When Can You Call Yourself a Writer?

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I have a hard time calling myself a writer because I’m not published yet. OK, I’ve published an article or blog here and there, but I have yet to hold my published novel in my hands.

I have to remind myself that I write not for publication but because it is my gift and what God calls me to do. I write because I can’t not write.

Writing is writing
I used to feel that if I wasn’t working on my novel, I wasn’t writing. Then as I was working on a presentation for a marriage ministry, I realized I was writing. I was pulling from personal experience, being creative, using my gift, and honing my craft. Anytime you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) you are writing.

Gain perspective
It seems everyone I run into is writing a book, would like to write a book, or has thought about writing a book. But ability isn’t always the difference between published writers and those still waiting for publication.

Published writers faced rejection and kept writing. They never gave up. Gone With The Wind was rejected 38 times. Just because one publisher doesn’t accept your work doesn’t mean all will turn you down. Keep refining your story and sharpening your skills—and be prepared.

As long as you are writing and honing your craft—you’re a writer. Write because you love to. Write because you can’t not write. And never give up.

Heather Kreke is a graduate of the Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman courses. She lives in Pittsburgh PA with her husband and two daughters. Heather’s passion is to inspire youth to seek God’s will for their lives.

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72 Responses to When Can You Call Yourself a Writer?

  1. Rosie Cochran says:

    We are writers before we are authors and we’ll be writers ever after. Why? Because like you said, God has given us words. He has given us a gift that we’ll use even if not for monetary gain or published fame. You are definitely a writer, Heather! :-)

    • Preston J. Cole says:

      Thank you for the encouragement, the confidence, and your testimony as a member of Christian Writer Guild. Some times we need to hear and/or read positive words like the above “When can you call yourself a writer?” While I have over come this challenge, not because I am a published writer, simply I have been writing in journals nearly all my half of my adult years.

      I remember toying with the ideal and it came to me like this: “When can you call yourself a writer,” simply when you write “you are a writer” whether you are published, getting published, and/or want to be published. Of course, all-want-to-be-writers, are infested with an over false ego that usually questions the insecurity, the fears, and often the pain whether they are writers or not.

      In short, to answer this question concedes power determined by the last time you pick your pen and paper up, and/or when your fingers dance across the key board.

  2. Peggy Kennedy says:

    Thank You–just what I needed to hear:)

  3. iWrite says:

    Hi Heather, this is a fantastic statement: “I write not for publication but because it is my gift and what God calls me to do. I write because I can’t not write.”

    I would love to have you join me at the retreat I’m going to next week in Sedona. Check it out in my recent blog posts. I have been praying for God to use me to share His message with the world. And if He chooses not to, I will be content with writing something that is unpublished that will bring healing to my own heart.

    Blessings on you as you continue to use your writing gifts for Him.

  4. Rachel says:

    When you do not think you have anything to think about, you still are thinking. That is just like writing. You sound like you have hard work on your hands. Try to take small breaks somtimes and memorize some Bible verses. :P

  5. smwright says:

    As a man with no voice (lost larynx to the surgeons knife – but it got the cancer too) I write for EVERYTHING – but I have to agree – “I can’t not write”. And my latest little project is a commentary on Prov. 3. 30+ pages handwritten.

  6. I like to think of getting published as the fruit of writing, while the act of writing is simply living out who I am. If God has gifted me with the ability to write, then I cannot help but write. As long as I am exercising the gift, I can call myself a writer.

    Theresa Froehlich

    • Colleen Hord says:

      I like that…being published is the friut, and the act of writing is living out who I am.
      Thanks!

    • Mary Madjeski says:

      I really needed to read that, “writing is simply living out who I am. If God has gifted me with the ability to write, then I cannot help but write. As long as I am exercising the gift, I can call myself a writer.” I’m always thinking about the getting published and not the overall writing for the Lord. The Lord has given me this gift. Thus, I need to use it for Him!

      Again, thank you!

