Struggling to Write Doesn't Mean You're Not a 'Writer'

We had reached the inevitable “So, what do you do?” stage of small talk at a mutual friend’s party, and my new acquaintance was describing her job managing web content for a local nonprofit.

“I do a good bit of writing,” she said, “but I’m not sure I can really call myself a ‘writer.’”

I grinned, because the qualification sounded familiar. In the internet era, there are more people putting their words into the world than ever, and yet, many people who write feel hesitant to adopt the title of “writer.” Even getting published doesn’t necessarily cure the imposter syndrome.

I know the feeling well. Even after getting a degree in journalism, writing hundreds of articles and running web content at a national magazine, I waffled over whether to include “writer” on my business cards when I went full-time freelance. It’s so much easier to label myself as an “editor,” to critique someone else’s work, to polish the words of others rather than grinding out my own.

Honestly, I’m nervous that I can’t live up to the promise “writer” seems to convey. Writing doesn’t come easily for me. There are times it flows, but sometimes it feels like trying to wade through sinking sand. ...

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