When Can You Call Yourself a Writer?

Do you ever wonder whether you’re really worthy to call yourself a writer?

You have a deep desire to impact people with your words.

But doubt creeps in and you ask yourself:

  • “What makes me a writer? I’ve never published anything, let alone a book.”
  • “What I have written is no good. I’m not even sure I should be doing this.”
  • “I can’t honestly call myself a writer. I’m nowhere near good enough!”

Sound familiar?

If you let it, that voice will keep you from ever sharing your message with the world. So let’s fight the voice of doubt with a dose of truth.

How Does a Person Actually Become a Writer?

Every once in a great while you’ll hear of someone who decided to write something, or was badgered into it, and surprised everyone by becoming known as a writer.

But, usually, becoming a writer takes a normal course. You become a writer the way you become a bicyclist or a gymnast or a dancer, singer, cook, or plumber.

See where I’m headed with this?

You walk—and trip and tumble and plop—before you run.

Your bike tips over and you skin your knee, perhaps a dozen times, before you catch on to riding a bike.

You ruin a lot of recipes, burn cakes and pies and assorted fowl and bovine, before you become a cook.

You soak your clothes and floors and everything else in sight before you learn the ins and outs of plumbing.

Being bad at something we want to succeed at is part of the process. It’s how we pay our dues.

If you’re not willing to fail, to stink, to be lousy, to make mistakes, to accept correction and criticism and counsel from experts, you’re not likely to progress.

So When Can You Call Yourself a Writer?

As soon as you’re willing to dive in—regardless how good or bad you are.

Just do me one favor:

Don’t decide you’re not a writer before you’ve mustered the courage to try.

Accept that you will be bad at first, just like we all are at everything we try for the first time. Humility is not only a good starting point, it’s the posture to adopt for your writing career.

Wannabe Vs. Writer

But if you’re only talking about being a writer, only reading blogs about it, only going to writers conferences, hobnobbing with writers, dressing like a writer (whatever you think that means), you’re not a writer. You’re a wannabe.

Wannabes talk about writing. Writers write. They may not write well yet, but they write.

When your seat is in the chair and your fingers are on the keyboard and the words are appearing on the screen, you’re in the game.

Otherwise, you’re talking, but no one is listening.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a writer.

But if you want to call yourself a writer, you have to write.

Do You Have the Right Stuff?

I can tell within the first minute of critiquing a writing student’s work whether they have what it takes to succeed.

How?

I’m not mean, but I’m straightforward. I assume they want honest input on how to improve, and so I tell them. It can be hard to hear.

Their expression and body language tells me immediately whether they are eager to learn and grow or if they were merely hoping to be discovered.

I know it’s hard.

It can be scary to show your work to a professional, even more so to an editor or publisher who will decide whether to buy it or reject it.

But real writers want the feedback. They want to get better, to learn, to grow, to succeed.

Are You a Writer?

If you’ve failed and are still writing, if you’re scared and are still writing, if you’ve stood up to a stinging critique and made your piece better by applying what you learned, if you’ve stayed at it despite that pervasive fear of failure, you are!

How do you know when you’re really a writer?

When you’re writing. Good, bad, fearfully, courageously—regardless.

If you’re in the game and plying your trade, say it loud and say it proud:

I am a writer!

Are you a writer? Tell me below and tell me why.

Related Posts:

How to Write a Book: Everything You Need to Know in 20 Steps

How to Write a Memoir: A 3-Step Guide

How to Write a Short Story That Captivates Your Reader

  • Zachary Klimczak

    Jerry, let me answer your questions in the simplest way. Am I a writer? Yes. Why? I write. I keep pushing words to paper. Good, bad, beautiful, or dismal, I push through the fears, the voices, the “you can’t”s and “you won’t”s and I write – butt in chair, words to paper. Have I ever published anything? Not one sentence. Will I ever publish anything? Yes I will. I love your articles, unique voice, and advice. Thanks for being a great inspiration. After reading, I immediately thought of this quote from Martha Graham, which I think complements your article. Take care!

    “There is a vitality,
    a life force,
    a quickening
    that is translated through you into action,
    and because there is only one of you in all time,
    this expression is unique.

    And If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.
    The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine
    how good it is
    nor how valuable it is
    nor how it compares with other expressions.

    It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly
    to keep the channel open.
    You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
    You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU.

    Keep the channel open…
    No artist is pleased…

    There is no satisfaction whatever at anytime
    There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction
    a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
    and makes “us” MORE alive than the others.”

    • That’s great, Zachary, and the very fact that you spelled “complements” correctly tells me you’re on your way. :)

      • You had to expect your signed copy of “Writing For the Soul” would be beneficial, right? ;)

  • will schmit

    Because after my father read my first book of poems he said, “You ought to write.” Of course I thought I just had…

  • Laura Bennet

    Yes, according to your list above, I am. That’s a relief. Just earlier as I was writing, I was hearing those voices you speak of here. I paced. Prayed. And started putting more words down…Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Henry Neff

    Yes I am a writer. Self-published one book. Have one active blog. Write and publish multiple newsletters. Not sure how good I am but I will keep it up until I am very good at writing.

  • Connie Schisler Vellekoop

    I have felt from the Lord that I’m supposed to write but am always overwhelmed, not so much with the writing, but the whole arena of getting published. I love beautifully crafted descriptions that make the reader feel they’re THERE. Thank you for your encouragement. I’m always amazed that you, a busy author, find time to do that individually for those of us who reply to your excellent blogs. Thank you. And I do keep on writing…

  • Shelly Denison

    I have always enjoyed writing for myself but never imagined I would have the discipline to write to be published until recently. Now that I have this hunger to share the story I am writing, I am finding myself going to bed by 9:00 or 10:00 so I can get up at 4:30 and spend a few hours writing before I have to go to work. I have always been a night owl but this has turned me into a morning person because it is the quietest time in my house and allows me the best time to think creatively.

    I have been in a career transition (aka laid off) and have been asked by acquaintances recently, “What do you do?”. I haven’t said it out loud yet but internally I am answering, “I’m a writer.”

    Speaking of falling down and getting back up again, this is one of my favorite quotes:

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

  • Karen Crider

    I can’t remember when I wasn’t a writer. I was published at 14,and even though I was an artist, I knew writing was where the joy was. Writing is a high.I am the happiest when I write, no matter the subject.

  • Carl Miller

    Yes, I am. What’s interesting is I just completed my prayer journal and discussed this very issue. I journal 3-4 times or more a week. It helps me clear my head and I can put my prayer on paper. Your e-mail hit home to me because I share many of those fears and doubts. Recently, I entered a story to a writing contest. I didn’t win but at least I completed the work and I am working on another story for another contest this month. I am less concerns about winning and more focused on having someone in the field read my work.

  • Carl Miller

    Yes, I am. What’s interesting is I just completed my prayer journal and discussed this very issue. I journal 3-4 times or more a week. It helps me clear my head and I can put my prayer on paper. Your e-mail hit home to me because I share many of those fears and doubts. Recently, I entered a story to a writing contest. I didn’t win but at least I completed the work and I am working on another story for another contest this month. I am less concerned about winning and more focused on having someone in the field read my work.

  • Beth Rayann Corder

    You tell me…(arms folded, cocked head with one eyebrow up)
    Am I a writer?

    I take 26 letters, form words, make sentences into paragraphs and put them on anything that will accept ink.

    I read, research and take writing courses and webinars.
    I write when I’m suppose to be doing other things.
    I write when I have nothing to say.
    I write in my sleep.
    I have a plan to get those 26 letters in order and published.
    I am building my platform.
    And, I have my rear in chair a lot.

    So, what do you think? Am I a writer?

    Beth Rayann Corder
    Former CWG Student

  • Yes, I am, but it’s still strange for me to say it. I’ve been published a few times, but I don’t know that all of those closest to me take me seriously yet (that’s okay) since my primary interest and education has always been in music. I still love music (improvisational piano mainly), but I love writing too. Most of the encouragement I received growing up was in music, but in college I started receiving a lot of encouragement in writing as well. I later took the Apprentice program and my mentor continued to encourage and sharpen me. There’s a unique satisfaction in creating organized thought, and seeing it published. I just can’t walk away from it . . .

  • Debbie Burgett

    Yes, I’m a writer. I’m supposed to be packing, but I want to be writing. I’m supposed to be choosing my outfits, but I want to be choosing my words. I don’t want to focus on this sea of blouses and skirts! I’ll physically be at a wedding this weekend, but I know my heart will keep sneaking back to the waiting words. It will be a long four days, but then Monday will be even sweeter.

  • Marian Rizzo

    How do I know I’m a writer? Because I can’t not write. I know. I’ve tried not to write. It doesn’t work for me. I know I’m a writer because writing is food to me. It’s nourishment, therapy, an emotional release. My writing may never go beyond my personal computer, and that’s okay. I still have to write.

  • I am a writer. (Hey, that was not so hard.) I just made new business cards. I have the courage to introduce myself as a writer, speaker and teacher. This has all happened in the last year.

    • Susie Swasso

      Amazing! Good for you!

  • Susie Swasso

    I’m a writer! With a failure to launch. I submitted my book to your critiques before. I didn’t fare to well. But I am DRIVEN (often crazy) to keep improving it. Now I’m experiencing the exhausting “eternally editing symdrome”!

  • Susie Swasso

    You know you must be a writer when you constantly think of something to write down! Unfortunately…I can’t write well.

    • Keep practicing. I am awful. I try to learn something new everyday. You can do it.

  • Charlene

    I know I’m a writer because there are words in my head that form into prose when I am in the shower or driving my car or watching the rain.

    I know I’m a writer because everything that God shows me reforms itself into a story for an eager listener and I feel useful.

    I know I am a writer because the first draft can be like pulling out my fingernails but the rewrites are heaven and numerous.

    I know I’m a writer because I wake up with thoughts working their way into essays and fall asleep asking God to use me in this desire that I’m sure is from Him.

    I know I am a writer because I am writing this in my Memo app to enable rewrites before I cut and paste it into the comment section of your blog.

    I know I’m a writer because when too much time has gone by without pen and paper my mind feels crowded and thinking becomes a challenge.

    I know I am a writer because I see words form into pictures and that really lights me up.

    I know I’m a writer because the rawness of my heart needs to be noticed by the gentle reality of solitude.

