Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Monday, October 10, 2011

Take Yourself Seriously

When I was young and first starting out, I read some great advice in a writing book. (Sorry, I don't remember which one.) It was this:

Take yourself seriously as a writer. Tell people you are a writer. As long as you are writing, you ARE a writer. 


I took that advice to heart. I told people I was a writer. I told myself I was a writer. I worked on stuff with the hope of publishing it. I didn't try to hide it. I forced some pretty awful early stories on kind friends and family members who continued to encourage me. (You know who you are.) I made a commitment to myself that I was going to do this. I made it a priority over less important activities. I learned and practiced. I submitted and got rejected and kept submitting. Heck, getting rejected just added credibility to the fact that I was a writer. It was nine years before I got a word published, but I considered myself a writer the entire time. And, no, I didn't use the word "aspiring." I don't really like that word. Well, in this context anyway.

I still have to take myself seriously as a writer every day. I still have to commit to myself to keep going. I'm so glad that I took that advice all those years ago. If I hadn't, I probably would have quit a long time ago.

So, my advice to you is the same.

Take yourself seriously!  You are a writer.

But, you know, don't take yourself too seriously. ;)

20 comments:

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Oh, how excellent is that advice! I proudly state I'm an writer/author, and I think I have always tried to, as well. I went to school in a degree that would help me write novels for the rest of my life. Life-long dream, and I'm living it. No way I'm going to back away from it now. No aspiring here. Only DOING. :)

Nisa said...

Hey, it's karma. I forced some pretty horrible stories on you, too and you keep encouraging me.

Thank you, Angie, for taking me seriously.

Mohamed Mughal said...

I have to admit, Angie, I don't take myself seriously. I don't think I ever will. I do, however, take my writing seriously....even the satiric and humorous writing :)...I take it serious.

Angie said...

That's a great idea, Mohamed! Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Charity Bradford said...

Wonderful post and wonderful thought! You know, when I started taking myself seriously as a writer, I started moving forward. When I started telling people I was a writer, I started working harder. I needed something new to tell them when they asked me how it was going. ;)

Now, I've found that I'm comfortable saying, "I'm a writer." It doesn't even matter than my novel is unpublished (so far).

Christine Rains said...

Excellent post and wonderful advice. I've always been comfortable with saying I'm a writer, but it's taken a long time to be comfortable saying I'm a romance writer.

I'm having a journal giveaway on my blog celebrating my first 100 followers. Please feel free to drop by. :)

Abby Annis said...

It's taken me a long time to be comfortable telling people I'm a writer. I've been amazed at how supportive people are. Great post!

Carolyn V said...

I like that! I'm going to have to take that advice. ;)

Angie said...

Thanks, Christine. I'll go check out your giveaway now!

Maeve Frazier said...

Angie - It has taken me a long time to tell people that I am a writer. With a lot of encouragement from my husband, I have been coming out of my shell. He was the one that encouraged me to start a blog. Now, I have all these blogger friends that inspire and encourage me everyday!

Michelle Teacress said...

Angie, you are right. I am going to change my Twitter profile to Writer, not Aspiring Author.

Additionally, when we tell others we are a writer, we need to be prepared to answer the questions they might subsequently ask...

What's your book about?
What do you like to write?
Can I read your stuff?
Are you published?

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I agree with that advice, and try to remember it. There is an amazing freedom in stating, "I'm a writer" when someone asks me what I do. I have to admit it comes with a long list of "I'm a teacher, a home schooler, and a worship leader, and I'm a writer," but often people focus in on it, and ask me more. It makes me feel more confident, and it helps me get back to work on my writing when I've been less than serious about it.
But I don't want to be too serious - :-)

ali cross said...

Yes! I love this advice! That quote sounds like something the late Ken Rand would have said. It's possible you might have heard him speak--he gave a lot of classes and such in Utah and has written a number of books/stories that were published in various medium. I pretty much loved him. He did a lot to inspire and encourage me (not directly, just through his teachings) when I was starting out.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble! This is fabulous advice from any source. And I agree ... it is a constant, daily choice. Thanks Angie!

ali cross said...

Yes! I love this advice! That quote sounds like something the late Ken Rand would have said. It's possible you might have heard him speak--he gave a lot of classes and such in Utah and has written a number of books/stories that were published in various medium. I pretty much loved him. He did a lot to inspire and encourage me (not directly, just through his teachings) when I was starting out.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble! This is fabulous advice from any source. And I agree ... it is a constant, daily choice. Thanks Angie!

Angie said...

Maeve, it's so nice to have support like that, isn't it?

Tyrean, I know what you mean. I also want people to know I'm a stay-home mom and I love that too. And we definitely shouldn't be too serious!

I appreciate your comments, everyone!

Jan Markley said...

Great advice Angie!

Larry and Cindy said...

Hey Angie if you want to follow a funny blog by a true American Hero, Our F-16 fighter piolt friend. Frosty Shepherd, go to http://frostysadventure.blogspot.com/ You will love it and die laughing and tell your friends. Love To All, MOM

Angie said...

Thanks, Mom! Can't wait to check it out.

Nichole Giles said...

I love this advice! Thanks for the reminder.

Jackee said...

That is great advice! :o) Sometimes I give it to myself too. lol! I have to work at this one because there are times where it feels like I might as well admit I'm chasing a rainbow.

I read recently if you want to be a writer and you are writing, then you ARE living your dreams. I remind myself of that now. Daily. :o)