Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

Write It – Don’t Fight It! (The answer to: Are you a writer?)

I’ve received many emails, letters, and even a few postcards, expressing the same thing: “I want to be a writer.”

Many of the senders go on to ask the inevitable question: “Am I good enough?”

I’m glad they asked. After all, if we’re honest, you and me, we’ve been there at some time or another, too, wondering the same question writers have been wondering for centuries…


Am I really a writer?

This question, perhaps more than any other, is the surest sign you are indeed a writer and likely a darn good one, too!

All the best writers doubt themselves.

And the worst writers tend to be cocksure they’re the greatest!

But the true answer of whether one is a writer or not is:

A writer writes

That’s it.

For better or worse, a writer wields a pen.

Go ahead, tweet that, if you’d like.

But then there’s the question of…

Am I good enough?

Too many people think they can’t call themselves a writer unless they’re considered good.

Allow me to shatter a myth that Writer’s Doubt has created in the minds of writers the world over:

Whether one’s writing is good, bad or ugly, that’s determined by the readers and not the writer. We can always improve as writers, but we can never control what anyone thinks of our writing.

It’s pretty scary, I know. It’s the price of admission. The fact is, you don’t need anyone to tell you that you’re good enough.

You write, therefore you ARE a writer. Period.

If you’re willing to risk challenging your doubts and become all you’re born to be, if you’re truly so inclined, then get over the notion that you need the approval of “others” to call yourself a writer.

You don’t need anyone’s approval to be a writer.


One person will love your work and another may hate it.

That’s just the way it is.

But know this: neither the lover nor the hater determines what, or even, who, you are. Sure, each has an opinion about the quality of your writing, but that doesn’t establish whether you’re a writer or not.

I think it’s incredibly rare for someone to be completely confident in their writing ability. We all doubt ourselves and our writing from time to time, and that’s okay.

But what’s not okay is to allow doubt to hold you back from your destiny as a writer, or even, as a person.

Do what you do, create what only you can create, and don’t let anyone stop you, especially not yourself.

So as you go about writing today consider the truth of what a writer actually does, and while you’re considering that, how about taking a moment to honestly answer this one simple question:

Are you a writer?

Share the answer with us in the comments. Go ahead, write it – don’t fight it!

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

Did you like this article?

Get future articles delivered directly to your inbox and you’ll also receive an extremely popular eBook included with signing up, all for free. More free stuff to come for subscribers only, so don’t miss out. Enter your email address:

Audacity-banner-G610 Proceeds from sales of the book support the Positive Writer website, writing contests, giveaways, and other events. Thanks for your support.
  • Yes, I am a writer! A positive post, I like it! It’s so easy to let doubt get in the way of achieving goals, especially as a writer. This is a good reminder to focus on the craft of writing rather than what others think.

    • Agreed! I love how this post encourages writers to take sole responsibility for their writer-ness and not base it on other people’s opinions.

      And I love your newsletter, Naomi! Looking forward to your blog.

      • Glad I read this comment about the newsletter. I just went over to sign up and I look forward to your blog posts, too. Seems you just started the blog today, Naomi? Congratulations.

        And thank you for the head’s up, Dana.

        • Thanks Dana and Bryan! You both made my day.

          I have been blogging for a while and have always wanted to launch a blog to connect with fellow writers, so this is a step toward that goal. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to connecting with you both.

          p.s Bryan, you’re site has been a source of inspiration for me.

          • Thank you, Naomi. Glad you’re enjoying the posts. Btw: I really like the design of your blog, great job! Great photos, too!

  • Catherine North

    Thanks so much for this Bryan. I’ve been stalling all week over submitting to a particular agent in case they don’t like my writing, but you’re right – I have no control over what they think, so as long as I’ve made my book as good as I possibly can, I just have to bite the bullet and do it – right? 😉

  • Hi Bryan,
    Interesting that you should write about this topic. I just wrote a draft for my blog, http://www.adelaidewritewritewrite.blogspot.com which I haven’t posted yet with a similar subject. It was to reply to the response I got from someone who said to me, after I told her that I was a writer. Her response: I could be a writer. My reply was: If you write, you’re a writer, so go and start writing.

    • Yep! Come back and post the link to it when you’ve got it up and I’ll come over and read it. No -could be- “Do or do not” Yoda. 🙂

      • Hi Bryan,
        I just posted it on my blog. It’s short, but, I think, gets the point across. I would love to have you check it out.
        p.s. would you explain what you wrote in quotes. I guess it’s something from Star Wars, but I never saw any of the films.

  • Gabriel

    I have always lived with the belief that you are not a writer until your first novel is finished. Even after reading all of these articles, I still doubt the possibility of being a actual writer. Short stories are not helping in making this decision either. Guess I’ll have to finish ”the big thing”.

    • So, out of curiosity, how do you go about writing if you’re not a writer until your first novel is finished?

