This summer I took a break from my novel editing (I was utterly overwhelmed after receiving edits back from a professional editor) and didn’t move forward on it for months. Around August I started berating myself for not working on it. When friends and acquaintances would ask how it was going I would respond sheepishly and with embarrassment that it was taking so long.
Twitter is my favorite social network and it just so happens that a lot of authors hang out there, especially around #amwriting. It’s been a source of inspiration for me and also somewhere to reach out when I have writers block or need to connect with people who understand the sometimes grueling process of writing and editing.
But often I felt unworthy. I felt like a phony. I felt like I wasn’t a true writer. I let self doubt creep in. I compared myself to others and wondered why I couldn’t write that often, or that many words, or have completed that many books. And believe me, that state of mind did not help with the completion of my novel.
Come September, I looked back at what a wonderful summer it had been and how much I took advantage of my favorite season. I was outdoors often, went on great vacations, and spent quality time with those I love. So what if I took a break from writing? So what if I didn’t write as often as the other writers I followed? I yelled at myself: You work full time! You have many hobbies and volunteer every other weekend! You are not depending on writing to bring in money! I finally gave myself permission to relax, and accept the muse back into my life, when she was ready.
Am I a writer because I’ve been doing it for sheer pleasure since 2nd grade? Am I a writer because I have notebooks full of poetry I have written stuffed in multiple drawers and closets? Am I a writer because I’m a blogger? Am I a writer because I’m going to self-publish a book?
I finally call myself a writer with pride, but not because of any of the reasons above, but because it brings me joy, and so I DO IT.
Simple. I do what brings me joy.