Stop Waiting for Someone to Tell You You Are a Writer

Way too many people sit around waiting for someone to tell them they should write.

They want to write. They sense they should write. They have things they want to say. But they’re waiting for family or friends to point out how talented they are, or for a few hundred people to click a link on Twitter. They’re waiting for a publisher to pick up their manuscript or to be “discovered” by an agent.

Meanwhile, they’re missing the most important determining factor of great writing—a willingness to just get started.

I did this for way too many years of my writing life.

When I first set out to be a writer, I was full of energy and enthusiasm. I had finally discovered the thing “I was meant to do all my life,” so I was convinced all I would have to do would be to take a leap of faith and the Universe would respond.

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So with a few freelance gigs under my belt, I quit my full time job, started writing my book and waited for publishers to show up on my doorstep.

Strangely enough, they never came.

I know. You’re shocked.

I went through a period of pretty intense frustration.

Actually, come to think of it, it was a little bit like a grieving process. There was denial at first—this couldn’t possibly be happening to me, I thought. A publisher would come any day. Any day they would be here.

Then there was anger, the kind of thrashing around that happens when we try to take things into our own hands.

Then there was bargaining. Like, “please God, I’ll do whatever you want me to do, if you’ll just help me make this happen.” Then, finally, depression, when no matter what I did, nothing seemed to change my circumstances.

But finally, I came to a place of acceptance.

And acceptance looked like this: I don’t need anybody to tell me I’m a writer because I just am a writer. I don’t have to make any money doing it. I don’t need an agent or a publisher. I don’t need to be on any lists or make a million dollars. I can even work at Starbucks.

I’m a writer. It’s in me. No one can give it to me or take it away.

And my biggest regret as a writer is that I didn’t come to this place much sooner. Because, somewhere in all of that, I lost years of great writing time waiting around, stalling, hoping for validation only I could give myself.

Somewhere along the line, while I was waiting for someone else to validate me as a writer, I forgot my being a writer had nothing to do with anyone else.

But here’s the beautiful part.

Although I lost myself in the process of becoming a writer—or, another way of saying it would be I realized I’d never had myself in the first place—nothing has helped me uncover and recover myself like writing.

Writing is incredibly healing. It is beautifully calming. It can help us find our way home.

So these days, when I sit down to write, I don’t wonder to myself who is going to publish my writing or who is going to read it or if it’s going to make me a bunch of money. I remind myself how writing is the only thing that has ever made me feel like myself.

And how that’s all I ever really wanted, anyway.

I’m not sure where you are when it comes to writing.

Maybe you know you’re supposed to start writing something but you’ve been putting it off. Maybe you are writing, but you find yourself wondering if it matters—and if so, for what? Maybe you want to take your writing to the next level but you’re not exactly sure where you’re supposed to start.

If that’s you, you’re not alone.

But here’s the deal: no amount of validation that will make you feel like you’re ready. You have to decide you’re ready for yourself. And once you do decide you’re ready, my guess is you’ll need a little bit of guidance to help you know the right next step to take.

I created this video course to help guide you through your next steps.

Don’t waste any more time waiting for someone to tell you you are a writer. You are a writer. It’s in you. And even if no one ever reads what you’ve written, it will be worth it. I promise.

Learn More About Find Your Writing Voice Now

17 comments on “Stop Waiting for Someone to Tell You You Are a Writer

  1. Once again you have typed my thoughts. It wasn’t until recently that I have ‘learned’ that I do not need approval from publishers, let alone anyone else to validate my purpose through writing. I too have nearly lost myself in the “maybe I’m not good enough” as it has been 4 months since I released my first book and have yet to sell 50 copies. I have ‘learned’ not to be so hard on myself and remember that everything, everything happens according to divine order. I am so glad I found you on purpose (not really, I was just surfing the web 😉 because your posts truly are an inspiration to myself, if not many.

    • Thanks for sharing, Tonia! I’m so glad to hear my posts are an inspiration to you. Keep at it with the writing. It takes a really long time (10,000 hours, says Malcom Gladwell) to hone our crafts. Good thing we’re not on this journey alone.

    • We all have something to say, Karen. You just might not have figured it out yet. The way to get to know what you want to say is to get to know yourself—where you come from, where you’re going, etc.

      Also (shameless plug) the writer’s course I’m releasing in a week is directed specifically at helping writers discover their unique message.

      Keep with it! It’s challenging, but totally worth it.

  2. Thanks for this. It helps. I’ve wanted to be a writer all my life and have even been told I write exceptionally well. But I’ve done everything except writing career-wise. Now that I’ve claimed my writer hat I still keep distracting myself with college courses instead of writing. Even my blog is a distraction. I guess I never believed I was capable of making any money at writing. And now I’m so overwhelmed with ideas I don’t know where to start. And the reality is, what I know I really want to write is too overwhelming and I don’t think I can achieve it. I guess I’ll never know if I don’t just start, somewhere, anywhere.

    • I totally understand how a blog can become a distraction. It’s funny how that works—writing can be a distraction from… Writing. But you’re right—if you don’t just start somewhere, you’ll never start. We all have to start where we are!

  3. I love your words Allison. Some words are true, but they bring apprehension and striving as I try them on. Your words are different though, they’re soft and wrapped in quiet encouragement with an invitation to step into the truth rather than underneath it.

    I cannot wait for more!

  4. THANK YOU. i always hesitate to call myself a writer because it makes me, um, ZERO dollars at the moment. so glad you pointed out that dollar signs do not equal calling!

  5. Excellent piece @allison, its like waiting for permission to be or do what you are created to do. Just like @jeff wrote in, “Why Your Work Never Feels Good Enough”. Sometimes it’s because we feel we are not on the right part so we need external validation. But I usually tell people, that if Teachers Teach and Singers Sing, then Writers Write.

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