      Btw, some of Stephen King’s best movies adaptations are from his short stories. My personal favorite was “The Body” which was something between a short story and a novel, which he calls a novella – the movie title was “Stand By Me.” Just something to think about. To each their own.

      • Gabriel

        I think of myself as of an aspiring writer. It just feels like I’m being full of myself when I take the title of „writer” and place it next to my name, considering the fact that I didn’t finished- not to say published – my first novel.

        I for sure know that writing is the thing I love doing and can’t see myself doing anything else but writing. It’s just a matter of creation until I feel I can proudly introduce myself as a writer.

    • Publication does not a writer make. Writing makes you a writer.

  • Michelle King Eigemann

    I was always afraid to call myself a “writer” simply because I was afraid of what other people would say. How silly right?!?! I call myself a mom, a runner, a friend, and even a child of God and I never worry about what others will say about those titles, why should calling my self a writer be any different? Hi my name is Michelle and I am a WRITER!!!

  • Brian

    Once again, I find that my attitude is a bit weird. Am I writer? I don’t know. I’m not sure I even care. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a storyteller.

    Think about this. A kid playing a video game doesn’t spend time wondering if he/she is a Gamer. The kid plays because they enjoy it. Naval gazing about what she/he is would take time away from the game. Waste of time.

    I write because I want to tell stories I want to read. If others like it that is a big, big plus, but I’d write even if they didn’t.

  • I don’t think of myself as a writer. I never have. But I do like to write. And I definitely want to get better at it! So, as Iong as I’m writing, I guess I am a writer! haha Thank you for this encouraging post. 🙂

  • Bryan – very much to the point and great post.
    AS A MAN THINKS SO IS HE……you might as well think about something that currently IS vs. WHAT MIGHT BE….I wrote a post last year called YES I AM! which centered on the exact topic.
    I was literally in a courtroom being questioned by a DA about an attempted murder I stumbled across while cycling. In the weirdest of settings the DA asked me…”Mr. Cross…are you an athlete?”.
    I grew up in sports…and once thought of myself as an athlete….until I realized that due to my cycling….which I do a lot of……the question hit me head on…..”Yes I am an athlete” was my reply.
    It got me thinking along the lines of writing……I blog….I like to write….I have not published a book (yet!)…..etc…..YES I AM A WRITER!

    Thanks for putting it out there!

  • Shari England

    Oh my, how I needed this! Though I’ve been told that my writing is stronger now than when I first began, I still battle with doubt, fueled mainly by that creativity-sucking inner desire for approval. Looking forward to reading your book “Writer’s Doubt”. Thank you.

    • Let me know what you think of it, Shari. I totally get what you mean about that Vampire, named approval.

    • As you write more and more Shari your writing will naturally get stonger. If when you first started writing you stuggled to get down a particular emotion your work on it. It would naturally get easier the next time you need to write about that… I used this as an example.

  • Sally Wilke

    Am I writer? I don’t think so. I’ve never published a single thing. What I do know is…that I am thinking about writing when I am not writing. Everything I hear and see becomes a possible writing idea. I’ve been watching a movie and have gotten a idea to write about from a single phrase or image and then spend half the night writing an outline for a story. I am constantly thinking about my characters when I am not writing about them. Am I a write.

    • Writing isn’t necessarily about publishing. Those are two different things. Arrogant, conceited authors used to make cracks about those who are published and not published, and you know, maybe there are some who still do that, but the fact is that a writer writes. And you write!

  • Yes. I am a writer. I have to write. I take part in writing ventures. I have just published my second book. I am a writer. Am I well known as a writer? No. But that does not negate the fact I am a writer. Great post, Bryan. Really good.

  • I am a writer! I began to own this part of myself when I realized how I always turned to writing during the darkest and brightest hours. Writing is healing, meditative and such a beautiful to share our stories and explore new ones.

  • Cathy Keaton

    I was recently thinking about this, about how I felt like I wasn’t a “real” author, or would never be one. As I spent some time inquiring, I realized I could never feel like a “real” author because the idea of being an “author” is fictional! As if turns out, we have, as a society, created a fictional concept of what it means to be an author and absolutely nobody can live up to it because it doesn’t exist.

    A writer simply writes. An author is the person who wrote a story, or created something. There’s nothing more to it than that. When I realized this, it set me free. I just wish everybody else would realize this, too.

  • Pingback: Writer’s doubt | Taylor Grace()

  • Hope McCain

    When I was in the first grade, I wrote in my journal that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. At the time, the idea of being a “writer” meant that it would be my job rather than if I were to become a lawyer or a teacher or a veterinarian, and that I would publish books and be paid to write them. Although making a living off of writing is still a dream, I’ve learned over the years that I AM a writer, whether or not I’m paid to write. I love to tell people I’m a writer, although non-writers still assume that by saying this, I’m indicating it’s my day job.

  • Aummber

    Yes. Always wanted to be, always will be. Whether anyone else likes my writing or not…