  7. Okorie Matthew Onyekwere says:

    Well, every writer cannot but obey ‘THE VOICE’ in secret or open. I think the right way to write is to write and obey the voice. it speaks, will always speak.

  8. Rebekah Weigner says:

    Very encouraging! Just what I needed to hear!

  9. Ty Epling says:

    Thank you Heather,

    This is an encouraging piece.

    God bless…

  10. Michael C Sayre says:

    I have written short prayer articles for my church and am currently struggling to get myself back into a writing habit. It seems that once I begin to write, everything else just falls into place.

    Thank you Heather.

    Michael.

  11. frankie allan ybarra says:

    “The power of life and death is in the tounge”. Provebrs 18:21

    As such, writers take speech and put it into organizational langauge called sentences. The sentences are arranged into paragraphs. The paragraphs make volumes called chapters and the chapters make up what we all call books.

    Our “CREATOR”, who I call our “SUPERNATURAL FATHER,” gave us all the ability to learn to write.

    Some of us take advantage of the opportunity and some don’t.

    The ones who learn to do so more proficiently than others, who also have a good work ethic, become our authors.

    • Susan says:

      Very well said.

    • del sloan says:

      Thank you for sharing you heart about the way you feel about your gift to write. I’ve had some of the same ideals to put on paper what I have gifted to speak. I am a Christian teacher but have not been teaching for a while, however the Lord has been dealing with me about writing for years. I have been writing but still pray for directions. Thanks Again.
      Del

  12. Carmen E. Richards says:

    Thanks Heather :)

  13. Calling myself a writer, or even telling people that I want to become a writer is so difficult for me. There’s always a voice telling me that it’s a foolish or prideful thing to say. But it’s neither of those. It’s a faith statement. It’s who God has called me to be.
    And I 100% agree, I write because it gives me the greatest satisfaction, I can’t not do it!

    • Susan says:

      I also have a hard time telling people that I am a published writer. I have written an article for the church mail out bulletin and also had two poems published. i did this to glorify God. I am working on a child play, one day I will see if God wants this published also.

  14. Jack Roberts says:

    Thanks, I needed that! I just got a Certificate from and online writing school last spring, and to date it has not made a bit of difference in getting published! I have had stories and poems published…but in very local, grassroots newsletters; also, one essay in an online magazine, for no pay whatsoever. I would so love a national magazine to actually pay money! I sent an essay to a small, local news paper that publishes fun true-life stories the way official news papers used to 50 years ago..and all they did was tell me to “check back in about a year”! So I needed the encouragement of your quote here on this website. God bless you!

  15. Pamela Black says:

    Very nice commentary Heather! I struggle with when to call myself a “writer” as well, but I came to the conclusion that if I’m writing I must therefore be a writer.
    I loved all the comments about how God has blessed people with the ability to write. I have a very different situation however. Whether or not God has “gifted” me with the ability to write I don’t know yet. I am a writer. The novel I’m currently finishing is over 100,000 words (so far)and will close in about another 15-20,000.
    The interesting thing is, I have NEVER wanted to write. In fact, there’s days I don’t want to write now. But God…two of my favorite words…God has given me a story (four actually) and He seems quite sure I must write it. Where I struggle most is that I am very good at so many other things. Financially, writing has not been lucrative for me yet, I’m unpublished. But God won’t give up, He won’t let me rest, He stays on me constantly.
    Am I an anomaly? Am I the only one writing against my will? (ha ha) I won’t say that I don’t enjoy it, just that it is not my first love or my first God given talent, at least in my own opinion. It’s also probably the most difficult, time consuming, off the wall thing I’ve ever had to TRUST God in.
    Help?

