I’m a writer; am I a writer?

I shocked myself yesterday. I was eating lunch, taking a break from writing my genealogy column when it struck me: I hadn’t included my writing job.

Let me back track to explain. While at the farm store yesterday morning, I saw a poster looking for Canada census takers. I decided it would be an interesting experience, and since I write a genealogy column, I could write about it.

I came home, called up the website and filled in an application. The form requested three previous employers, but since I haven’t been working out of the house since the kids were born, I simply noted my pizza flipping position and my experience at a garden centre (before my first child). I didn’t bother filling in the third position even though I could have filled in twenty jobs. The jobs were old, so last century.

While I chewed on my spaghetti, thinking about the column, I realised I hadn’t mentioned a word about my writing experience on the application. My history of entering data, researching and computer use would be an asset for a census enumerator.

Diane Lynn Tibert
Stop staring at me; I know I made a mistake.

I thought about my mistake. Why hadn’t I included my writing career? After all, I make money with my writing, so it is a job. I hung my head; I knew what had caused my blunder: After all these years, after all those words in print, subconsciously, I didn’t think of my writing as a career.

I’m used to others not taking my writing seriously. After all, most of them aren’t in the writing profession and don’t realise what it’s all about. The banks don’t even take me serious. While applying for a loan last year, the bank representative had asked about my employment. I told her about my writing career and she stared back at me as if to say, That’s nice. You have a hobby. But do you have a job?

I told her about my part time job, and she recorded it. She seemed more impressed that I flipped pizzas for twenty-five hours a week than that my genealogy column had been published for more than four years and appeared in almost ten newspapers in Atlantic Canada.

The attitude of people like her and others who I tell I’m a writer don’t bother me; I’ve developed a thick outer skin against them.

However, it does bother me that I – for one moment – didn’t take my writing seriously. And I’m not sure what I can do about the problem to fix it. Maybe I’ll always have these insecurities about writing.

What I do know is that these insecurities do not hinder my writing. I write more now than I ever did, and I can see myself writing ten years from now, twenty years from now. I wish I could remove these insecurities and squash them like a bug, but I guess I just have to learn to live with them . . . and enumerate when they appear, so I can correct the mistakes they cause.

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9 thoughts on “I’m a writer; am I a writer?

  1. You should definitely think of your writing as a carrer. I have a friend who is a self-employed writer and she ordered business cards for herself. Under her name it reads “Writer/Author/Creative Genius.”

    • It’s funny because I keep telling other writers to, “think of your writing as a career”. I don’t know how I forgot.

      I love your friend’s business card caption.

      Thanks for commenting, Tracy.

  2. Allow me to offer a more positive perspective: Maybe sometimes we don’t think of writing as a career simply because it is something so inherent in us that it feels almost like listing “eating breakfast” as a career. That’s just something we do because we need it. It’s natural to us as writers.
    I know this isn’t the entire explanation, but maybe, just sometimes, there is an element of it.

      • Well, we can hope that it’s some of it at least, for all of us who love writing and still forget it occasionally.
        And a nice weekend to you too! (Although I’m a little late with that.)

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