    I know I am a writer because I can see the dance in a song and want to put words to what I feel.

    I know I am a writer because even the idea of publishing this on your blog makes me feel nervous and insecure and daring like a free-fall.

    I know I am a writer because I have to write. There is no choice really.

    • Debra Timmons

      Thank you, Charlene. This was beautiful, and I felt what you wrote.

    • Teresa Tackett Hardymon

      You said this so well. Beautiful thoughts.

    • Melina Rose

      I’m pretty sure you just hacked into my soul and copy-and-pasted it’s contents onto this post. Thank you for echoing my life song. :)

  • Sandra Stiles

    I know I am a writer. I carry paper and writing utensils with me everywhere. I knew I was a writer when asked on our first day back to explain what we had done over the summer and why we thought we were successful. I said I had spent the summer writing and knew I was successful at it because I was getting back rejection letters. Obviously from the looks on the other teacher’s faces they didn’t understand what a writer was. I also know I am a writer because I don’t just passionately write, but I try to involve others, students, teachers, anyone I can get to stop long enough to sit and write with me.

  • mari

    I have written and not published since I was first able to do so. I just published my first book last year. I love to write and always have ideas and am working on my second book. Right now what I write is papers for college. It takes up most of my writing time as in my book writing and research. I am always researching and writing.

  • Carolyn McBreen Gibbs

    After I completed your course under Norman, I began writing as a freelance journalist for a daily newspaper. My first assignment was an interesting story, but when my editor was done, it was more red marks than black print. I learned. I am still learning after being published many, many times, and publishing my first book. I still proudly hang on to that first piece with all the red. I still learn new things, and yes, I am a writer!

  • nancyb711

    I’ve always been drawn to English/reading/vocabulary-building, grammar/spelling/writing from early on in my childhood. I’m naturally good at these things. I almost participated in a spelling bee once, but I think I got cold feet. I am extremely detail-oriented 2 where a lot of people who don’t particularly care for short stories might say (& have, lol), “Stop, enough!!”

    Here’s an excerpt from a casual, yet very personal email I recently wrote:

    My ex husband’s parents wanted 2 move here because his mom’s parents had just moved here 4 some reason. They both had a lot of health issues & they wanted/needed their daughter 2 come take care of them. They soon after both ended up dying, then my ex’s mom died herself from breast cancer. We watched her die & we took a pic as she breathed her last breath, & u can see a little light on 2-3 different pics. I believe that was the Holy Spirit in her moving out of her flesh body, into her glorified body, which is what the Bible says.

    I had to sacrifice/quit a very good job that i really enjoyed & that paid well, the best I’ve had.

    My ex’s dad was being paid 2 be his mom’s caregiver when she started getting very Ill/immobile. She often moaned loudly from pain as death was drawing closer. She couldn’t walk to the bathroom or take care of herself anymore. It was horrible watching her suffer in agony. We were sad, but peaceful when she passed because we knew she would no longer feel pain or sadness. She finally got 2 go to the place she longed to go to throughout most of her life. She loved Jesus very much & taught many others 2 do the same. She was the perfect example of how a true servant of God should live, teaching everyone she met about His love/salvation that was freely available 2 them if they would just simply believe. Anyway, since she died, all my ex’s dad gets is Social Security for retirement. He gets very little, not enough 2 live on his own. My ex has been spoiled/taken care of most of his life by both his mom & myself when we were married. He was never willing 2 get a job. It was easier & made more money being a pot dealer when we lived in the San Fernando Valley. He would always use the excuse that no one would hire him because he has no experience or job skills. But that’s how I got all my skills, from taking whatever job sounded interesting, & working. I was the only one working throughout our 15 year marriage. He offered very little to no help. I’ve been working & taking care of myself since I was 16 & would rent rooms in people’s homes 2 live. I was very responsible & knew I really had no other choice in order to get a car, pay bills/rent/food, etc. I had no one else 2 support me. [END]

    Please evaluate & reply if possible/time allows.

    Thank you,
    Nancy Starcher-Berardinelli

  • ragtack

    Don’t know if I can write, always scribbling ink to make a line

    Nothing to say, just felling to hide

    Want to be loved, but no one speaks my name

    In the emptiness, the water flows

    Hoping for the touch, maybe in eternity…

    [ my best all here ]

  • D. L. Weber

    Writing is like breathing; I can’t imagine not doing it every day. At work I volunteer to document issues or procedures, volunteer to be the recorder of meetings, and put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard at every opportunity.
    Attending a writers’ group is my way of walking out of the surf, onto the beach of an island of sanity in this crazy sea.

  • I am a writer. I’ve had a lot of rejections and some stinging critiques but I am a writher. I am now getting a few successes. I am a writer! Thank you :)

  • I am a writer! I’ve got the rejection slips, and the acceptance email, to prove it. Excellent, inspirational post, Jerry. You made me want to scream “I’m a writer” out my window. Now that’s great writing.

  • Elaine Doll

    I am a writer. After overcoming doubt and fear of failure, and many writing courses, rejection slips, published magazine articles, devotions, and poems, conference workshops, and writing, writing, writing, I published my first novel, “Whispers from the Soul” with Abbott Press. Following that and four major, life-threatening surgeries, I rose up from the hospital bed determined to complete and publish the sequel, “Measures of Passion.” I’m working on book three, another Christian historical romance, and I’m excited about it. Yes, I am a writer. Your writing tips, Jerry, help keep me motivated. Thanks.

  • I’m a writer because:

    · I’ve written and published one book a year the
    last three years

    · I’ve written for dozens of sports and business
    publications

    · I have current deadlines “looming” for articles in
    Olympic Coach magazine and Coach and Athletic Director Magazine

    The challenge (for me) is not the writing, but getting the
    writing in front of the best audience and building long-term business
    relationships.

    Thank you Mr. Jenkins for the blog post.

  • Cathy Gross

    Am I a writer? You bet I am! Why is it so? I do not know how to hold it in. The words find a venue and move people. Sometimes they laugh, often they cry and once in a while they are just plain ticked off. Even responding to your question becomes a challenge to find the choice words and string them together effectively. Responding to an e-mail, writing an encouraging note or a chapter in a novel all present a new chance to try to get it just right. It has become a passion. My goal is a lucrative, successful career, touching and influencing readers. Nothing unusual there. Yet whatever the level of success, published or unpublished, I will still wear the title, writer. Thank you for the challenge to look at myself and decide. Am I a writer or a wanna be?
    Ain’t no wanna be here!

  • Michele Archer

    I’m a writer because I’m here to tell stories, while recognizing that all of them, good, bad, scary, shocking, offensive…all have as their home the one Great Story, The tale of the Man sent to earth to save the world. No tale of battle has been greater, no tale of romance sweeter. I press towards writing with a diamonds edge view of bringing His story to shimmering life.

  • Andrea Rose-Butler

    I write all the time. Ideas come to me even in my sleep, I keep a notebook by my bed for that very reason. I have completed two books, and have about three more in various stages of completion. I also write lyrics, plays and poetry. I AM A WRITER!!!!

    • amen, Andrea! Ideas usually come at the most inconvenient times, but you must surrender to them! From what I have experienced, the most amazing writing types are poetry and song lyrics. I also write both, and I know how awesome it is. Keep at it!

      • Andrea Rose-Butler

        Thank you for your comments, you too because we are writers

  • Juli Ocean

    Definitely a writer. The more brutal the critique, the better I’m going to become. Three books down, two more nearly finished and a slew of short stories finished and in the works. I want to share everything I learn with anyone brave enough to call themselves a writer. Yes, Andrea Rose-Butler, paper by the bed. In the car. in my pocket or purse…

  • Renee Peebles

    Yes, I am a writer (although not “officially”) but love to write it is my favorite way to express my feelings, my joys, dreams, disappointments, etc. I have a story and something to say. My enjoyment of writing began when I was a kid. I was the shy, quiet, unseen kid who felt invisible. Reading and writing was my happy place! When I was adopted into God’s family my desire to write increased. If I couldn’t write I would have no voice! Writing even if just for myself is like breathing. It is a place of healing for me. I write now because I heard God’s call on my life to write, “David had a sling you have a pen”. So I write mostly now for myself but am excited about this journey. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and expertise with us.

  • Robert Murphy

    I may go long stretches without writing, but I always come back to it, and the experiences and people I meet when I’m not actively writing, generally find their way into some future story. My mind is always going even when the pen isn’t, so to speak. Most of my recent writing has been blogging, which allows me to experiment on various techniques and methods of writing; I have also been experimenting with traditional haiku. The novel I’m currently working on is based on two characters that I created about 30 years ago, so overall, yeah, I am a writer.

  • Joyce E. Johnson

    I write because there isn’t anything else I’d rather do. It has always been my passion to create with words and say something worth saying to be read, as if I am speaking it verbally. When I write it flows forth, good or bad, published or not. I won’t accept failure because I won’t claim what is not a part of me, of my soul, my DNA. And I know without a doubt it is the gift God has given me, and what I write I want to get better at, so I have developed a ‘thick skin’ in the process in order to improve my skills. So, yes, I am a writer.

  • Janice G

    “He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, ‘His name is John.'” (Luke 2:63) Like Zechariah had problems with spoken words for a time and wrote to communicate, so I have done in my life. The wiring in my brain made words rush into my fingers instead of to my tongue. So writing has forever been my preferred way of communication. And like Zechariah, my writing tends to be shorter pieces rather than longer. Perhaps if I had been a better speaker I would not be a writer. I want to become a better writer and publish to glorify God and help people. I am still trying to fully understand my calling and be led into the best way to do that.

  • Carol Van

    Confession: I’m a writer.

    It takes SO much courage to keep doing this. Your article brought encouraging tears… a tough journey which sometimes makes me go ‘Ok enough’ then I pick up my pen again…I’m a writer

    Thank you for your encouragement

  • DarleofGod

    Jerry, yes I am a writer.

