I was never comfortable calling myself a journalist. I just didn’t feel like one. I preferred writer but still it’s hard to own that one.
I found a great article about owning your title as a creative person whether you’re a photographer, a writer, an artist or something else.
“I have wondered for a long time why it is so hard for artists — especially women — to own their status in the world. It took me years to identify confidently as an artist. Why are we so hesitant – at least until we’ve graduated from school or until we’ve ‘made it’ — to proclaim, ‘I am an artist’?”
That lack of confidence seems to be something that’s drummed into us as creative entrepreneurs; until we reach certain milestones (first gallery show, first big published piece, first novel, first whatever), we are always trying to be the thing. We haven’t actually achieve it yet.
Maybe that feeling of not being real is what stops me from putting myself out there and makes me so uncomfortable about this. I also feel like it’s not taken seriously. Those milestones matter in different ways to different people but they matter. I rarely say it out loud but I aspire to write a book. Until them it’s just a goal and I don’t know if I’m a writer. The hard thing about writing is that so much of what you can do still hinges on the need for someone else to approve and distribute your work.
On the other hand I write frequently and I have been paid to write. I am currently paid to write. None of the stuff I write is fun or fulfilling but they do pay me for it. The stuff on here is the stuff I do for free.
The article says that if you do the title in verb form on a regular basis then you are that thing. If you write you are a writer. If you take pictures you are a photographer. If you draw you are an artist. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good but you are what you do. I’ve never really respected people who boast loudly about being writers but don’t have any projects or blog posts to show about it. I rarely talk about what I’m writing partially because I’m a private person, partially because it’s terrifying to admit that you’re working on something because then you can be judged and can fail at it, and partially because the stuff in my notebooks isn’t there to prove anything to anyone. I went to a Meetup of a writers association once. It seemed like a cool chance to meet someone. The caveat was that to be a member of the group you have to publish a certain number of articles. I was getting paid to write but that stuff didn’t count so I stopped going. I felt like a nothing there. You are what you publish is big shiny publications so I was nothing.
I do like the sentiment. I write and take pictures so I get to call myself these things. It can be terrifying but you should own it. Rip off the band aid and seem like you’re confident.