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"Don't bury that talent, because the only thing fear yields is one dormant gift in a shallow grave." - Jen Hatmaker, For The Love
Jen Hatmaker's advice reminded me of the beginning of my writing journey...
When I first started writing a novel, I hid like a kid with a stolen piece of candy. I don't know why, but I felt foolish. I probably buried it just like Mrs. Hatmaker described. It scared me a little. Like, I was re-inventing myself in the most unrealistic way. What stay-at-home mom of three little boys really writes a novel? I mean, I had no idea that MANY do...because I was completely unaware of the buzzing writer's world out there.
And, I had no idea that I should reach out to it...because I had no desire to let anyone know that I was inspired and heading down a pipe dream.
Yep, that was me, about ten years ago.
It took loads of coaxing to peek my head out of my writer's closet and actually admit what I was doing. I guess it was a nudge from my husband, God bless him. And hearing a friend admit that she also wrote a novel yet to be published.
So when I came out with three books tucked under my arm, a writer's conference behind me, and a gelling relationship with a crit partner, I shared the news: I am a writer!
Yet, it took a few years for me to dare use the term, "author". I guess it's my landscape architecture background...you really can't technically call yourself a Landscape Architect until you've passed the licensing test. Isn't that the same as "author"?? I mean, only those who've actually been published can be an author, right?
Um, had to look up the definition as I prepare for my sixth conference...unpublished and having taken it upon myself to call myself an author on several occasions (emphasis below, mine...and if you don't mind my using wikipedia in a pinch):
By Golly, I am an author! Six times over, at least!
After a few hundred rejections, a couple of contest finals, an agent believing in me, and a few more rejections, I will no long consider myself nothing less than an author. Regardless of a contract.
Yet, my insecurity sways within and even as recent as last year, when my friends would introduce me as an author, I would still be quick to clarify, "Oh, but I am not published," or, "I have had loads of rejections."
One friend gently scolded me on this: "Why do you talk yourself down to people when it comes to writing?"
Why do I? Why does it take so stinkin' long for me to embrace something that is my passion and allow myself to fully enjoy the process?
I will never forget her saying that, and this past year, I have tried harder at living the dream of an author without excuse, without a contract, and with a smile and excitement just because I love it.
Jen Hatmaker states, oh so poignantly, "Stop minimizing what you are good at and throw yourself into it with no apologies."
So, if you are reading this, thinking, well...I am not an author. But if you've written a work that you'll put your name on...then you ARE an author.
And if you like to write and you hide away at night with your laptop...without a soul knowing except the good Lord above, then you ARE a writer.
And if you haven't said it aloud and are shying away from connecting with others because you are just not good enough...DON'T.
Writer, Come Out! I know you're in there. I've been there, too. And I hate to consider the party I missed while I hid in the writer's closet.
Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written six historical novels and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one-sheets and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check her personal blog at angiedicken.blogspot.com and connect at:Twitter: @angiedicken