    I have on file 3 unfinished manuscripts; fiction and nonfiction, over 80 poems, 1 developing Blog website, and 2 developing ministerial sites, 2 children’s stories and 3 series greeting cards. Friends and family contact me to write for them. I have contracted with 2 professional musicians to do their websites, and artist’s portfolios. And I still am not published nor have finished my writing assignments. Writing for me is an assignment of which assignments are given by The Giver of all things, our LORD. Your blog article truly “hit the spot,” that is, that “urging and propelling” writer’s spot within. My interest in writing is motivated by The Gospel of Jesus Christ. I actually just want to tell His Story through the stories of the lives of people I know or know about (including my own) and through thoughtful discourse of life “things.” God has given us a world full of human experience, natural and spiritual phenomena and practical everyday circumstances and situations that just beg to be “penned” to paper. To be in any way conscious makes one cognizant that there is much to consider and to tell to one another. I firmly believe that a Believer and Follower of Christ is assigned to “Tell it.” It is to open our mouths and printers to tell His Story again and again and again; writing it on the fleshy tablets of human hearts. Since I have pen in hand, a keyboard with a printer full of ink, I write.

    Psalms 45:1 – My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

  • Ed Murrell

    I am a writer, because, though “success” seems beyond reach, I write. I am getting better at it day by day. I have credits, but that does not make me a writer. I am a writer because I write.

  • Lisa

    I am a writer because I write. Yes, I have had my work rejected, and also accepted. So, hurrah! I have had crticism and I have had praise, both from people foreign and familiar to me. I am ready to accept the challenges the Lord places before me as He leads me in this career, all for His glory.

  • Michelle Connell

    I am definitely a writer…born to write. I am blogging an inspirational romance at http://heirforcenovel.wordpress.com and EVERY time I hit the publish button it makes me nervous. But I’ve been posting the story over a year and yes, I am a writer. I am working on other novels and my first one will come out in Sep. on Kindle, paperback. I am excited, and still scared to death.

    I have reviewed hundreds of books for CBA, Christian Communicator, Christian Home & School, and other markets, but this is the first time I’ve worked on my own books. Have my writer’s group to thank and NaNoWriMo.

  • Jerry Haas

    I am a writer that brings a biblical worldview to cultural issues of the day. I am a writer who is humbled by the platform God has given me to reach people with the truth of scripture. I am a writer that hones his craft by reading, writing, and challenging myself to improve. I am a writer because I marvel at the way the Spirit gives me the ability to express myself in writing. To God be the glory as I obey Him in completing the task to which I have been called as a writer.

  • Carla Anderson

    God has given me a story to share. A story that seems, at times, to be boiling over to be shared. I would rather share it through the spoken word, but the written word seems to be the way it is for now. So, I write fearfully, but I write.

  • Susan McCrea

    Yes, I am a writer. Why? Because I write all the time. I journal thoughts and prayers. I take notes at every lecture. I also return to my basic project, writing my adoption/reunion story, in spite of discouragement and the trials of life. I have been working on it for years. I feel like a boomerang. I always come back to writing, no matter what happens, even when I take a break.

  • Jim Boyd

    It took me 8 years to see write A BULLET FOR JESUS, but friends and the Holy Spirit kept pushing me. Finally I sat down and finished it.
    A Christian Publisher, Morgan James has published it and now lives are being changed.
    Hang in there and follow God’s leading.

  • Susan Sorian

    I am a writer. I identify myself as such, because I write. I write compulsively at times, sporadically at times, and passionate at all times. People read what I write, and always ask for more. When I write, I am encouraged, inspired, rejuvenated and fulfilled just in the very act of writing. When a work is completed – published or not – there is a great sense of accomplishment. I believe it is a gift that God has given me as a medium to reach into people’s hearts, encouraging them, comforting them and even inspiring them with a new sense of purpose. Poems come easily, blogs come from the heart, and devotions or Bible Studies take more work and meditation. What amazes me, is that I can read something that I have written, and be inspired by it myself – which tells me it is not all me, but a gift from the Lord. There have been times I have been able to go back and read something from the past that applies to my present state of circumstances or heart, and it brings me hope. My purpose in writing is simply to bring joy or inspiration to others.

  • Kristin Funderburk Curtis

    From an early age I knew God had given me the gift of music–singing, playing instruments, songwriting, etc. I also enjoyed writing, but only for myself and my family. I always thought God was going to lead me into a music career. I sang in church, I was requested at weddings and funerals, and everyone always told me to try out for American Idol or The Voice. Well, life is funny…and God always has different plans. Life got in the way of me being able to seriously pursue a music career, and the only outlet I had for creative expression was writing. I dove in. For years I wrote poetry, short stories, children’s stories, and three novels.

    When I was 28 God opened the door for me to go back to school. Naturally, I became an English major. I remember where I was the day I decided to step out of my comfort zone and put my literary voice out there for the first time. I was eating lunch in the campus cafeteria, and this young Asian guy was passing out fliers about submitting poems and short stories for the yearly college journal. I thought, “Why not?” Even if I received no feedback, or negative feedback, at least I’d finally be able to call myself a writer. I submitted three poems and they were published in April of that year. What I wasn’t counting on, what I wasn’t expecting, was the positive feedback. I received over thirty emails from students who had read my poems and wanted to discuss them. I felt encouraged, so the next school year I submitted more poems. Those had a great reception as well. I became bold enough to show some short stories to my English professors, and they gave me sound constructive criticism. I listened and learned and plugged away some more.

    But, it wasn’t until this year that I became serious about pursuing a writing career. For the last two years I’d been chewing on this idea for a fourth novel, but didn’t have the time to sit down and write because of school, kids, and a chronically ill hubby. I was supposed to go to school this summer semester but things didn’t work out. My parents took my kids for an entire month to give me a break, a chance to rest and recharge my batteries. On day three of my mom-cation I woke up feeling antsy. I just couldn’t find anything to do, everything bored me, I was coming out of my skin. It was like I had a fire raging inside and didn’t know how to quench it. My hubby causally made the comment, “Why don’t you write?” Then it hit me. I finally had the chance to bang out my fourth novel, and I had an entire month to do it.
    I was hoping I could get at least halfway done before my time was up. God had other plans.

    As soon as I sat down on my bed to write, He took over. 16-18 hours a day I worked at a feverish pace, only breaking for basic needs or to help my hubby. My fingers were flying so fast there were times I didn’t even realize what I had written until I looked back. There were also moments where I felt the Holy Spirit come over me, and as I was writing certain scenes tears were streaming down my face. God also tweaked my story here and there, taking me in different directions than I had originally intended. And His ideas were always better. I believe that this summer semester didn’t work out for a reason. God wanted me to write this story. I wrote the entire novel in twenty-six days. I remember sitting on my bed staring at my screen at the last line of my epilogue and thinking, “Wow, this is what God wants me to do with my life. God wants to use my voice…just in a different way.” Right now I am wrapping up editing/ fact-checking and am preparing to send out query letters. Like the scripture says–if God started this, He will be faithful to complete it. I am trusting Him to bring everything to fruition.

  • I am a writer. All I do is write. When I’m not writing, I’m not complete. I’ve had my share of criticism. And I’ve had my share of doubt. But what I know for sure is that God called me to be a writer. So I’m in this for good.
    Love your articles, Jerry! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Sterling Dimmick

    I have written poetry, for newspapers(weekly & daily), devotionals for publication, I am a photographer as well. I have a novel in mind. I am a writer

  • I am a writer!

    (I know the power of saying this. Each year I teach a class to beginning writers at a writing conference, and I have them say this out loud – three times. The first time their words are quiet and timid, but by the third time, they’re grinning and more confident. Words are a powerful thing.)

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Amen, Peter!

  • Linda

    I think I’m a writer. I write. I enjoy writing. When I go too long without writing, I begin to feel out-of-sorts. Currently, I am writing a first novel, which feels both daunting and exciting; however, even if I return to the story after several days, I find myself still in the flow of the story. So, wherever I am, I grab a piece of scrap paper and write.

  • Jan Parys

    I fell in love with our town and its 300 years of history. I am still fascinated with research and the Stanly family. I think my story, “From Slave to Slave Master” is not politically correct and never learned about the freed slave before coming here. My story is encouraging showing how high one can rise. J. C. Stanly was a true Christian and helped his half brother and many slaves.
    BTW I can’t download the online resources. Jan Parys (New Bern, NC)

  • T-S-7

    I am a writer! I’ve written 95% of a book about what the Bible says a Christian is (140k+ words so far, with about 20% being devoted to eternal security); 100% (115k+ words) devoted to disputing Rome Sweet Home (which I call “Rome Sweet Home? Hmm…); another 67k+ disputing A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (and I’ve only commented on 4 chapters so far…); and one Christian novel that I finished (first book of a two-book series). And now my wife has me revamping the novel and making it more for all readers.

    Of course, nothing has been published…. :-)

    Dave

  • Donna Braymer

    Thank you Mr. Jenkins for the encouragement you give so generously to writers without your experience and success … yet! Yes, I am a writer, or the newspaper would have not kept me on staff for 16 years! My young children’s books have been a regional success, but not national as I had hoped. I almost gave up on the dream, until I read your blog and realized, I really am a writer! God is not finished with me yet, or I would not be typing and breathing! So, I will continue my fiction efforts thanks to your encouragement.

  • Jan Kaufman Lockhart

    I’ve written words for as long as I can remember. But it wasn’t until recently that I considered myself a writer. I haven’t published anything. I haven’t even submitted anything. But I am a writer. I write because the words are there and because without me, they would never make it on to paper. I have stories to tell that only I can tell. That’s what makes me a writer.

  • Linda

    The coolest part of writing is noticing that many writers have doubts and fears, yet, find courage to write anyway…that is a writer!! :)

  • Today, I deleted every sentence of a short story re-write. “It’s not good enough. It stinks, I said out loud and left the room. It is hours later and I just finished reading your article, “How Do You Know You’re Really A Writer?” I am a writer because I am stubborn. The word, quit I must admit, is a heel nipper. Thankful I had time to open your email. Thank you for the encouragement. Thank you, God, for your perfect timing.

  • Ora Dove

    Anyone need a vintage wannabe writer badge? Mine is up for grabs. I am a writer because I am no longer afraid to be one.

  • Kelly

    I am about to submit my first article for consideration. I have had fellow writer friends critique my work but this is the first time a real editor will read it. Honestly I am expecting a rejection, not because I think its bad, but because this is the first one. I hope there will be some good feedback along with it.

  • Luella Fern Jones

    I am a writer because I have to! I have to share whatever God gives me to say within a family situation we have lived or heard about… First the Great Depression…now the 2nd world war…I need prayer to get it right!