    • Pam Sims says:

      Every writer needs to be encouraged from time to time. We judge ourselves on the work of others. Are we as good as they are, will it really matter that I write, but in the end it is really all about God. Does what we do honor him. Having just published my very book I soon realized that before I was published only God saw it, now I have others who will read what I have written. It was and is very humbling to say the least. I write because it is healing for me, I learn so much from writing. God instructs us, as Christians, with telling the story, what happens with that story then is left up to God. If we view our work in this way I think it will help us relish in the gift that God has given us. God then is left with bringing the story to life. After all it is really all about Him, isn’t it?

  16. What a great thought! I have struggled through this question myself and this was a good confirmation for me :)

  17. William Leaf says:

    I write because that is where my heart is. I write because I believe I have something to say. The main reason I write is because down deep inside of my inner man I strongly feel what I have been through has not been in vain. God can take my story and give others hope within their own lives. Whether or not I ever become a published author is no big deal in terms of one person having a change in their life for Jesus’s sake.

    • Kristen says:

      Amen, William! I’m reminded of the Starfish story: “It matters to this one…” If God is calling us to write it, someone out there needs to read it. Whether it’s one person or millions. We write for the glory of God.

      • Tina Deloach says:

        Gods Word reminds us to give Him glory in all we do. Thank you for your words of truth that it is all for the Lord. I’m just starting out…getting my feet wet. The Lord had impressed on me years ago to be His mouth piece. I have avoided this due to fear of failing. I cant let that overshadow my obedience to the call. Again, thank you.

  18. Kristen says:

    Thank you for this important post. Our identities in Christ are more important than what others think of us, or even what we think of ourselves. God is the Great Author of all good things, and He will pour his calling into us as we listen and respond with a resounding, Yes! I will get up early and click-click-click. Yes! I will write the blog post for the women’s ministry. Yes, I will write my little son a book, even if we just create it in PowerPoint (for now!)

    I have written in journals, on napkins, post-its, backs of envelopes… you name it, I’ve been writing on it since I was a little kid. I can’t not do it. Thank you so much for reminding me today that I am a writer.

    Blessings,
    Kristen

  19. Nona King says:

    Oh my, Heather, you are so right! God has put on us this passion for words, and I fully believe it is our witnessing tool to the masses. My published novel is still a dream, but I have been blessed to touch the lives of dozens of young writers who journey along with me on this struggle of being a writer from a Christian world view. Keep it up, lady!

  20. Kathryn O'Brien says:

    Glad to hear there are others out there who can’t not write! I got some good advice recently from an editor who knows I am struggling with self-doubt: Stop thinking so much about getting published and just have FUN with your writing. I think I’ll try that and see what the Lord does with it ;)

  21. Jan Chapman says:

    Heather, you are definitely a “writer” and you have truly blessed my heart. Thank you for sharing. I am so glad I found this article tonight. I think the Lord knew I needed to read you….

  22. Sonny Dinger says:

    Yes, thank you Heather, I can relate to what you are saying. I am a travel agent at present.
    Although I’d rather be writing short stories.

    Thanks again,
    Sonny

  23. Writers write becaue they have too. It’s like breathing, it’s something you do because you can’t life without that time your words dance across a page and come alive. It has nothing to do with being published it’s about who you are and finding who you are when you write.

    • Betty says:

      It was good to read so many of us are writing because we cannot not write. I am a grandma and it is so gratifying to see others feel as I do. I MUST write!!!!!

  24. Barbara Ann Brown says:

    Thanks brothers and sisters! I needed to read your comments to realign myself with why I’m writing. Like you I simply must. Recently my writing has taken off and it’s like waking from the dead. But I’ve been distracted with publishing/marketing/permissions/etc, etc, etc. I’m have way through a book that I know I’m collaborating with the Holy Spirit on – and that’s enough or now. The rest will come when its time. Thanks again – I’m happy again!!

  25. Bianca Bishop says:

    I agree with everything you said, I have been writing every since i received my first journal at nine years old, and i haven’t stopped.Writing has gotten me through a lot of things growing up and now that i am older i do feel that writing is my calling. So thank you your words have really touched me.

