The Evolution of a Writer’s Identity

“I like journaling a lot.”

“I write a blog.”

“I’m an aspiring writer.”

“I’m a penniless, unpublished writer.”

And then.


“I’m a writer.”

Said out loud. Without modifiers to weaken it. In the privacy of my own home. To my then 10-year-old son. A small step of confidence, but confidence nonetheless.

I’ve already written a couple of times about the struggle some people have in publicly claiming their identity as a writer. I wrote about it when I first started this blog, and just last month I posted again about it Here. In the past, I’ve spoken about my writing and being a writer, but always with the use of a modifier, as if to acknowledge the gulf between a “real” writer and what I’m doing.

Then I joined Medium this past spring. Medium is a platform where writers can earn money when their stories are read by paid members. Some say Medium’s heyday as an earning opportunity is behind us, but I was still excited to join.

I joined at a time when I had decided to stop searching for literary magazines to publish my submissions. That road was a lot of research and effort with very few results. On Medium, I was excited to write and self-publish whatever my soul led me to write that week. I was free from trying to create a piece, or smush an already written piece, into the “is it a good fit” subjectivity of literary magazines.

In my first month, I made $1.63. A modest start, no doubt. But it was the first time I had ever made a cent from my writing.  I dropped the “penniless” modifier I had been using. I had one-hundred and sixty-three pennies.

In conversations with my son, he always complains, “Why does Daddy have to go to work again?” (Because of course Daddy is the fun parent, and he wants Daddy to be home.)

I answer, “Daddy has to go to work to make money. You know he goes to the lab. That’s his job.”

But now I can add, “And I’m a writer. That’s what I do. That’s my job.”

So when my son is pestering me because he is “just so bored” and “everything is boring” and he “wants his iPad back” then I can respond:

“I’m working. I’m writing. I need to write this.”

(And also, “You have a million toys, books, art supplies, instruments – go do something or I’ll give you something to do and you won’t like it.” I sound like such a Mom.)

I’m sending out my second newsletter today. I sent out the first one nearly a year ago, and then I got buried under an avalanche of virtual schooling and pandemic stress. I wanted to write 4-5 newsletters a year, but c’est la vie. This is the right time to jumpstart my newsletter again. If you’d like to receive it in your inbox, click Here and sign up under Newsletter. I’ll chat about some exciting things (a podcast!) I’ve been doing, and it’ll have links for my essays on Medium as well as introduce my new Buy Me A Coffee page – which makes it easy for readers to support me.

Writers love readers, so thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “The Evolution of a Writer’s Identity

Add yours

  1. Enjoyed reading this! Please, don’t stop. Remember, you’re a Writer! It’s your job.👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻


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