  • KrisLAllen63

    If you journal you’re a writer, if you’ve journaled for 35 years, you’re a writer.

  • I am a writer. There was no greater feeling than accepting my purpose and realizing all that is within me that needs to be shared with the world! #IAMAWRITER

  • Mary

    I am a writer! Just listened to your webinar and it was great information. I started out a little like you did. I wrote for the school yearbook. I even wrote letters to the editor in newspapers when I was passionate about something. At one time I worked as and administrative assistant for a company who allowed me to write for their monthly client magazine called Financial Digest and actually got paid to write the articles. They were articles like Creditcarditis (the disease of credit card addiction) and the Art of Communication which was about the importance of communication inside a corporation. In another job for a hotel I was the office manager for Sales and Marketing but I wrote a training manual on customer service and became an instructor as well as speaking before all department heads about my manual. Still through all this I didn’t realize writing was what I really wanted to do. Now I’m much older and don’t have to work but I felt a calling to write about my son who started using drugs at the age of 11. I wanted to write a book about a mother’s perspective. It seemed so daunting but God would not let this drop. He keeps putting people in my path that are parents of addicts who just want someone who understands. I just keep talking about it though so you have inspired me to sit down and do it. I have attended writers groups and I do currently go to school obtaining a degree in Creative Writing. Thanks for all the wonderful advice on your site. As you can see I need to learn how to say things in less words lol.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Fewer words. Less writing. :)

      But I hear you, Mary. You’re on your way and thanks for your kind comments.

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    I am a writer :D YAYY

  • Renette Steele

    i am a writer! I have often tried to go without writing for long periods, but i find myself with pen and paper and words or pictures flowing with out my even realizing it, i am a writer even if GOD and i are the only ones to ever read it. I write for Him. Writing out my prayers keeps me focused and helps them make sense. I am a writer because GOD gives me the desire to communicate through words on paper. I am a writer because i am taking steps to learn how to travel the path. i am a writer for Him!

  • Steph K

    I am late to the discussion because I just learned of your website. I am a writer because I blog, and friends tell me they like what they’ve read. Occasionally I get asked to write short articles, and my dream is to be the female Dave Barry. Most of all I am a writer because I have stories swimming in my head that I fully believe God placed there for the telling and entertaining, and I am learning how to move them from my brain to paper/screen.

  • J Eliot Mason

    I’m so glad you said it, “you’re a wanna be”. These days it seems like so many people love talking about writing but never do it. This is my new favorite site for writing because of two words, work ethic! It seems to be your mantra and I super respect that.

  • Barbara Tooley

    I am a writer because I will write even if no one reads. I am wanting to plant the mustard seed!

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Keep it up and someone will start reading, Barbara.

  • D. Palmer

    I am a writer and to be honest, it is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Almost done with a novel that I started a year and half ago and my days consist of writing and editing, and thinking about writing and editing when I’m not actively doing it.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      If it was easy, anybody could do it, right, D.? :)

  • Laine Kammeraad

    I am a writer.

  • Laine Kammeraad

    I am a writer! I would write more but have a post I need to finish. BIG SMILES

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Go, Laine!

  • Ashanda N. McCants

    Crazy! I just asked you a question about receiving knowledge from more experienced writers, and getting over yourself when I came across this article. I have felt two different ways by the critique I received today about my first book: One, disappointment. I thought she would say, this is AMAZING! I smell New York Times Best Seller. Of course, we will accept your manuscript. But she said, it was good but you need help to make it stronger. Second, appreciative. She wasn’t afraid to hurt my feelings and she knew what she was talking about.I felt like I was on a new level. So I researched what her concern was and am applying it to my second manuscript. I also reached out to her recommended editor. So….I GUESS I’M A WRITER!!! Thanks, Jerry.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      I guess you are too. That’s a great attitude, Ashanda.

  • Kathleen Thackham

    I write, not daily but I write, I have a blog I’ve had for years with maybe 4 followers, I have a facebook writers page, I have a writers dream book of all my ideas, some I have written about, others I’m too afraid to. I’ve been to writers conferences but I still don’t think I am a writer. This post made me see maybe I am an actual writer just still in my closet in some ways. A professor once told me the only difference between someone who is published and me, is that they are sending things out and I am hiding my voice from the world. I honestly believe once I overcome my fear It would bring me peace because I finally achieved my dream. It doesn’t have to be a book deal, I just want to be a light in someones life. Words heal and i want heal broken hearts and wounded souls. Thank you Jerry, you seem like a very compassionate man who cares about others. I hope people can say that about me too one day.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      If you can be a light in one life, why not more? Let the market decide if your writing is worthy of wider dissemination. If you decide, your humility may rob someone of your ministry. :)

      • Kathleen Thackham

        Wow, I never thought about it like that before. But I don’t have a degree, I didn’t go to college, I went to clown school and stayed home raising kids.
        Do you really think your courses could help someone like me?

        • Jerry B Jenkins

          Kathleen, go to this page (http://www.jerryjenkins.com/about/) and click on Biography, which includes my having served as vice president for publishing, chairman of the board of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, and five HONORARY doctorate degrees, and see if there is mention of ANY education beyond high school.

          • Kathleen Thackham

            Wow, no offense but I had no idea you were so accomplished. What a wonderful life you have lived helping others and what an inspiration for not getting past high school. Thank you.

          • Jerry B Jenkins

            No offense taken, and of course my point wasn’t to impress you with my accomplishments but that your lack of college need not be relevant.

          • Kathleen Thackham

            I understood completely. Although I am a bit impressed but happy for you and your accomplishments. I think its wonderful the life you have carved out for yourself. You’ve got me dreaming again. I think I lost that for a long while, thank you.

  • I have a passion for communicating to others what God has put on my heart.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      That’s great, Jarmila.

  • Monua Cary

    I am a writer! I have FINALLY put pen to paper! One finished work, self-published and co-authored, five years ago does not a writer make ;). Back in the game and a big thanks to you! Ninja Hugs! ~M

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Great, Monua! Stay tuned. Exciting stuff coming very soon.

    • Carol

      Ninja Hugs – Awesome!!

  • Lotus Williams

    Am I a writer? The flow of words brings a sense of peace to my heart, mind and spirit. I love to express my feelings and emotions from pen to paper. Yes, utilizing the old fashion stick pen, medium point in a variety of colors, and lined paper with the smell and feel that only paper can behold. I make shitty first drafts, where nothing is withheld from the raw emotions that I am experiencing. Then and only then, do I attempt to refine and define with a thousand electronic keystrokes. Does that make me a writer? Yes, I am a writer! Why? Because I have the passion and if I believe it is true, it is true indeed.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Great, Lotus, and stay tuned. I’m announcing some exciting stuff right here this month.

  • Linda Rowland Kruschke

    Great article! I love the part about writers wanting feedback to improve. In the past two years I’ve sought feedback for my writing more than ever before, prayed for God’s wisdom to use the feedback wisely and with humility, and have improved my writing. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve self-published two poetry books, one in 2014 and one in 2015. And I have written and re-written the first three chapters of a book on living fearlessly. I’m looking forward to your class to get that book finished this year.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Great to have you, Linda.

  • Michelle Swenson

    Jerry, thank you! I admit, I am a Wannabe writer! Although I have written a couple of chapters and have done tons of writing in my marketing business. I have had a deep down call to write a book for the past 30+ yrs. I am not proud to say that I have procrastinated this long. Just about everyone who knows me has said, you must write. Yet I don’t do it. Why? I am afraid I will never do it. I’ve written a couple of chapters and people LOVE them. My marketing business, family, etc. has been the main consumer of my time. Now, a new season is upon me to step up and be the CEO of my company which will free up some time by not taking on clients personally. I am excited. I want to do many things I’ve had on the back burner; create art, publish a blog, and write that long awaited BOOK! It is exciting to think about the finished product and the impact it will have on lives. I seriously feel like I have been disobedient for not writing the book and must do it before I forget everything. I know it will require purposely carving out the time, committing to the process, and approach it with hard work, like my business. I will start it via a Blog. Is this a good place to start? Shall I write the Blog chapter-by-chapter of the actual book? Any advise would be much appreciated. I joined a writers community for more inspiration and will keep up with you Jerry, to soak up your seasoned advise. Just wanted to share my heart and struggle here. Getting it out there may help fuel my deep call to get me writing. The time is now! Thanks for reading my post :-)

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      It’s never too late, Michelle. I agree. The time is now.

  • Evangeline Inman

    I am a writer!

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Good, Evangeline! Hope you can join us for the free webinar Thursday.

  • Kate Hitt-Kaplan

    Well now I know for certain I am a writer! I have been (am) inflicted with all of the above.

    A lifetime in the customer care industry is perfect for a people-pleaser. I have written thousands of letters for corporate resolving issues and making people happy. Speeches, technique and attitude classes all toward the same goal, customer care. I want
    to share with the world how to get and give excellent customer care (I use the
    term care vs. service, as I serve only One, I care for many).

    • Great, Kate! Welcome. Join us for the free webinar Thursday.

  • Michelle Gonthier

    When i was a child I started writing stories when I could barely right and still need spelling lessons. However the love grew into journalling then into journalism when I was in highschool writing articles for the school paper that was showcased in our loccal town newspaper as well as putting in a comic that I rote and illustrated. My drawings, poetry and stories got fetured in publications that were of loccal content from the time I was 12 till I was 18. I’m also a singer so being an artist in the performing and creative arts can garner lots of story ideas. I can’t go a day with out writing some thing and I can’t go for long periods of time with out adding to my educational endeavors. Singing, Writing, Drawing and painting are all things I just have to do. Writing using a computer and writing in books that I purchase as the office supply stores (that i enjoy much more than clothing shopping). It brings me joy to fill a little book with what I affectionately call my scribbles. In college a teacher incouraged me to write more when I wrote a story of when I had an almost severed leg from my disobediance after the feelings of invincibility that I had felt after comming home from a christian concert. She gave me some pointers on how to re-write and I did that and know it still needs more work. I’ve written other stories that I’ve never had published. From poetry to articles for a newpaper then to writing stories in college and now wanting to write novels and short novels for young and older readers. I enjoy learning how I can improve.. And finding this blog and such is sure to help.

  • mari

    I am a writer….writers unite…!