  26. Carolyn Ramseyer says:

    I do agree that writing is a gift, God gave that to me, I have had small things published like small articles. Right now I want to have my own newsletter and start that going to. The book will fall into place maybe in a year or two. I have over 40 journals that will help me write my book. carolyn

  27. Bob Jackson says:

    I never expected to be a writer. I have always had opinions about certain subjects and always had goals concerning various subjects and willing to discuss them with others but never imagine putting my thoughts down on paper. I felt like Moses did, my grammar and mechanics is sub-standard. But like Moses, God gave me a helper (my wife) who is excellent in the areas where I am weak. So I am beginning to call myself a writer and working to improve myself each time I pick up the pen or pound the keyboard.

  28. Vincent Roos says:

    Hello Heather. I was recently given a calling by God to write a movie exposing the schemes used by Satan. I am having such difficulty getting started and I really dont know why when I have good writing skills and TONS of ideas in my head to expose him. I know this will become a successful movie/play/book. Just need direction…Thanks! :)

    • Satan won’t go down easy. He will throw every road block in front of you he can. Pray hard, work hard, and whatever you do, start writing and keep writing with lots of review and revisions. Don’t give up, that’s what the devil would have you do. Keep on keepin’ on.

  29. Sonny Dinger says:

    Hi There
    Thank you for the feedback.
    I Enjoyed reading your article very much
    God bless,
    Sonny

  30. Mel McRoberts says:

    Thanks for the encouraging article Heather!

  31. I agree, if you write, you are a writer. Yes, you have to be able to keep writing despite rejection.

    Show me a new, unpublished writer that hasn’t any pink rejection slips hanging all over the wall and I’ll show you a writer who will likely never see their byline in print.

    Attitude and the ability to “see” or visualize yourself as a writer is what starts the process. Persistence and vision will complete the process by assuring that your work is published and shared with others.

    It took me six long years to see success in national trade magazines. That was in 1986. I now have a long history with in-print and on-web publishing, and it has brought me great success and full time income along the way. I worked full time for two national magazines for over 14 years. I now write freelance.

    I can assure you, it’s worth every ounce of effort you put into it.

  32. Kimberly Puryear says:

    Dear Heather I live in Pgh, Pa as well. This article blesses me. Is there anywhere in the city that writers meet to share and pray with each other?

  33. A breath of fresh air and a blessing to “hear” others express what I feel the Lord has instilled in my own heart. I’m not “published” in a traditional sense but have shared much of what I’ve written with others and experienced the sheer joy of seeing them touched by what the Lord has given me – through much turmoil, anguish and heartache I might add. Look forward to interacting some with you folks! (blog site above is new for me – just getting started with that – trusting the Lord for direction in using the gift He has given… still need lots of “polish”, but then we don’t ever “arrive”… do we? LOL

  34. Riah F. says:

    Thank you. That’s what I needed to hear. I feel bad at times cause I have to go awhile without writing and I feel I’m giving up on my dream, but really I’m not. I’m just getting new ideas.

  35. Brenda Maxwell says:

    Thanks for your words. I too am not writing a novel but do write short stories, poems, and do my small churches newsletter. I agree, if you write because you feel that writing is God’s gift for you; the length doesn’t matter – writing is writing. Thanks again for you thoughts!!

  36. Septime Nyandwi says:

    I feel the same, I have been writing for long, but as I don’t have any published work I feel like I am No a writer. I wrote a book and I kept it in my house for no reason other than the fear of rejection. Sometimes I read it and I feel like it is a good book, but the next day I tell myself ” oh no! it is not going no where, just forget it, anyway you don’t even have money to publish it” Well Thank you for sharing this with, it gave me encouragement. I will never give up. May the Lord keep enlighting you.With love,
    Septime.

  37. I enjoy writing because I always write things down and have a desire to write about the things I see in life. But, I am working to become a good writer in order to be published. Once I can afford to I will take a writng course that will force (so to speak) me to WRITE.
    Thank you for your article! I enjoyed it.

