“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” – Anais Nin


Two days ago, I had an epiphany.  As soon as I finished one short story, I begun another.   (And by “finished” I mean there was a deadline for my Johns Hopkins workshop and I had to stop tinkering.)  I didn’t want or need a break; I wanted and needed to begin the story that had been kicking around in my head the whole week.

And that’s when it hit me: I’m a freakin’ writer!

I’ve had so many discussions with women in which we lament how weird it feels to call ourselves writers before we are published.  It’s been a long road for me to feel ok saying I’m a writer.  When I first started writing, I didn’t call myself a writer and I barely told anyone what I was doing.

Hiring a babysitter to play with the children while I wrote was  a HUGE step.  For so long I thought: Who am I to pay someone so that I can take time for myself to follow this artistic pursuit?  I also thought: I can’t hire a babysitter when I’m not doing any kind of paid work.  

When I first started the MA in Writing program at Johns Hopkins, I didn’t admit to anyone that I was officially in the program.  I’m trying out a class or two, I said, until I was a third of the way through the program.

Creating a writer’s website was another big and scary step.  But I’m not yet published, the little voice in my head taunted me.  I don’t need a website until I am a famous, published novelist.  I took that little voice and folded it in an envelope and put it in the recycling bin.

And now I know for certain that I am a writer.  I am a writer because this is what I want to do; almost all of my waking time is spent either writing or thinking about characters or settings or whole stories that are circulating in my head.

My name is Shelby, and I’m a writer.



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