  • Erin M. Schaffer

    This is encouraging — though I wish I could push myself more. What I do write is good, and I’ve had positive comments, but it’s like pulling teeth. The story is there in my head, but it’s more like a movie than a story, and getting it onto the page is so terribly difficult….

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Like I always say, Erin, if it were easy, anyone could do it. And we WANT the story to look like a movie. We’re all visual thinkers, especially us storytellers. I know the process is working when I am at the keyboard and the story is playing out that way in my head and I’m frantically trying to keep up with it. You can do this! :)

    • Stormi Miller

      I’ve written 8 novels countless poems and short stories. I always see what I write like a movie. I learned to type faster because it was the only way to keep up with the movie in my head! I find it helpful to just put EVERYTHING in, even if the way it’s worded doesn’t make much sense. I call it my “broad painstroke” attack! Then I go back to refine and cut out to clarify. At least everything is on paper then.

      • Jerry B Jenkins

        That’s the way I do it too, Stormi. Write today, edit tomorrow. All real writing is rewriting.

  • treebird

    I can now say I am a writer. However, not yet a great one. I blog and have written several articles that have been published in the paper as me listed as a guest columnist. I have a collection of my father’s writings I wish to one day publish as well as my own memoirs.

  • Sharon Butler

    I am a writer. Wow! “I” am a Writer with a capital W. I really am. (Thank you, Jesus.)

  • Elle B

    I am a writer, but I’m looking for avenues to actually get feedback. Right now it’s just friends who say “hey, I like that”. I’d love feedback, but it also scares me! Nothing good comes from playing it safe. It’s hard to put yourself out there, all the pain and trials and suffering especially when those things have been used by people you know against you. My goal is to write it out all out, but right now I’m blogging mostly and just practicing daily to write.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Yes, you have to tell yourself that in this case, the criticism is constructive, and you’re right, nothing good comes from playing it safe.

  • teriG

    I am a writer, coming out of the closet! I love to write, whether for work or pleasure. My words are well-taken at work, they are hidden for pleasure. I am working on opening that closet door and sharing my words!

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      You go, girl!

  • Stormi Miller

    I’m a writer because I have to be. If I don’t write the stories in my head they play overand over preventing sleep and concentration until I write them down.

    My daughter loves to read what I write and anyone I’ve allowed to read my books has asked when I’m going to send them to someone. My daughter told me this year for her birthday she wants to go with me to the post office to mail my first attempt at publishing one of my books. Hopefully my fears won’t keep her from getting her birthday wish.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      I sure hope you don’t do it through the post office. Most publishers prefer electronic submissions. http://www.JerrysGuild.com

      • Stormi Miller

        Then I guess her birthday present will be hitting “send”!

  • DeAnn Juliano

    I am a writer… It took awhile for me to come to this. It started on Facebook and with my cancer journey. A friend said, why don’t you write a book? I told him, a book? I am a nobody. I am not some celerity or someone that I feel people may want to read my book. He then tells me, what you are is posative, informative, and you tell it like it is. You have taught me more than I have ever known about cancer, and it’s the way you do it.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Good, DeAnn. You can do this.

      A few tweaks:

      I am a writer… It took awhile for me to come to this. It started on Facebook and with my cancer journey. A friend said, why [“Why} don’t you write a book?”

      I told him [said], a [“A] book? I am a nobody. I am not some celerity [celebrity] or someone that [anyone who] I feel people may want to read my [a] book [about].

      He [delete then] tells me, what [“What] you are is posative [positive], informative, and you tell it like it is. You have taught me more than I [delete have] ever known [knew] about cancer, and it’s the way you do it.”

      • Dale Little

        Oh no! This is funny, but had I known you may do a critique, I would have reread my own comment a couple of more times before submitting it.

  • Carol

    Wow! I’ve been a GREAT writer in my own mind – as that’s as far as any real writing has taken me. Aside from documenting things in resident’s charts, sending assistance letters out for a missions trip, and pithy statements on Facebook, I’ve not written AnYThinG!! well, but for those 40 years of journal entries, no one’s been privy to but my own self… Reading over a few of the blogs this afternoon, the Rose Colored Glasses have come off! Looks like it’s time to push up my virtual shirt sleeves and WORK! At least study – perhaps the student will show herself worthy of the work. God’s given me an affinity for words, may the love bear good fruit for the kingdom. Thanks Jerry and Co.!! (pardon the avatar – it needs some work…)

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Well said, Carol. Now, let’s talk you out of multiple exclamation points for your first lesson today, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow. :)

      • Carol

        You’re a good man Mr. Jenkins. My first critique – relatively painless. May the learning commence…

  • I am a writer — thanks to you and many others who are teaching me along the way.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      :)

  • Gary Townsend

    I AM a writer! I’ve written 230,000+ words of fiction so far this year, mostly short fiction — short stories, novellas, novelettes. (My goal is 400,000.) Whether any of of it is good or not is another matter, but I’ve been reading a lot about different aspects of fiction writing, making a deliberate attempt to make changes to improve it, and I think it’s getting better. Even the way I go about editing has been changing. And despite these changes/improvements, I still often think what I’ve written is crap. But even that is changing, too. And I don’t mean that I’m thinking my writing is crap less and less. I mean that I’m finally starting to embrace that my thinking my writing is crap most likely won’t go away, so I’m embracing it.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      I say whatever motivation works, Gary. For me, even after a long and insanely more productive career than I deserve, I use fear of failure and fear of being found out :) as my motivators. Whatever it takes to force from our best work every time…

  • Jane

    I know I am a writer because I feel like I need to tell my story. I have so much things to tell to people especially young girls that they can relate to what I have to tell them. It started a while ago when I started to face many challenges in my life at young age so I started to confide in my roommate, then one day she said why do I not start writing a book that many young girls out there will start to read that will help them not to go through the same things that I went though. so I am a writer because I want to relate with many young girls who are going through the same things that I went through in my life. I was very young and alone. I feel like so many girls out there do not have people that they talk to with whatever the challenge that they may encounter in their lives. writing makes my heart to pour out all the times I am writing, it is where I find peace. Every time I am in pain, I take all the pain through writing which eases the pain

  • Kevin Leong

    I am a writer because I was born with a good imaginary mind. I like to read a lot and to imagine myself as one of the characters in the story. When I started to write my first novel, it was hard for me. I always get writer blocks whenever I want to write such as “I don’t know what to write!” or “No one will read my book!”. But did I give up being a writer? No! What I did was I got inspired and motivated by reading other stories and by imagining myself as a sucessful writer in the future and every single when I think “I can’t write as how the others do”, I always tell myself this “If the others can do it, so do I”. Rejection doesn’t mean you are a failure but it mean that you are learning from your mistakes. No matter, how many writer blocks I got, I will not give up on my goal to be a writer :)

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Kevin, I sure hope you were born with an imaginative mind, not an imaginary one. That would be a problem. :)

      • Kevin Leong

        Sorry, I was meant to say that I was born with a imaginative mind. I don’t know what is the word at that time. Lol! But now I know the word :)

  • Danielle Bookhart

    I want to say I am a writer, however I have yet to have any of my work critiqued by a professional. Only my friends and family have reviewed my work. And they have not even seen everything I have ever written.

    I want to be a writer but I am nervous about allowing someone else to read it, especially a professional because I want to just be considered good. I am not used to receiving constructive criticism for my work. All my educators have praised me for my work overall.

    I do want to be a writer and do want to improve in this skill. But I think I am fearful of someone telling me, “Writing doesn’t seem to be your strong point. Perhaps you should consider a different career path.” I am sure I would be devastated if someone were to say that to me. After all, I feel that writing is a part of who I am. And it is one of the only things that helps me to deal with situations and experiences I find myself going through.

    So even though I continue to write – albeit inconsistently – I do not think I can rightfully call myself a writer until I’ve been professional critiqued.

    I am a writer-in-training.

    Or am I?

    Within my brain, there are several plot ideas that come to me especially at inconvenient times – doing dishes, showering, walking, etc. Even when I am trying to sleep, plots play out in my head like movies. And dreams sometimes stick with me, begging me to be turned into a full-length novel.

    My main problem is I have yet to create my writing schedule. Therefore, I have no time set aside to write and so I get no writing done. I have the ideas. I just need to make the time to write them down. It would also help if I wasn’t so nervous about my writing not being good enough. And I sometimes wish I could be self-taught, but I doubt I will improve by pursuing such a course.

    So, yes I am a writer.

    I may not be one of the best or well-known writers out there.

    But I am a writer nonetheless.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      It sounds like you’re saying you want to be a writer but you don’t want to be read for fear of finding out you’re not good. Welcome to every writer’s world.

      Any professional who would say “Writing doesn’t seem to be your strong point. Perhaps you should consider a different career path.” is not worth listening to. I’ve had thousands of students over 40 years, and I’ve never said such a thing.

      That said, my first piece of advice for budding writers is to develop a thick skin, because every piece of published writing is not a solo but a duet between writer and editor.

      If you’re used to people praising everything you do, you’re going to need to get over that. I’ve sold 70 million copies of my books and still have critics. Allow yourself to be bad at anything at which you’re a beginner. You crawled before you toddled, and fell before you walked. You likely had to learn to balance a bicycle by trial and error. How was your penmanship when you first learned handwriting? Baking? Painting? Whatever else you like to do?

      Writing is not a diversion, a hobby, an avocation. It’s hard, grueling work and it takes discipline and a lifetime of learning. But it’s worth it. :)

      Thick-skinned Advice for Writers

      For all writing

      ● Develop a thick skin. Every piece of published writing is a duet between editor and writer, not a solo.

      ● Avoid throat-clearing, an editor’s term for a story or chapter that finally begins after a page or two of scene setting and background. Get on with it.

      ● Choose the normal word over the obtuse.

      ● Omit needless words—a rule that follows its own advice.

      ● Avoid subtle redundancies, like: “She nodded her head in agreement.” The last four words could be deleted. “He clapped his hands.” What else would he clap? “She shrugged her shoulders.” What else? “He blinked his eyes.” Same question. “They heard the sound of a train whistle.” ‘The sound of’ could be deleted.

      ● Avoid the words ‘up’ and ‘down’—unless they’re really needed. He rigged [up] the device. She sat [down] on the couch.

      ● Usually delete the word ‘that’.