    Michael.

  38. Irene says:

    Dear Heather, thank you for this encouraging piece. I love writing. I can not help but write. I love to craft words in a way that will touch the lives of my readers. Your piece touched my heart. God has blessed us with a gift, as a good steward we must develop it and use it to His glory. Like Theresa wrote, God will add the fruit to it in His own time.

  39. Karen Crider says:

    I called myself a writer at a young age. I have written since the age of eleven and never tire of it. I think if something is a passion, it works its way into it you until its such a part of you it never leaves.

  40. Daring to call myself a writer :)

  41. Although I have taken writing courses, Im interested to learn more and improve my writing as much as possible. I look forward to news & updates, thank you for the opportunity.

    cliff

  42. Thanks. Good Article. I am a writer!

  43. Paula Sorrells-Beene says:

    Thanks, I needed that. I’ve set my writing aside because of other responsibilities. But writing is my calling… And God has given me the desire and the words. I am encouraged to persevere.

    • Hi Paula,
      Yes, writing is your calling, and always remember that. It surely a gift when you can recognize that in yourself. Never second-guess yourself. The same thing happened to me thirteen years ago. I was experiencing an extremely difficult time in my life. Prior to that, I was writing and had to put it aside to sort things out for a while. A burning desire to write stayed with me for quite some time, while I took care of other pressing matters. Well, the desire stayed with me, and , one day when I could no longer ignore it, I picked up pen and paper and started writing again.

  44. Chris Turner says:

    Thank you,this was very encouraging, my first novel is going through the proofing stage as I write,It’s called “I just want to be loved”, I have also started my second novel, “The Shenanigans of Christopher”, which is actually my life story in novel form.
    I feel the same way as you do, I can’t stop writing, every chance or idea that I have, I write about it.
    Thanks and have a great day!

    • Yes, a Writer is discovered the moment he is gifted by God to put words on a page that backs up a “great idea.” Being that we are gifted, the ideas will keep on coming, and the words will begin to flow like rain. Definitely we are writers first. We will always be writers, if we are only doing daily journaling. But truly, being gifted by God, the one who is “called by Him” will eventually do more than write in the private journal. I am a writer who receives revelation from God through dreams at times, visions, and also word of knowledge. We all hear from the Lord through “answered prayers.” These are worth writing about because they give glory to God. Therefore I continue to write, wait on God and look forward with great expectations to the day His work through me is discovered!
      It will be published because it has not only been given so that I know of the great works of God, but that others may hear of them also. The bible tells us that all scriptures were inspired by God. In other words, the great writers of the bible were inspired by God to write all that was written; not for themselves but for all. There are some among us today whom He has gifted the same way! If you can believe you are one of these writers– stand in agreement with me and let us trust God in all our endeavors; be prayerful, grateful and diligent. Keep on writing what you are given. And may we always know the will of God for our lives, may He grant our heart desires and fulfill all our purpose.

  45. blanche m. jenkins says:

    2013
    Words sometimes takes forever!

  46. Thank you for your encouraging words about continuing to write even when you are rejected.

  47. Jeff Feitshans says:

    I love writing, but struggle with actually putting together the book I have inside. I often write for a ministry outreach I am a part of. I write as a hobby as well as just journaling. But I always thought I had to be published to seriously be considered a writer. Now, after this article, I see it differently. Thanks!

  48. Lynda Kusko says:

    I have a book inside me that needs to come out and I don’t know how to do it. I journal about my life and when I read back to how I started this journey with the Lord, I can’t believe how I’ve survived. He has shown me how Grace has really worked for ME!! He has shown me my Joy really does come from the Lord. Help !!!

  49. Georgann Corbett says:

    I would live to write… But more of a factual journal story… And a lot if it didn’t start out with God!!!

  50. Gail Johnson says:

    “I write because I can’t not write.” So true, Heather. I have found that I must write to empty my mind or else I can’t think! Nothing like clearing the mind for a peaceful night’s rest! Thanks for the reminder.

