Now, it isn’t because I don’t feel like I’m a “real writer” or that I feel my writing isn’t good enough that I don’t call myself a writer. I just don’t use the word as a descriptive term to characterize myself to myself or others.
If I was to characterize myself as a writer, that wouldn’t really have any bearing on my putting words to paper or the quality of the writing as the product of that practice. It might affect the mental self-image I have of myself or of my writing, and I could see it affecting the perception others might have towards me in that regard.
However, regardless of whether I or others think I am or am not, words on the page is words on the page.
Essentially, if I was to consider and present myself as a writer, I believe it wouldn’t make me any more or less of one than I am now. Similarly, I don’t consider myself “not a writer.” It’s more that I’m someone that writes. I’m a 22-year-old who happens to write. I am a post-college, part-time IT support consultant who writes. I am a martial artist, aspiring adventurer, and failed musician…who writes, and all of these things both do and don’t affect my writing just as much as how I characterize myself.
When it comes down to it, I consider myself someone who puts words to paper, who enjoys doing so and produces good product even though I don’t choose to characterize myself as a “writer”.
I wanted to say all of these things, clearly if redundantly, because I’ve found it can be easy to get hung up about writing if I get stuck on the conflict between what I can do, and how that fits into my mental image of myself. If I like to write, and I have a topic I want to write something about, sometimes it is hard to believe in that project if I feel I am unprepared because I am not a “real writer” or some similar nonsense. It has been the same for me in most any endeavor that I wasn’t immediately comfortable in, and I am willing to stand by the assertion that it happens to all of us in the same way. It isn’t a phenomenon limited to some subset of people or to just myself, it happens to all of us in things we enter into that do not immediately mesh with how we think of ourselves.
The psychology and philosophy behind this is something I will leave for another time and for other people. What I want you, the reader, to take away from this is not to get bogged down about something because it “isn’t you”.
Go for it, go out and do it.
If you’re nervous about the result then keep it a personal thing for a while, but I encourage you to share that result with people you trust to give constructive feedback and help you along. In my experience, the people who really know and who have really been there tend to be the people most willing to help you get there too.