      ● Give the reader credit. Once you’ve established something you don’t need to repeat it. And avoid quotation marks around words used in another context, as if the reader wouldn’t “get it” otherwise. (Notice how subtly insulting that is.)

      ● Avoid telling what’s not happening. “He didn’t respond.” “She didn’t say anything.” “The crowded room never got quiet.”

      ● Avoid being an adjectival maniac. Good writing is a thing of strong nouns and verbs, not adjectives. Use them sparingly. Novelist and editor Sol Stein says one plus one equals one-half (1+1=1/2), meaning the power of your words is diminished by not picking just the better one.

      “His big, fluffy winter coat was warm and toasty.”
      Better: “He chose his toastiest coat and ventured out.”

      “The big, wet dog made its way down the hard, cold steps and nervously padded over to the redbrick fireplace where he lay on a ratty, tattered carpet remnant.”

      Better: “Buck shook the rain from his coat and gingerly made his way to the basement, where he stretched out on the piece of carpet before the fireplace.”

      ● Avoid hedging verbs: smiled slightly, almost laughed, frowned a bit, etc.

      ● Avoid the term ‘literally’ — when you mean ‘figuratively’. “I literally died when I heard that.” “My eyes literally fell out of my head.” “I was literally climbing the walls.”

      ● Avoid too much stage direction, feeling the need to tell every action of every character in each scene, what they’re doing with each hand, etc.

      Especially in fiction (but also in nonfiction anecdotes)

      ● Maintain a single Point of View (POV) for every scene. Failing to do so is one of the most common errors beginning writers make.

      ● Avoid clichés, and not just words and phrases. Also situations (beginning with the main character waking to an alarm clock; describing self while looking in a mirror; having future love interests literally bump into each other at first meeting, etc.).

      ● Avoid on-the-nose writing—a Hollywood term for writing that exactly mirrors real life without adding to the story).

      ● Resist the urge to explain (RUE). Marian was mad. [that’s telling] She pounded the table. [that’s showing] “George, you’re going to drive me crazy,” she said, angrily. [‘angrily’ is redundant]
      “You can do it!” George encouraged [‘encouraged is redundant, because we know from the dialogue; just use ‘said’.

      ● Show, don’t tell. If Marian pounds the table and chooses those words, we don’t need to be told she’s mad. If George says she can do it, we know he was encouraging.

      ● Avoid mannerisms of attribution. People say things; they don’t wheeze, gasp, sigh, laugh, grunt, snort, reply, retort, exclaim, or declare them.

      John dropped onto the couch. “I’m beat.”
      Not: John was exhausted. He dropped onto the couch and exclaimed tiredly, “I’m beat.”

      “I hate you,” Jill said, narrowing her eyes.
      Not: “I hate you,” Jill hissed ferociously.

      Sometimes people whisper or shout or mumble, but let your choice of words imply whether they are grumbling, etc. If it’s important that they sigh or laugh, separate the action from the dialogue: Jim sighed. “I just can’t take any more,” he said. [Usually you can even drop the attribution he said if you have described his action first. We know who’s speaking.]

      ● Specifics add the ring of truth, even to fiction.
      The 4:06 train was two minutes late, Marge thought as she stood drying dishes before the west-facing window that looked out on the Burlington-Northern tracks. She wondered if there had been a problem at the depot at Main and Walnut that would keep Jim from getting home on time.

      ● Avoid similar character names. In fact, avoid even the same first initials.

      ● Avoid mannerisms of punctuation, typestyles, and sizes. “He…was…DEAD!” doesn’t make a character any more dramatically expired than “He was dead.”

      © 2017 BY JERRY JENKINS WRITERS GUILD™
      http://www.JerryJenkins.com

      • Thank you for the advice.

        I have to keep my nerves in check while I work to develop a thick skin. The idea of the whole process makes me nervous but writing is what I enjoy.

        Currently, I am reading through “The Elements of Style.” I guess practice will help me keep it to memory.

        Thanks again. Hopefully you will see me in the Guild more often.

  • I know I am a writer because I write, and because I can’t not write.

  • I’m a writer! I have written a lot of drivel, some things others think good, some things I think good. But no matter I must write or I get unbearably moody.

    • And we don’t want that, do we, Peggy? If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. :)

  • Peter Friesen

    I know I’m a writer because I write. I learn new things about writing, and apply them to my writing. I love this process. And yes, I have doubts and fears, but I want to get hit in the face by the cold wind of expert criticism. It’s exciting, because now I can grow a little more as a writer.

  • Christopher Peruzzi

    I am a writer. I take pleasure from the written word. I like a good turn of phrase. When I find that rhythm where thoughts become liquid from a spigot, it’s like mainlining the song of the universe.

    Yes, I am a writer. I write. If I could, I’d spend all day writing. I want to make this into a profession. I want to do this for money. Until I can figure out how to get other people to pay for my work, I need to be happy with my articles, blog posts, and comments.

    I am a writer. I know that I need to keep the last “S” in KISS because more than anything I need to be understood by the simplest of souls. I know that the magic is in getting the reader to open that special place in his mind and see where my imagination spilled on the page or screen.

    Did you want to read my stuff? Please do. Here’s five of my better articles, written on Hubpages.com and Echobase (echoba.se). I have two published short stories. I want to make more. I want to finish my book. I want it to be a series of at least four.

    Please read my stuff at these links:

    http://echoba.se/study-star-wars-prequels/
    http://echoba.se/comparing-comic-book-doctor-strange-movie-version/

  • Hi Jerry. Yes…I consider myself a writer. I think this way because I cannot, not write. LOL. I have been published in magazines and Chicken Soup for the Soul, and I write a blog. I have written a full manuscript that I now think of as the sh—- first draft. But do I need to improve? YES! Do I want to improve? YES. If I never attempted to have another piece published, I want to improve my writing for the rest of my life.

  • I am a writer now; I write books and everything else, and I’m published so it’s pretty easy to call myself a writer. But it was not always so. It took me years and years of reading stuff by other people which I felt I could have written, it took years of writing journals that no one saw, but I always had the dream and I’m still amazed the dream finally came true.
    I still fight the voices that constantly tell me I’m not good enough to be successful but I’ve redefined what success means to me- it is starting a story and finishing it and having it read by others. To encourage myself long ago, I nicknamed myself ” Borntowritewell.” That is my life’s purpose. I am a writer.

    • Good for you, Elsie. Where are you published?

      • I’ve had three books published by West African Book Publishers. They mostly publish school texts and we are in the middle of discussions for more. It’s a big step to finally get noticed by a traditional publisher. I’m a few days away from the end of a novel right now..

      • Jerry, Some of my children’s books are published as school texts by West African Book Publishers. I am working on my first novel now, and anther collection of very short stories about women issues.

  • Judy Peterman Blackburn

    It gives me a thrilling feeling in my heart to say I’m a writer. I used to be scared to admit it, but I write so therefore I can call myself a writer.

    I recently paid a Writer’s Digest critique service to critique one of my short stories. She went through my story and showed the flaws (there were plenty lol) It was exciting to have a professional writer read my story and tell me where it needed work. She gave me encouragement as well. Even with all the things I needed to fix, it confirmed that yes, I’m a writer. It was well worth the money.

    Thank you for the post. :)

    • Developing a thick skin and being open to input is crucial, Judy. Good for you.

      • Judy Peterman Blackburn

        Thank you, Jerry for the complement, makes me feel more like a writer. :)

        • Jerry B Jenkins

          You’re welcome. Now look up the difference between ‘complement’ and ‘compliment’. :)

          • Judy Peterman Blackburn

            Oh, wow. Didn’t even know there were two words and I used the wrong one. Ooops :0 Noted and thanks for pointing out. They can sure sneak in there can’t they. :)

          • Imagine how careful I have to be. That’s why eye awl weighs yews spell check.

          • Judy Peterman Blackburn

            Ha ha, that’s for sure. :)

    • Brian

      Judy, I thought about using the Writer’s Digest Critique Service for one of my short stories too, but one of the things I asked myself was whether they provide helpful, in-depths critiques rather than a critique here or there that sounds nice but doesn’t get right down to the nitty-gritty and those are the critiques that I like. I like to see the page chockful of red marks and helpful critiques that are more than a sentence. But it appears that their critique service really did help you and provided the things needed to improve your story.

      • Jerry B Jenkins

        Do you have or need my list of critquers I trust? They’ll give you what you’re looking for.

      • Judy Peterman Blackburn

        Hi Brian,
        Yes, it did help. She didn’t go through the story with a red pen, but she went through a section at a time and made comments on how it could be improved. She pointed out where I was going out of POV and such. Thanks for commenting. :)

  • Joyce E. Johnson

    I know I am a writer when I sit there in my chair for hours writing, rewriting, revising, editing, re-editing one sentence, one paragraph and one page at a time, and going back over it again and again until I am satisfied with what I have written and feel confident it is what I want to say. And, all the while I am finding new inspiration, forming new thoughts, to express in words what I feel in my soul, I know I can only express in words.

    • Sounds like a writer to me, Joyce. :)

    • Vernon Lacey

      A great comment – I think you summarised exactly what I experience!

    • Kathy Storrie

      Me, too, Joyce, I live doing all that stuff you love to do, too. After 35 years of teaching, I didn’t know the Lord had another gift up His sleeve! My hubby, son, & mother-in-law ruled over the TVs, so I became friends with our dinosaur computer. How did a short story about my Appalachia grandmother turn into a published novel? My second novel is like the brat, second child that is harder to correct…until Jerry Jenkins!

      • Joyce E. Johnson

        Discovering what one can do with the right skills is encouraging for sure. I find also that the most important thing is disciplining myself and striving to finish what I’ve started (with unfinished manuscripts), or the skills I have learned and practiced at can go stagnant. Then I regret not carrying through on my projects.

  • Katie Pezzutto

    I know I am a writer because becoming an author is an incessant nagging at the back of my mind… ideas, packed with purpose, come easily and effortlessly. I know I am a writer because I have what it takes to succeed and do so for His glory!!

    • Thanks, Katie.

      • Katie Pezzutto

        Thank you Jerry :) this advice is very helpful :D

  • Christina Persico

    I have started believing I am a writer because I am writing. I am trying to write 1000 words a day on my novel. It’s still not easy to really accept when I have nothing published, but I’m working on it.

