Three reasons you should say it more often
Let’s face it. There are more writers in this world who shy away from calling themselves a ‘writer’ than those who happily and confidently do. And then there are wannabe writers who not only stand on the fringes when it comes to the title of ‘writer’ but also feel dubious, if not a little envious or bitter about why and how other writers refer to themselves as writers. The matter is pretty simple — if you write and you love it, that’s what you are — a writer!
Most writers start out with an abundance of self-doubt. This is inevitable as writers. But how we get over it is important. We have to write through it. When I began writing at thirteen, I certainly did not call myself a writer. I did not call myself a writer well until I had my first book published. But then, no one asked me if I was a writer. I was either called one by my friends who knew about my writing or never asked. However, I know one thing for sure — if ever I were asked, I wouldn’t have shied away from saying, “I am a writer.”
The matter is pretty simple — if you write and you love it, that’s what you are — a writer!
Because, it is important! If you are a writer and if you want to be a good one, the very first step you take, apart from writing with commitment and patience, is to own it. Own the title and say out loud, “I am a writer!”
Professionally, I am qualified as a physician and a counseling professional. But, these days, whenever I introduce myself, I add “I’m a writer, too.” to it. The power embedded in simply allowing yourself to take the title is immense.
So here are a few reasons to say “I am a writer.” and why you should say it often.
It’s a reality check
As a fiction writer and poet, often I have found myself detaching from the real world when I lunge into the ocean of words. I have no doubt that I am a writer because that sort of focus is telling enough. However, many writers find it hard to believe that they love to write and enjoy the process. They fear saying it loud lest they be judged. They recoil the moment someone asks them, “Seriously? You are a writer?” even if it was a harmless expression of incredulity. The negative focus in their thoughts about their craft stops them from entirely assuming the title of a writer.
But, every time you feel this way, say it: “I’m a writer!” and let the realization consume you. We all are writers for different reasons. And as writers, we all read — have read a lot — and its role in making us writers is not small. But then, there are many people who read a lot, even more than we do. Why isn’t every reader turning into a writer?
“But, when people say, Did you always want to be a writer?, I have to say no! I always was a writer.”
I believe there is an inherent dissatisfaction in us at what we have come across so far and an immense desire for more. I think when we write, we are also telling us, “Hey, buddy, this is the book you want to read and nobody is writing it, so I’m gonna do it for you.”
So, when you say, “I’m a writer,” it is a positive affirmation you need everyday to keep writing. It is a reality check which lets you realize that you are indeed a writer.
It’s a confidence-booster
Needless to say and as a continuation to the previous point, positive affirmations have a huge impact in cognition. After a while of exposure to something, be it good or bad, our brain is inclined to believe it. When you constantly tell something to someone, it is bound to get ingrained in them and they are very likely to believe it.
This is a great game to help yourself, too. Say “I’m a writer!” oftener than you do — or maybe write it, if that is better — and you will begin wrapping your head around the idea and eventually, you will work towards it. This is if you are already into writing and feel low on confidence and motivation.
It makes writing a job to take seriously
Writing, unlike other jobs or professions, is often taken lightly. People have trouble accepting it as a full-time career. Our family and friends are not very polite when it comes to addressing writing as a job instead of a hobby. Often, they think it is something we should do on the sidelines and ‘being a writer’ is just not professional enough for their ears.
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
Eventually, we, too, feel it a little less professional and not good enough to be called a job. We call it our passion and it is right by all means, but writing takes flight and makes a difference only once we take it as a profession.
All jobs have titles and so does writing. Someone who writes is called a writer. So while the word still exists, why not say “I’m a writer,” a bit proudly and take it as a serious job? Once you do, so will others. You can bet on that!
Yes, you’re a writer!
There are probably more reasons to say “I’m a writer,” but part of the reality check in point one is that only writing makes you a writer. We must all be striving to put down words and acknowledging, accepting and owning that we are writers make the process more confident, professional and meaningful. These, in turn, help you to be prolific, making you churn out story after story, whichever genre is your forte.
So, go ahead, write and say, “I am a writer!”
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Passion and neuroplasticity vs. inspiration in creativity.
What makes a writer, a writer? Or an artist, an artist? Primarily, their creativity. But then, the world has more creative people than those who have actually pursued their creative arenas and produced something worth remembering. Why is that so?
Why are some people more creatively successful than others? Is it because they are constantly inspired by something and own a think-tank that overflows with the muse? Is it because their well of stories and thoughts never gets dry? Or is it because they put in more effort and prioritize their art over everything?
Passion and creativity
Creative people who realize that they cannot do without what they are capable of, pursue their art. And creativity bursts forth. You cannot say when the muse strikes you.
You cannot predict what elicits a certain idea in your head. So, the way to capture it is to be ready all the time. Passion doesn’t wait for inspiration. Writers better keep some sort of idea-recording tool — a notebook and pen, a note-making app on your phone or other gadgets or a voice-recorder if you like to speak out your thoughts.
Words get strung in the least way we expect and that string of words could portray a whole new world when you look at it later. I remember using such bursts of thoughts in my fiction books later.
“Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.” — Bruce Garrabrandt
Another aspect of creativity is its adherence to habit. Let’s take a glimpse at that — about habituation and prioritization.
Neuroplasticity and creativity
If you wait for inspiration to strike, you might wait a bit too longer than necessary. You might do much better when you make it a habit to sit and write, not to push yourself too hard but to let yourself experiment, make errors and rectify them.
This is because our brain (where essentially all thoughts and emotions originate from) is neuroplastic. Means, you can mold it into just about everything you want to be.
Habituation and prioritization
These are the two processes that press the buttons when you need to knead and mold your brain into what you want it to perform. The brain programs itself into acting upon what we make ourselves do. The more you do and think something, the stronger those synapses grow and the more it becomes a part of who you are.
The changes in neural pathways take place when the brain resorts to synaptic pruning. This is the process by which the brain deletes the neural connections (there’s one for every thought) which are not necessary or useful for us anymore, thereby strengthening the necessary and useful synapses and inculcating what is important to us.
For example, when you decide to work out, you just decide it, think about it and maybe get motivated for a day or two. You slip back to your sedentary state in no time.
But at the same time, instead of planning to work out, if you just start doing exercises, your brain runs the command accordingly — hey, she is exercising to stay fit, you better stay away from junk food or refined sugars.
The bottom line is — just thinking or planning doesn’t really cut the deal. Acting does. Your brain equips you to habituate something if you do it, not if you just think about it. Thinking precedes action anyway.
So you need to begin acting on your thoughts towards your goals. This works for writing and creative pursuits in general because habituating and prioritizing breeds consistency. And consistency is what eggs are in a cake recipe — a binder. Consistency binds together your efforts into one journey and destination, and subsequently, success.
So, when is the best time to be creative?
The best time is now — now when you are idling and poring over social media because you are uninspired.
The best time is now — now when you are constantly making guilt trips because you have not really felt like writing a new page.
The best time is now — now when you stall on opening your work-in-progress (or rather, regress) just because you have not felt inspired by your life or surroundings.
Your inspiration lies right in there — where you have written some words and left them to fend for themselves. Your inspiration dwells in those pages that are waiting for continuity. It is in there that you wove a web of beauty, that’s where you need to get caught again.
Within you. Within your art.
Sometimes, you need to carve out time from whatever mood you are in, and set to work. The mundane moments might as well be transformed by bringing on some words to the page, instead of waiting for the moments to become extraordinary by themselves!
This article was first published on The Brave Writer on medium.com.
A blog on the art of writing and life as a writer.