There is only one answer to this question: I would like to, very much, but I can’t yet proclaim it with any honesty. I post a few blog pieces, read as much as time allows and aspire to be a writer, but I think I am in fact a long way from achieving that. This makes me wonder at what point in the future I will think of myself as a writer. What level of competence will I need to attain? I call myself an aspiring writer, but I feel that I need to move on with the aspiration and start making the dream a reality. Walk the talk, you might say.
I’ve read that declaring oneself to be a writer, particularly in writing, on forms for example, makes it seem more real, more possible. In a previous life I trained to be a nurse, and at the end of the first week in college the tutor asked if we’d told anyone yet that we were nursing students. As many of us had changed careers, identifying ourselves as nursing students made it more real to us after numerous years of identifying ourselves as other things; administrators, insurance clerks or mothers for example. It was like putting on a different cloak and adopting the new role even though we were at the very beginning of our training.
I’ve been reading books about how to write and began with Stephen King’s “On Writing” which I found enjoyable and informative. I’m now reading Louise Doughty’s “How to Write a Novel in a Year.” Although I’ve no intention of completing that particular challenge just yet, I think I might make an attempt at writing short stories. With that in mind, today I went to the local independent bookshop, where all the staff members have forgotten more about books than I will ever know, and asked what they stock on writing short stories. I felt a small flutter of apprehension as if I expected them to take one look at me and say “you’re not a writer!” and throw me out of the shop for being a fraud. But of course, they did no such thing. They took me seriously and showed me the books they had. I don’t think they were just being kind.
So now proper, independent booksellers appear to believe that I might be a potential writer, and I’m a little more inclined to believe it myself. I have a long way to go before I declare myself a writer when completing forms, but today I feel that I’ve taken a very small step in that direction. It’s a new dawn. And I’m feeling good.