  • LakePeter

    Encouraging advice. I’m a writer because I can’t stop writing.

  • Bobbie Lynn Rider

    I am a writer. There are times I can sit at the computer and just start typing and it flows from my head to my heart to the page. I have been through so much in my life and see things from a different perspective than most.

    Perhaps the most significant life experience is having a daughter with Down syndrome. The special needs journey is a unique experience that is not for the faint of heart.

    The different perspective comes from seeing everything through the eyes of disability. You see and feel things others often miss. You learn to smile at others who are different. You notice when someone is struggling. You feel the pain and hurt when someone gets overlooked. You are grateful for those who choose to smile at your child instead of stare.

    You learn to appreciate the little things in life so often missed in the ordinary. You cheer and applaud when someone who is not expected to do something does it anyway.

    You learn to lean on God more than yourself because you are not able to do it all on your own.

    I want other Mom’s and caregiver’s to know they are not alone on their special needs journey. I want to encourage them to keep on keeping on and not give up or give in. I want to offer hope and joy for their journey.

    I am a writer!

    • Well said, Bobbie.

      • Bobbie Lynn Rider

        Thank you. It means a lot coming from you. I appreciate your replying!

  • I am a writer! It’s what I do. It consumes my thoughts…and my sleep.

  • Marty

    I am a writer. My heart longs to be heard and writing is my outlet. I have a passion to speak to women through my writing and teach them the wonders of the God of the Bible. I write every chance I get, whether it is a blog or a personal journal.

  • brownin329

    I keep seeing posts like this and they are unnecessary and redundant. People know whether they are a writer or not. I also feel it puts undue pressure on people to DO IT NOW! Everyone needs to have a seat and relax. Write when you are good and ready or rather, when your characters are good and ready to tell you their story. You may do it in one day, a week or twenty years. It’s all okay. Relax. Really. No rush.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      No one’s rushing anyone. I’m just trying to encourage people who are afraid to say they’re writers when the fact is they’re working at it. Did you not see all the enthusiastic response? People are thrilled to call themselves writers.

  • YES! I am a writer. I sit down every day and write something. Whether it’s a blog post, or an in depth comment, or in my novel, or in my seminars, I am writing therefore I am a writer.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Good, Rosemarie. :)

  • Karen Keil

    Many years ago I got into a “discussion” with God.
    “I’m not a jogger,” I said, “because joggers buy special clothing.”
    “Don’t you buy shoes to jog in, and t-shirts and shorts?”
    “Well, yes, but …” I came up with another excuse. One by one, God took away my excuses for not calling myself a jogger.
    A year ago, I probably would have said, “I’m not a writer,” but eighteen months ago I determined to try to become a writer while taking care of my father. It hasn’t been easy, but I have a story that is over two hundred pages long. Somewhere along the way, when I wasn’t looking, I “became” a writer.

  • Glenda

    I am a writer! :)

  • Preston Brad Rentz

    I am a writer… because I was excited to drive to the coffee shop at 4:45 am, just to get some words on screen.

  • Jamie Jenkins

    I know I’m a writer because I’m finally taking it seriously. I stopped being afraid of it and am just doing it. For years, I was afraid of writing for various reasons. So I didn’t do very much of it, and when I did do it, I just told myself it was a hobby, that nothing serious would come from it. But now I’ve accepted that writing is what God wants me to do and I’m learning all I can about it. I’m applying what I’m learning. Hopefully it will pay off someday.

    • Attagirl, Jamie.

    • Glenda

      Definitely serious work, writing! Write On! :)

  • Nancy Slocum

    I am a writer. It’s in my bones and marrow. Can’t imagine a day without writing. It’s like breathing and time flies when I do it. When I put pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard creativity flows and I come alive. Words call out to me and I relish choosing just the right ones to say what I mean and express what’s deep in my soul. Whether I am journaling and communing with Jesus in my secret place, writing down dreams, visions, prophetic words, divine downloads, or simply encouraging, edifying and speaking life and destiny into people’s spirits through social media and various written forms, I feel the joy of the Lord. I believe I am answering His call to be “a pen in God’s hand giving Love a voice.” I know I am a writer and it is rewarding when people confirm I am indeed an encourager and when those I don’t know prophesy I have a gift and must write. I am in the process of completing my first book and plan to self-publish soon.

  • Gloria Wullffe

    I’m a wannabe because when you review my work, you delete 97% of it. Now my pen hovers a few inches off the page, fearful of connecting to the paper. I second guess myself and quit before I even touch the page. I watch the videos, I listen to you and others. I’m trying to try again. I wannabe, but…

    So I write small things. Paragraphs with a focus. I try to show, not tell. I try to embed storyline, not use flashback. I try to be real, not too wordy, or waste my time telling stuff that doesn’t need to be told. I think about the story in my head that has to come out and I try to envision how my little paragraphs will expand into my book.

    But I don’t dare let you have at it again. Not yet.

    • That’s how we learn, Gloria. Allow ourselves to be bad at something before we get good at it. Do you think I was born knowing how to do this? I had to be edited the way I edit you. It’s possible you’re not cut out for such a competitive field, but if you’re doing everything but daring to have someone critique you, push past that and you’ll be on your way.

      • Gloria Wullffe

        I’m not going to quit. Just have to keep working at it. There is so much to learn. Ya think you’re good at something then find out you’re only good because you don’t know so much. Expanding my circle of knowledge. Thank you.

  • Wayne Mizerak

    For over 40 year, I have engaged in a process I call hearting. I am a prober, I gather information, and build cognitive maps about self, others, life, and God. I write. I write. And, I write. I regularly use my writing seeking to influence those around me. Mostly, what I seem to do is piss people off, and yet, there are those times when I really hit the mark and minister to the need of the moment. And, so, I continue to write and to influence. Maybe I will get published, maybe not, but I will continue to write and I will continue to influence.

  • Mary

    I know I’m a writer. I know it’s an art God has gifted me with. I have written things in the past that were published (articles) but I want to write books. I have so many ideas. I read all the time, seriously all the time. One of my ideas though that I feel God is leading me to write has lead me to some questions that I’m not sure where to find the answers. I responded to an email that was sent to me from you that your assistant answered. He said to ask on your blog because he didn’t know the answer. My book is going to contain information/input from other people as well as myself. Do I need to have any legal documents signed by those contributing to protect the right to publish their material? I would tell them up front that the material would be used for publication purposes and can be included as anonymous to protect them.

    • Yes, Mary, that’s the safest way. Get a release from them. It doesn’t have to be formal, just thorough.

      • Mary

        Thank you

    • Now, can you find the very minor and easily missed error in this phrase? “… I feel God is leading me to write has lead me to some…”

      • Mary

        Oops, yes I see it.

        • Jerry B Jenkins

          Just a typo, an easy error.

  • Greg Grandchamp

    I am a writer.

    I know I’m a writer because I am driven to write, even if I know my writing may never get read by anyone other than mine own eyes.

    I know I’m a writer because I am passionate in my belief that words on a page can change lives.

    I know I’m a writer because I realize that there will be some who will like what I write, while there will be others who do not. At first, it bothers me that someone might not like what I write. Sometimes a lot. Then I realize that not everyone likes avocadoes either, although I remain baffled at why not.

    Yes, I have all the fear of failure. I have all the wonder if I will ever “succeed.” These feelings all exacerbated by the fact of turning 65 in a few very short weeks. On the other hand, I know too that success is a journey and not a destination. Success can be defined by no one but me.

    • You’re right where you need to be, Greg. Keep hammerin’ away at it.

    • NM Smith

      Hey Greg, loved this. It’s reflective of my thoughts exactly! I am your age and I choose to do things I love for the pure joy I derive from them, and I love to write! Writing is one of the most cathartic things I do for myself. Thank you for your post.

  • Vernon Lacey

    Jerry’s words are pearls of great value – they guide me and keep me inspired. I will always be thankful for doing a course via the Guild and the emails of encouragement. I worked assiduously at my first MS – a travel book about Barcelona – and applied all the things I learned – POV, passives, showing not telling – to this genre. I redrafted the MS 20 times (!) and dug as deep as I could into the process of becoming a self-editor. I got rid of 30,000 words and presented a book of 74K words. I read chapters of the book to family and friends. Got feedback. I also read all the travel books I could get my hands on to learn and compare. That flickering candle (I am a writer) was always there.

    Three weeks ago a publisher contacted me and said they would accept and promote the book. I have learned that being a writer is a decision, a hard work miracle, and not an accident or a fluke of fortune.

    • So glad you’re getting paid to be published, not paying to be printed. Bravo, Vernon!

      • Vernon Lacey

        Thanks Jerry – God is good.

    • Glenda

      Congratulations Vernon! :)

      • Vernon Lacey

        Thanks Glenda – Jerry’s mission is from God. I remember reading that Sir Isaac Newton once said that he saw so far because he stood on the shoulders of giants. We need one another. Blessings to you from Munich.

        • Glenda

          I’ve found the same to be true about Jerry Jenkins. I’ve not heard the Sir Isaac Newton quote before. How striking. I’m learning that we need one another, Vernon. Thank you for reminding me. Peace to you from the desert region of the evergreen state (Washington).

  • Christal S. Bae

    I am a writer, I am a writer, I am a writer!

    Because I write out of necessity, for my own emotional health as well as for my burdened heart to spread the gospel to the world, in a creative, more receptive way.

  • Bonnie Bajarin

    It took me ten years before I considered myself a writer. Finally this last year I asked Him how He sees me. He showed me sitting at His feet with paper and pen so I now have a mousepad that says, “I am a writer who sits at the feet of Jesus with paper and pen.”

    • :) If we could all only see ourselves the way He sees us…

  • patrick brunson

    Yesterday I received my “red, white, and blue” card, therefore I am old. (side note)
    In 1976 after doing free magic shows for two years, I queried several schools and had one taker. I felt I went from magi to Magi (commercial act). Within a few months I made more at being funny in 10-30 minutes than a week at work.
    I edit a little each day. I have queried both agents and journals, to me I want to go from writer to Writer (published). Am I so vain?

    • Glenda

      Nope, not vain, Patrick. Never too late. Write On! :)

    • That’s a worthy goal, Patrick.

