Becoming an Authentic Writer

While browsing my Google Reader this morning, I came across this blog post by Irene S. Roth on The Working Writer’s Club. The blog post, entitled “Be an Authentic Writer,” stated that people who call themselves writers but are fearful and don’t feel comfortable writing are not really authentic writers. Ms. Roth then enumerated a number of steps to overcome the fear of writing and becoming a more authentic writer.

I do agree that the tips Ms. Roth gave are helpful. Being yourself when you write gives you your own voice. Centering exercises help you clear your head. Removing the distractions from your home office keeps you focused and gets the creative juices flowing.

However, I think there is more to becoming an authentic writer than just finding your own voice, having a distraction-free home office, or performing centering exercises. There is also your paradigm as a writer. To become an authentic writer, you have to be an authentic writer.

If you are fearful about your writing, ask yourself if you believe you are an authentic writer.

Merriam-Webster defines the word “authentic” in a number of ways. For the purpose of this blog post, I am using these two:

  • not false or imitation: REAL, ACTUAL
  • true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character

So, if you are a fearful writer and are not comfortable writing, you really need to ask yourself if you believe you are an authentic writer. Do you think you’re the real deal? Are you being true to what you believe you are?

This may sound a bit cliché, but it all begins with you. As the late Stephen R. Covey wrote in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “what we are communicates far more eloquently than everything we say or do.”

If you don’t get it in your head that you are an authentic writer, you won’t become an authentic writer. It all begins with you.

There’s no secret sauce to becoming an authentic writer. You just need to build the belief that you are one.

Of course, there is a lot of technical stuff that you have to learn to get into the writing profession if that’s what you want, such as proper grammar, setting up your writing platform, understanding social media, et cetera. But those are just the technical stuff. They won’t help you much if you don’t possess that belief that you are an authentic writer.

How do you build that belief? It’s as simple as declaring yourself as a writer. In his book You Are a Writer, Jeff Goins shared his story:

I started saying I was a writer. I put it on my Facebook page. Included it in email signatures. Everywhere I could, I wrote that I was a writer. It was kind of ridiculous, but something crazy happened as a result of this campaign.

It actually worked.

As I started making these public proclamations of identity, I actually started believing them. I began to trust my calling before I had anything to show for it.

Being yourself, finding your voice, performing centering exercises, and creating a distraction-free workspace do help in smoothing out your writing process. But these don’t make you an authentic writer. If you’re fearful about your writing, these tactics won’t really address the main reason why you’re afraid in the first place, which is your lack of self-belief as a writer.

You have to be an authentic writer to become an authentic writer. That’s all there is to it.

Image: stock.xchng

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Anna Sibal-Gonzaga is a freelance writer based in the Philippines. She likes reading books and watching movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, fantasy and historical genres. She is also a casual gamer and an all-around nerd.

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