Offer your services to a website you love. All you need is a deposit in your account to call yourself a professional.

Your English teacher said your writing stinks. Most professional writing would fail a high school English test. What matters is that your readers understand and enjoy your words. Communicate clearly and you’ll make the grade with readers.


Start Calling Yourself a Writer Now

There is power in making declarations.

First, by declaring you are a writer, you give yourself permission to begin. Now that you see yourself this way, do what writers do. Journal. Research. Pitch. Write an essay, a poem, or a book. Assume the role and it will become your reality.

Second, your declaration makes it real. When you believe you’re a writer, you’ll have the confidence you need to spread your message. Words are available to those willing to use them.


Do This Now

Write 250 words about something that arouses emotion in you. It can be joy, anger, or excitement. The more emotional you are, the easier it will be.

When you’re done, share it with someone you trust.

After you do that a few times, start sharing your work with the world. You won’t please everyone, but you’ll reach those who care.

In our next lesson, we’ll look at two habits that stop you from writing. Get past these and you’ll set your writing free! Until then…

Keep writing,



Recommended book

On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser


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