  • Kevin WhoDat Bitter

    I know I am a writer because when I lost my parents I journalized regularly while living on the streets. Attending high school at Holy Cross, I loved English Composition and writing short stories to share with the class. After my street years, people would hear of my adventures (and woes) and declare: “Kevin, you should write a book!” So I set out to do just that. “Gavin’s Caper” (my story) was published in 2012, and “An Immigrant Song” was published in 2015. I have appeared on local radio and was interviewed on a local TV show called Louisiana Business Spotlight in early 2016. After 2 Non-fiction books based on true stories, I am changing gears and starting on a new fantasy novel !
    God bless you – Kevin J Bitter, Sr.

    • Good for you, Kevin. Where can we see what you published?

    • Oh, I see it on Amazon. Any idea what happens to your stock and rights now that Tate has gone out of business?

  • Betty Miles

    I am a writer because I write.
    Betty

  • lonewolf99

    As a voracious reader I always wonder if I could a write. I found myself researching and taking notes. I joined a few writer groups and started to write short stories. My third story was voted the best by my group–even though it contained many grammatical errors–the content was there. My mentor even said, “Gene, good thing you write on a computer, because if your wrote with a pen–you’d hurt yourself.” She helped me become a good writer, and now I’m published. Putting a smile on someones face with your words is the reward. People approach me and my girlfriend while I’m out and about. They say, “Hey you that writer guy–right?” My girlfriend replies, “You mean author.” And then I smile.

    • I enjoy being called an author too, Gene. Where can we see what you’ve had published?

  • Kathy Foor

    I am a writer! I started writing a novel in middle school. Mr. Groff, my tenth grade English teacher, taught me how to journal daily, and I have been writing ever since.
    An extreme introvert, I found my voice as I began writing about the things that matter to me. Writing every day about lessons God is teaching me has become a way of life, but in recent years I have felt called by God to share my writing with others.
    Like the article above, I struggled with fear of failure and procrastination held me back as I wondered why anyone else would want to read what I wrote.
    Pressed by the Lord to move forward, I realized that if God is calling me to write, then there must be people who will be encouraged by my words.
    I am an author! I am called to write. May God grant me the grace to do it well and the courage to share my work wherever there is opportunity.

  • Amanda Farmer

    I never expected to call myself a writer. My first writing in my composition class in college, received a F. While I became his most improved student, I still didn’t even have the desire to write. Now, 30 years later, I write nearly every day. I have a passion to encourage and guide people in their walk with God. I am a writer! Surprise!

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Interesting what motivates us, isn’t it, Amanda? Good for you!

  • Sally Gano Jones

    I know I’m a writer because the thoughts I feel dancing in my head won’t leave me alone until I release them on paper! I “hear” the words like I imagine a musician hears notes or chords or a songwriter hears verses or melodies.
    I know I’m a writer because when I let my dancing words move from brain to page and form them into legible prose, my words have provoked dancing in others or irritation in the least. At times writing seems to flow as smoothly as ink flows to paper.
    I’m a writer because I communicate these dancing words and some of the time when it flows quite well, an editor appreciates my dancing words and asks to run a piece in his/her magazine.
    I enjoy putting words together and to juxtapose the words in such a way that others can enjoy them…and just maybe, they, too, will dance!

  • Sandy Shatley

    I am a writer, and at this point I must say thank you, Jerry. You are a Master Craftsman and an inspiration to each of us. I first met you in 2010 at the Christian Writers Conference in Indianapolis, IN. I soaked in every word as a sponge soaks up water, and went to all the workshops I could fit in. Since then I’ve had a book published (“Between a Hard Place and a Rock”), am now doing research for my next book adventure and have started putting it all together. I’ve continued to take classes, and a fellow writer and I would like to begin a Christian writers group locally.
    Criticism – constructive criticism – is a valuable tool in a writer’s toolbox. It allows the writer to take a reflective look back with a different viewpoint in mind which helps in the process of growth and development. I’ve found that it stretches me.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      Great, Sandy! Good to hear from you. Thanks for your kind comments.

  • I am a writer. Now don’t ask me if I’m a blogger, but a writer? Yes. And a poet and speaker as well.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      I know you are, Anne. (Trouble is, publishers will ask if you’re a blogger; and you’d be a good one.)

      • I have a blog, I have blogged, it’s just that I end up writing more as a guest blogger than I do on my own blog. It’s like I’m missing in action.

        • Jerry B Jenkins

          Guest blogging confirms your ability. :)

          • Jerry,
            I just got a copy from the library of Steve Laube’s Christian Writers Market Guide. And lo and behold the foreword was by you. It was excellent. I’m enjoying going through the book, but I was saddened to see there were not very many publishers who publish poetry. Still, I’m thinking of submitting to one publishing house and we’ll see what happens. Just wanted you to know I enjoyed seeing your foreword. I met Steve Laube at a Write to Publish conference years ago where I was brave enough to share one of my pieces. He told me it was one of the most creative pieces he had ever heard. But when I asked him if Moody would publish it, he said no. He was with Moody at that time. He expressed it was too edgy for them, or something to that effect. What a great experience I had at that conference. I hope someday to meet you in person. But in the meantime, I’m hoping to one day join your writer’s guild. Some day.

  • Dale Little

    Before I read your article there is no way I would have dared call myself a writer. You have convinced me that I am a writer. Why am I a writer? I write to share the The Truth and the truths I have learned and I write in hopes of encouraging others along the way. For many years I considered the letters I wrote to “the editor” of various newspapers and magazines as a ministry. Now, other than a couple of brochures or slightly lengthy tracts I have written, almost all my writing is through Facebook. I have not looked at all 222 of my friends pages to see how many notes they have, but of those I have checked, I could possibly have more notes in my note file than all 222 of them together. Of course it is always possible someone has way more than I do.

  • Sam Bradley

    I’ll take what you said and apply it. Just this week I was in Washington, DC, meeting with representatives from my state and was asked what kind of work I do, I said each time asked, “I retired to be a writer.” To say otherwise, that I am a writer seemed pretentious. However, base on what you’ve written, Jerry, I am a (struggling – discouraged at times – yet to get it right) writer. Thank you for the encouragement. Sam

    • If you retired to be a writer, Sam, be one and call yourself one. :)

  • NM Smith

    I am a writer because I write, and I will continue to write regardless of success. I write for the joy of writing and the clarity it brings. I will continue to write if only my words are read by my children when I’m gone.

  • Terri Cannon

    I know I’m a writer because I can’t fall asleep at night without word and sentences and stories tumbling over themselves in my brain. I know I’m a writer because every Bible I own, every book I use, every purse I carry are filled with scratching and hatching a of stories. I know I’m a writer because I can’t escape the nagging guilt of NOT writing.

    • Jerry B Jenkins

      I believe you, Terri. Keep it up.

  • Kathy Coryell

    Yes! I am a writer! I am in my “happy place” when I “get to” be at my keyboard in a quiet place. I have a heart to share with others, to offer hope and help, encouragement, inspiration. I want to do whatever I can do to make a difference in this short life before it is over, to leave a legacy. What better way than writing on a page. Written words outlive us. I love to read, and to write, and have had that desire since third grade. I wrote my first story, a mystery. Since then I have written various articles, poems, pieces, and a workbook. My dream is to write a novel someday. For now, I am working on nonfiction works that are burning within me to break out. I have been told many times by different sources that I am a gifted writer. I have attended writers’ conferences, including Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. The workbook was written out of necessity for classes we were teaching. I learned a lot.through that process. There were times I wanted to give up, but couldn’t. There were people we were accountable to, waiting for its completion.

    I was never happier than when I spent an entire weekend locked up in a cabin in the mountains, just writing. Two other writer friends and I went together. We would get up, have our devotional time, coffee and breakfast, and part ways until lunch, each working on our respective projects. After lunch, we would take a walk and talk about our projects, then retreat again until dinner. After dinner we’d write until bedtime. I remember writing until 4 am, and rising at 8, ready to go at it again. I remember thinking, “This is my idea of the perfect life.” My two friends are now published authors. I am hoping it’s my turn.

  • Erik Kimbler

    “I am a wannabe!” I say that loud and proud…..well, maybe not the proud part ;) Thank you, Jerry Jenkins, for posting this article – some good thoughts and insight. Here’s to hoping I apply your words, dive in, and move to a “true, humble” writer status…..although, I think I already have that “dressing like a real author” thing down :)

  • Kathy Kidder

    Yes, I am a writer. I write continuously in my head, sometimes forgetting to get it to the paper/keyboard. I write currently for children’s animation employing modified screenwriting techniques that require detailed action description because the animators illustrate from a different cultural view and this work has to be viewed globally. So it goes against the “show them don’t tell them” train of thought. In this case, I have to tell them what to show the children. It gets confusing and I don’t know how good or bad my personal writing is.

  • Mary Derksen

    During our 45 years in Japan I wrote many articles for our denominational papers, but I never tried writing a book. Until after we retired. Then sickness hit – first my husband, Then it was my turn. I am a miracle still living independently after some bad health issues, walking every day, taking in webinars, and trying to write Our Story. I am stuck 1/2 way through our life in Japan, but am doing a lot of editing of our first three booklets. That’s why I signed up with you, trusting I’ll find my way through with your help. Thank you!

  • Carolyn McBreen Gibbs

    I remember my first published story for the Fremont Tribune. It was my first attempt after completing my Christian Writer’s Guild course. I had a great editor, and as sent she covered it in red markings. I learned and I am greatful for every lesson I learned. I am a writer, but it was step by step.

  • Elizabeth Jane McCay

    I know I’m a writer because I love to write. I write the stories I want to read. I spend hours thinking about my characters, editing, and revising.

    I also know I’m a writer when I get messages that tell me my last book “deeply touched their soul” and “they wish they had a relationship with Jesus like the girl in the book.”

  • BrandonDuncan

    I’m a writer because the LORD blessed me to have a passion, drive and urgency to tell others about Him and His Love…
    -I love your humble approach and again give praise for the gifts you received and your willingness to share with the rest of is.

  • Suzanne Whitworth Ackermann

    I feel God calling me to write on how he has redeemed and met me in my brokeness. At this point I am responding in obedience. There are no great aspirations to be noticed or even published, but I do want my writing to leave some sort of legacy for my children or whomever God desires.
    I am brushing up on basic english and writing skills. I am interested in writing devotionals.
    Jerry thankyou for blessing me with your resources.
    Suzanne Ackermann