Life Coach Magazine

I, Writer

By Writerinterrupted @writerinterrupt

writer at work Something odd and unfortunate happened to western society over the last century. We forgot how to claim our profession. There was a time…in a galaxy right next to Chicago, when a young man or woman who had achieved the ripe old age of twelve came home one day and announced, “Father, Mother, I am an accountant.” I can’t imagine it either. Really…an accountant?

But that’s how it worked. The kids went through 8 or 9 years of school, which was equivalent to a master’s degree in our society (I’m not making that up–Google “Math tests from 1860″ and take a look). When they’d reached their early teenage years, they decided on a career, and they immediately launched into their apprenticeship. Mind you, the vast majority took up their father’s career. Heck, you already had the shop and the clientele, so why not? By the time the young man was eighteen, he was already in business. Sorry, ladies, you were stuck on the homestead. Still better than accounting. My point is, back in the day, when you decided on a profession, you became that profession. No one asked to see your trade organization memberships or college degree.

Not so in 2013. Today, we’ve all been brainwashed into believe that you cannot be part of a profession until you’ve got the student loan debt to prove it.

Be a Writer

It’s time to changes that. If you want to be an accountant, say so and begin your career. You may still need to go to school, but don’t let that stop you from including yourself in all the great accounting conversations around the coffee pot.

For the writer, it’s even easier. Which is why it perplexes me that few writers will claim the title until they’ve got a paperback with their name emblazoned on the front. Those, my friends, are journeymen writers. They’ve done all the hard work and self-education to earn their name on a book cover. Most of you are apprentices.  Yes, just like Luke Skywalker, except you don’t get a light saber until you’ve learned to accept your rejection letters peacefully. Can’t have one-armed agents and editors walking around the writing conferences. It’s creepy.

So say it. Call your ma and pa and say, “I’m a writer.” They’ll probably say, “You’re forty-six, do what you want.” But at least you’ve said it. Then say to your spouse, “I’m a writer.” He or she will say, “That’s nice…what’s for dinner?” This may a good time to established business hours. Print cards. Hand them out to the family.

Your Apprenticeship

Now that you’ve claimed your title as Writer, you’re ready to enter into your apprenticeship. Still no light saber. You are what Randy Ingermanson refers to as a “freshman” writer. You are not expected to land a 5 book contract and a movie deal this week. Probably not this year. Maybe this decade. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to learn. You must learn your craft, learn the business, and learn to market yourself. You will do none of those well if you cannot even call yourself a writer. If you haven’t done so yet, please do. Shout it from the front lawn. Put on clothes first. Or not. You are a writer after all.

You already know the drill. The first thing you must do is write. The second–write. And then write some more. Stick around and we’ll help you with the basics. When you get smarter than us, you’ll know it and move on to smarter people websites. Or to dinner with the Chief Editor at Zondervan. Please say “Hello” to me if you see me at a conference. Just sign my copy “To my dearest friend, who taught me everything I know.”

Then, and only, then, will you get your light saber. Now go. Be a writer and do writerly things.

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