You are a writer

Some of my fantastic friends from Portland Adventure Bootcamp. I'm the sweaty one on the right.

Some of my fantastic friends from Portland Adventure Bootcamp. I’m the sweaty one on the right.

Have you ever struggled with something…and suddenly, everything clicked into place? Maybe a random conversation helped you see your situation in a different way. Or you read a passage in a book – and it’s almost like the passage was written just for you.

That just happened to me.

Every Wednesday morning, rain, shine (or snow,) I jog with a remarkable group of women. I don’t mean easy, flat jogging. We’re sprinting up big hills, going fast and running stairs.

I’ve done this workout for over three years, and almost gave up a number of times. I was that person who was always in the back, while I watched my friends jog effortlessly way up ahead. We’d run timed miles twice a month, and my time would stay the same. I would tell people, “I’m not really a runner. I’m pretty slow.”

Needless to say, I was frustrated. I was trying so hard and seeing (what felt like) zero results.

Three weeks ago, Mary, my friend and trainer, said, “Heather, you are a runner.”

I actually disagreed with her. I even listed reasons why “I wasn’t a runner.” I wasn’t very fast. I didn’t like it very much. I felt like I held up the group. You name it, I was insecure about it.

Then she repeated, “Heather, you are a runner. Keep telling yourself that you are a runner.”

As I was driving home, I had that “click” moment. I am a runner. I am really a runner. I run Mt. Tabor every Wednesday. I’ve completed one 5K and entered another.

I am a runner.

Suddenly, the hills got easier. I felt stronger. I didn’t want to puke quite as often. :) My timed mile time started going down. Plus, I found myself jogging just for fun. Why? Because I am a runner – and runners run.

This story parallels what many freelance writers go through. When you first start (and sometimes, even if you’ve been writing for awhile,) you feel like you’re not a writer because:

– You haven’t been published.

– You have been published, but not in a well-known publication.

– You’re a copywriter, and a copywriter isn’t a “real writer.”

– Your novel/short story was rejected.

– You’re not making your income goals

– You’re not (fill in the blank.)

See the similarities? You may be busting your butt and writing 10 hours a day, but you don’t see yourself as a writer.

If this sounds like you, here’s your challenge.

Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself, “I am a writer.” Repeat this over and over (it sounds silly, I know – but it works.)

When people ask what you do, tell them “I am a writer.” Period. Don’t say, “Well, I’m a writer…but I haven’t been published anywhere you’d know about..” Don’t make excuses. Just state the facts: You are a writer – and you’re damn good at what you do!

When things aren’t going like you want and you don’t feel like writing, tell yourself, “I am a writer, and writers write.”

You will be AMAZED at how quickly things will transform:

– You’ll feel better and more confident

– Your new-found confidence will help you land bigger and better clients

– You’ll have more job opportunities

– You’ll look forward to writing and your words will flow effortlessly

– You’ll approach challenging tasks with ease and a sense of fun.

In short, your entire writing world will change – quickly.

So remember, you are a writer – and writers write.

Now go out there and make things happen!

(Special thanks to Mary Drinkhouse for the inspiration!)

I’m running a 5K for the Oregon Humane Society on May 11th, 2013.  If you want to donate, you can do so here. Thank you!

 

 

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13 replies
  1. Maira
    Maira says:

    Hi Heather,

    You know what? That is absolutely what I needed – a push! I’ve been writing for over 8 years no. No i don’t have a publication of my own – well, not yet, but i will. :)

    Past some time, I was experiencing writer’s block and I almost gave up on myself to produce quality content. I’d always be critical about every word i drew out of my almost sunken imagination. I needed to read something that would have the same effect as driving up the toughest mountain. And well… reading your post pretty much did that.

    Thanks Heather! :)
    Cheers

    Reply
  2. Katherine Andes
    Katherine Andes says:

    Early in my copywriting career when playing around with my elevator speech, I found that I could get people’s attention simply by saying, “I’m a writer.” They would pause and look at me. I had their attention. Then I could say, “I specialize in web content, etc.” I still do that to this day. Now I’ve added SEO to the list and I tell them, “You’ll be surprised, but SEO involves writing.”

    Reply
  3. Matthew Newnham
    Matthew Newnham says:

    Great post Heather!

    And I’m delighted to join the love-in as a lifelong runner & a fellow writer. :-)

    The much-loved Indian teacher and lifelong runner Sri Chimnoy once said, “We run to train the outer body, and to transform the inner person.”

    In terms of affirmations, it’s also really powerful not just to repeat the mantra, but also to do as you did with your running, and remind yourself of the specific reasons you are [fill in the blanks], e.g.

    I’m a picker

    I’m a grinner

    I’m a lover

    Those lyrics from a Seattle based musician from the 70’s and 80’s… :-)

    Reply
  4. Pamela
    Pamela says:

    Hi Heather!

    I know it’s been a long time, but after reading this post, I had to comment. I want to thank you for writing it. It helps me put some things I’ve been going through in perspective.

    You always know how to touch people with the right stuff – keep doing so!

    Reply
  5. Heather Lloyd-Martin
    Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

    I LOVE the love (and the Steve Miller reference, too – thank you @Matthew!).

    Keep on smiling – and keep on writing. We all go through dark nights of the soul when we questions our abilities and talents (I know I do.)

    Just remember, at the end of the day, we (to paraphrase Popeye) “am what we am.”

    And “we am” writers!
    :)

    Reply
  6. Jennifer Nice
    Jennifer Nice says:

    Inspirational post! I can identify with it on two levels – I am a lifelong runner (since age 11) and have competed in several half-marathons. But it wasn’t until recently that I have the confidence and belief in myself that I AM A WRITER. Despite all the challenges (and struggles since I resigned from my day job and launched my web writing business), I’m living my dream. It’s not perfect, but I get to do what I love, and that is write.
    Love your enewsletters and blog posts – keep them up. And I can’t wait to hear what the big news is that you hinted at in your last email. :)

    Reply
  7. Heather Lloyd-Martin
    Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

    Ooh, Jennifer – a lifelong runner since you were 11? That’s great!

    The fact that you had the dedication to quit your day job and strike out on your own proves that YOU ARE A WRITER! Sure, there will be struggles – but when you do what you love (or even what you really like) the struggles are worth it!

    Reply
  8. Kevin Carlton
    Kevin Carlton says:

    Heather

    You said:

    – You’re not (fill in the blank.)

    So I’ll fill in the blank and complete the sentence that fits me:

    – You’re not earning enough money as a writer

    However, the past and the present aren’t necessarily a guide to the future.

    I’m also not just going to say ‘I’m a writer’. Instead I’m going to say ‘I’m a very GOOD writer’.

    Thanks for spreading your positive thoughts.

    Reply
    • Heather Lloyd-Martin
      Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Love it! Thanks, Kevin!

      And you’re right – just because you didn’t “earn enough” before doesn’t mean that you won’t EXCEED your income goals this year. Your past shouldn’t dictate your future!

      You could even change the affirmation to, “I’m a very GOOD writer, who makes over X a year.” :)

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

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  1. […] has always been a bit…challenging…for me. Sure, I learned to embrace it and run the occasional 5K. But a 10K seemed impossible. That’s 6.2 miles. Of running. […]

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