Robert Justice

Novelist by night...Justice does not sleep.

When Can You Call Yourself a Writer?

Even though I’d written and published four books, I refused to call myself a writer. For me, there had always been a mystique surrounding the word and I couldn’t summon the courage to own it for myself.

After all, I didn’t do well in creative writing class and still, to this day, have an rudimentary understanding of punctuation and grammar. When my participles dangle I haven’t a clue.

Perhaps the greatest reason behind my reticence to own the title of writer is the fact that, up until now, I’ve only written non-fiction. “That’s not real writing,” I reasoned, “especially when compared to the skill it takes to darken the page with something from scratch.”

And so, I fancied myself an author and reserved the prestigious title of writer for those who deserved it.

All that changed for me after listening to an episode of the Write Now podcast hosted by Sarah Werner. She said something to the effect that, “If you write, then you are a writer.” Something clicked for me at an identity level–I write; therefore, I am a writer.

It’s been over a year since those words re-shaped me at a soul level and what do ya know, I’ve since finished the first draft to a novel, bad grammar and all.