  51. Your article just confirms what I’ve been asking myself, “Am I a writer?” I keep getting the same answer to my question, it comes in a still small voice. “Yes, you are a writer. I’ve called you to write…so, write!” Just like the other day I was feeling a little discouraged but that little voice said, “Who cares if it’s, “who or whom, you’re not going for a nobel prize.” Maybe some are but for me when I sit down to write it’s like God is right there with me inspiring me to say this or say that…I write and rewrite until it flows…I just want to fine tune my abilities in the gramatical realm…but I’m not going to let my inability stop me from writing. Great job, I enjoyed what you said and after all isn’t that what it’s all about. Telling a great story!

  52. Shureen Mousseau says:

    Thank you so much….this article may have been posted a while ago but ut was exactly what I needed to hear today…I pray that your ministry is blessed and multiplied….Thank you so much for your encouragement.

  53. “I have to remind myself that I write not for publication but because it is my gift and what God calls me to do.”

    I have battled with this process many times over the last year. When people ask – what I do? I often find myself stumbling around searching for an answer. Earlier this year an elderly woman in our church asked, when I told her I was a writer, she scrunched up her face, and responded, “Well, “that” doesn’t pay much. What else you got?” To which I went back into my stumbling around for an answer mode.

    As I walked away, I asked God how do I respond to that?

    Your post has truly helped me clarify this. Thank you!

  54. Leona houchens says:

    I say, “Thank you Heather & all who have been called by God to write!” I too have struggled with what to do with this desire to a writer and yet feeling so in adequate to authorship standards. So I avoided writing for awhile – like Jonas with words that needed to be spoken to Nineva!” I only became more frustrated. Then I had a revelation that if God have me this talent & desire
    , then He wants me to invest it and increase it and not hide it away until Jesus comes back! All we need to do is write and seek Him for what to do with it. My passion is to see youth impassioned in the talents God has given them too. Heather, may we be their example! Write on!

  55. Stephanie Dickinson says:

    As I have told so many, I have been writing ever since my little fingers were permitted to hold a sharpened pencil ! It would not have been inconceivable to imagine me writing on my high chair tray – making scroll-like images in my baby food custard !!
    Well, you get the point: I, too, find that my days generally cannot pass without my having written something to somebody. My frustration level originates with the fact that I am a young, 63 years of age and the most prolific writing of mine is done solely for the benefit of my e-mail contacts. I wrote 160 research papers while working on my bachelor’s degree – obtained last year – but that didn’t seem “to count” in within the definition boundaries of “being a writer”.
    I live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania – the richest farmland and view land in our great nation. Surely, there must be a writing arena in which I can play a part, as well as “make my mark” in this world.
    Thank you so very much for reading this. As you can sense, even my comments blog become novel-length, yes?!?
    Stephanie Dickinson
    B.S.Min.,B.S.B.S., CCLC

  56. Lee Bond II says:

    I’ve been writing poems and lyrics since age 12. I took all the English courses offered in high school, and currently maintain a devotional page where I post songs, thoughts, and inspiring words. Last week three songs were released on a friends’ music project providing me with lyric credits. While I have lent my considerable gifts toward others music as a player and singer this is my first real credit of any measure. In my spare time I have also written several poems and kids short stories I someday hope to publish. I am only really beginning to see the potential of how God may use me as a writer. Thank you so very much for this site and all it affords those of us seeking direction so we can share what we are inspired to express through written language! We were not created to be silent. =0)

  57. Grace López Briske says:

    I Love to write christian childrens books. To imagine an idea n place it on paper for a child to enjoy is so wonderful of a feeling to have forever. I just started to actually sit and brain storm n Its a Great of a time. Before The 20 yrs in The Army, I knew that writing was someday going to be in my daily life just like God intended me to be in. Love n peace to éase The mind to flow write on paper.