Rattlensnakes and Reunions

They say rattlesnakes strike fast.

Whoever said that never met your Aunt Bertha.  Or attended your last family reunion.

Remember how Auntie sidled up to you, plate heaped with potato salad and fried chicken, and asked in a conspiratorial whisper, “So, what have you published lately?”

A few minutes later Uncle Elmer button-holed you with, “How many books have you sold?”

Grinning like a Cheshire cat, Cousin Matilda chimed in with, “When will see your name on the New York Times Best-Seller List?”

Did you want to slug them?

Maybe you have sold something lately.  Maybe not.  Maybe you wanted to smack the relatives.  Put another way, maybe their questions were your questions.  Maybe they “rubbed you the wrong way” because they articulated what’s been eating at you: Are you a writer?

Most people equate being a writer with publishing credits, books sales, signings, a slot on Leno or becoming a household name.  Nothing wrong with any of that.  But do fame and fortune a writer make?

Another angle

Let me ask the question from another angle: What if you never land a fat publishing contract?  What if you never sell a million copies (or even a thousand) or attain “best seller” status? What if the only person who ever crows over your pixels of genius is your spouse – or your mom?

Are you still a writer?

Most people I know who aspire to “writer” struggle with insecurity.  Am I good enough?  Do I have what it takes to break into print?  Is anyone interested in my work?  Will it sell?  To whom, and how many?

Who you are

I’d like to make a suggestion here: it doesn’t matter.  Why?  Because a writer is someone who writes.  Writing is part of their personality, embedded in their DNA.  It’s who you are, not just what you do.

A writer is someone who writes because they can’t not write. 

I’m not saying you have to answer Aunt Bertha with a sparkling resume or respond to Uncle Elmer with, “a million.”

They don’t get it.

But if you’ve read this far, I’m willing to bet that you do.

So, are you a writer?  Then write.

What hurdles have you overcome in building your writing muscle or gaining confidence?  How can fellow writers help?

Helpful links:

You Are a Writer – Jeff Goins

How to be a Writer – Barbara Baig

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