We’re continuing our series, asking writers to give us feedback about this:
What does it feel like to be a writer?
What did it feel like to be a writer when you first began writing?
Kathi: At times, being a writer felt exciting, but at other times, I felt like I was a fraud, trying to be an expert when I wasn’t one, a sage when I wasn’t one. I often felt like I was trying to prove my worth with my words.
Nicole: When I first started writing, I felt like an imposter. I felt like I was pretending to be a writer. I didn’t know if I was doing it right or if anyone would actually benefit from what I was writing – or even want to read it!
How have your feelings or thoughts evolved over time?
Kathi: Now I tend to write out of a place of experience instead of expertise. I’ve been able to give up the need to be right, and really want to be right there with the reader. It makes me happy to think that someone is reading my words and is comforted or challenged in some small way. It makes me feel useful. Writing makes me feel useful.
Nicole: I’ve come to see that writing is a gift to myself. I can’t control what people like or don’t like. Perhaps I’m not their style, but that’s okay because I walk away from the computer feeling lighter. I find my joy and my purpose when I get my thoughts down in black and white.
What would you like other writers to know now about what it feels like to be a writer.
Kathi: Your reasons for writing may change. That doesn’t invalidate the reasons you began to write, but hopefully, your reasons will grow as you do. You can look back on the beginnings of your writing without embarrassment, but with kindness and compassion for that person you were in the process of becoming.
Nicole: Sometimes I don’t like writing. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have anything to say. Writing is a discipline. It requires us to be still and to think deeply. Don’t be scared when you feel like you don’t have it in you. Just sit down and see what comes. You have a perspective and a way to share that perspective that is different from everyone else’s. Your words matter.
I went for a run once and someone said, “Oh you’re a runner!” and I replied, “No, I just run sometimes.” They playfully reminded me that if you run, you are a runner. So whether or not you feel like a writer, if you write, you are a writer. Own it and enjoy it!
Thank you both so much, Kathi and Nicole!
Notice how similar their first answers are about how they felt as newbie writers. Kathi said she felt like a fraud, and Nicole said she felt like an imposter. I bet most of us can relate to that! (If fear or doubt about your writing is a struggle, you might want to check out this post on doubt). Be encouraged that over time those feelings will no longer be your companions. I love how Kathi encourages us to have compassion on ourselves as new writers. And then Nicole says “own” the role of writer and enjoy!
We’d love to know what resonated with you today!
Kathi Lipp inspires thousands of women each year to strip down their expectations and lives and live with real purpose. With humor and wisdom, Kathi offers hope paired with practical steps to live with meaning. She is the author of 20 books including Clutter Free, The Christmas Project Planner, The Get Yourself Organized Project, The Husband Project, and Overwhelmed. She is also the cohost of Communicator Academy, an inspiring and practical site for women in ministry.
Nicole J. Phillips is a champion for using kindness to overcome all of life’s difficulties, including her own battle with breast cancer. She spreads the message of the healing power of kindness as host of “The Kindness Podcast,” and through her weekly column, “Kindness is Contagious,” which runs in newspapers in North Dakota and Minnesota. She is also the author of two books, Kindness is Contagious: 100 Stories to Remind You God is Good and So are Most People and Kindness is Courageous: 100 Stories to Remind You People Are Brave + Kind. Nicole lives in Aberdeen, South Dakota, has three children and is married to her childhood crush, Saul Phillips. Go Wolves!