Forum Friday: Do You Own Your Writerdom?

Today’s question for writers of every variety:

Are you a closet writer, or do you wear your pen behind your ear? Why?

If you have become more or less comfortable with telling others you’re a writer and sharing your work, what brought about the change?


13 thoughts on “Forum Friday: Do You Own Your Writerdom?

  1. I used to be a closet writer :), now, i just direct everyone to my blog. Anyone who has an opinion on my writing, I take it with a pinch of salt, and move on. Much like life, I guess. The more years we gain, the less it matters what people say.

    • Elaine, that’s wonderful! I think many writers are intimidated not just by criticism but by simple judgment (myself included). But you’re right: that’s just part of the process. Accept that it is next to impossible to please everyone; take the good and the bad; don’t let anything slow you down!

  2. We both know I love your writings and you blog. And this post is a no exception. Only I do love it a bit more -:)! Why? Because it touches tender part in me. And it uses expressions like ‘wearing a pen behind one’s ear’, and ‘writerdom’ … clues! Youth is a cruel time. For years I did not realize I only felt alive when I wrote. Because I thought my quest is for bigger things and wider worlds.Those worlds took my ‘tool kit away’. Language. And showed me what it means to live when not alive. Then I laboured for years to assembly a new one. And now here we are; at the exactly the same spot we set off from. Only the tool kit is somewhat shabbier and I am old. Too old to care about bigger things and wider worlds … but not too old to care about being alive. Just for once. That is all. Sorry if it does not answer your question as it was intended. And sorry for too long comment.

    P.S. If there is anybody to ask, I would tell them I am a writer … what else is there. Besides, I am too old to care. Old age is as kind as youth is cruel!

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences, Daniela! I think your years have made you wise, and I bet your tool kit is even better this time around 🙂 What you were getting at reminds me of what Elaine said about not caring so much what others make of us as we age. If writing makes us feel alive that is of course the important thing!

  3. What a great question! Definitely had to sit back and think about that one for a few minutes. I am very comfortable telling people that I write but I still struggle with the concept of calling myself a writer. Leave it to me to make that fine-line distinction, but for some reason I feel like I have to. I hesitate to share my writing with people I know – rather I want the words to speak for themselves – I want people to like what I have written because it’s good, not because I wrote it. It’s something I struggle with constantly. If anyone has any tips to get me over the hurdle I’d love to hear them!

    • Oh man. Totally understand THAT paradox. I’m not ashamed of my writing, either, but I hesitate to use the word “writer” without having a completed novel or any really successful work to my name.

      I have an *idea* about how you might share your work with others… Simply let them know that you want their honest opinion of a piece– because the only criticism that isn’t helpful is criticism that is dishonest. That little nugget has really helped me open myself up to constructive feedback!

  4. I used to think that because I wasn’t published then I couldn’t call myself a writer. Then, I decided to own the fact that I can write, that I love to write and that I will write! I don’t go around telling people I’m a writer but if it comes up in conversation, I do mention that I’m writing a novel. I guess the change happened around my last birthday when I decided to take my talent seriously. Getting closer to 40 does that to a person!! 🙂

    • Good woman! Ownership with age seems to be a theme here 🙂 I understand what you mean about the reluctance with not having anything published, lol… I think I’m quite similar. I’ll admit, I definitely feel easier about sharing my writing ambitions with people online than in person! Thanks for a thoughtful response Virginia 🙂

    • I actually love this response too. 🙂 The own the fact that you can write part, it was so hard to tell people I can write before, but now, i find it easier. This comment is exactly part of how I live my writing life.

  5. Whilst I tell myself that I am a writer. Over and over – some days. I don’t tell other people. So I guess you could say that my writing is “in the closet”. You really made me think with this question. I am not sure if that is because of criticism or just because I romanticize writers and writing (other peoples). I feel like I am far too un-cool to be included in that bracket of writing?

    • I get that…not wanting to be a ‘poser’ or anything. At the same time I think sharing our writing with others can be good pressure and motivation to revise a piece to its best or, alternatively, to churn out more work (and write it the best that we can)!

      At any rate, try it perhaps…you might like it 🙂

  6. Closet writer. Well semi-closet writer. Have yet to summon the courage to show my peeps the actual “writing” that I have done. Yet I have no issue at all with blogging about any issue under the sun. Still trying to wrap my head around that… Just found your blog and very excited that I did.

    • Hello there, Papizilla! Well, from one semi-closet writer to another I must say I agree…I am less nervous, for whatever reason(s), when it comes to posting nonsense or ramblings on the internet (that thousands and millions of people could potentially see!) than I am about sharing stories, poetry, or chapters with friends who ask to see them. But in the end, we write to be read, don’t we? 🙂 Final drafts, anyways.

      Thank you so much for your comment!

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