Welcome to Micro Monday, where you get a quote and a writing prompt every Monday to help you build a portfolio of work. Learn more here.

Quote of the Week: “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” George Addair

Writing Prompt of the Week: Look up and around you. What’s the first thing that catches your eye? Write for ten minutes about what you see and go with whatever it brings up.

If you’re new to micro and writing with me, check out this post here. If you’d like to read some more micro narratives, check out Marion Winik’s The Big Book of the Dead.

Are You a Writer?

When I meet someone for the first time and they find out I’m a writer, some people will append their introduction to clarify that they are not a writer or creative person. They feel like fakes or wannabes. They may even talk for a while about this, about how hard writing is, or how they’ve never been very good at it, or how they don’t understand how other people do it. The irony is that I can take one look at that person and know that they can write. I’m not just talking about letters or reports or a note to the doctor. I’m talking about stories, essays, poems, novels. I see them as a writer, even if they can’t see it themselves. 

Seeing yourself as a writer or creative person is an inside-out job. If you don’t believe yourself to be a writer, artist or creative person, no one else will be able to convince you otherwise. It’s more than the words you speak—it’s how you feel, what you deeply believe. Self-esteem is an ongoing challenge for anyone who is creative, present company included. 

Seeing yourself as a writer or creative person is an inside-out job. Click To Tweet

The Real Thing

Here’s something you may not know: many writers, including bestselling authors, feel or have felt like a fake or wannabe at one or more points in their career (and sometimes for their entire career). They grapple with a sense of being the “real” thing, of being good enough, of wondering how the other “real” writers do it, because they themselves feel like wannabes. They’re afraid to call themselves writers when they first started out, so instead said they used words like “aspiring.” They’re reluctant to commit to the belief that they were a writer, just in case they weren’t. 

What makes a writer a writer? Writing is all about expression (of an idea, belief, possibility) or translation (what does love really mean? What makes a family? Who am I?). If you are finding ways to express yourself, how can you not be the real thing? Standards are an external measure, an attempt to quantify self-expression. But you can’t really quantify self-expression, and the rules change every day.

Call Yourself a Writer

Don’t be quick to deny yourself. If you want to write, write. Ditch the wannabes attitude. Call yourself a writer. Believe you are a writer. Acknowledge that you are creative. Don’t let others define what that means and don’t explain or defend your desire/qualifications/reasons for writing. You can’t fake this stuff, even if you think that’s what you are doing. Wannabes don’t give it their best shot, but you will. If you’re taking the time to thoughtfully commit words to paper, you’re a writer.  And it’s very nice to meet you.

If you feel like you need a little more support, check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear or watch her TED talk, “Your Elusive Creative Genius.” Also check out our post with 100+ inspiring quotes to help you beat self-sabotage and get back on track here.

If you’ve written some micro you’re proud of, share it in the comments below. Until next time, write well!

This post originally appeared in Darien’s column, The Writer’s Corner, in North Hawaii News, and has been gently modified for writer-ish.com.

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