I’ve been writing my whole life, but I didn’t feel like a real writer.
If people asked, “What do you do?” I’d tell them I’m a mom, a substitute teacher, a volunteer jail chaplain. Anything, but a writer. After all, they might ask what novels I’d written, or assume I earned a steady income as a freelance writer.
Never mind that I’d been writing stories from the time I could hold a pencil. Or that I spent several years as a newspaper journalist. I never showed people my portfolio filled with published first-person stories and Christian devotions. Never asked people to read my blog.
Compelled to write, but reluctant to admit I’m a writer.
Perhaps if writing had been my vocation instead of a hobby, I would have advertised the fact. Instead, I remained mute, and allowed my writing to wax and wane while I raised my children. And I prayed that one day, I’d become a real writer.
While other writers talked about “God’s calling,” I resorted to plucking flower petals for a sign. “God wants me to be a writer. God doesn’t want me to write. God wants…”
Then one day, a real author told me. “If God equipped you to write, then you must use your gift for whatever means. Now, say it out loud—I’m a writer.”
I glanced around and whispered. “I’m…a…writer.”
“Say the words like you mean them.”
“I’m A Writer.”
“Now, go write.”
That moment freed me to write, attend writers conferences, and join Inspire. I experienced a measure of success, but the melancholy thought lingered—am I a real writer?
Does a real writer have to pen a novel? Reach a quota of published manuscripts? Have a large platform? Become a well-known name?
In The Velveteen Rabbit, Skin Horse says, “Becoming real happens when a child loves…really loves you.”
By that criteria, the God of the universe really loves me. He calls me His own. Proclaiming truth—who I am in Christ—is my real identity. Writing is what I get to do.