"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What was the Defining Moment in Your Writing Career?

I am a Writer!
a guest post by Stephanie J. Gates

I am a writer. I AM a writer. I am a WRITER.
I write this because it helps me claim what is rightfully mine. I sometimes have difficulty owning the title of writer because somewhere stuck in my head is this definition of a writer as some lofty, unattainable position.

I can only be a writer if I’m famous, or if my profession says that I’m a writer (screenwriter, playwright, speech writer etc.) And I don’t know where this thinking comes from or why it’s been so hard to dislodge it from my brain. Even though I have published pieces, and I’ve taught writing to both adults and children ownership escaped me until now.

Only recently have I moved into the home of the writer; before that I was merely a renter passing through the house but not quite settling into the space. But what’s especially weird is that I’ve lived in this house for as long as I can remember; I just didn’t own it.

My friends and family describe me as a writer, and sometimes it still sounds strange to my ears. My oldest childhood friend can still remember the story I wrote in sixth grade about an upside down world. In eighth grade I took second place in a citywide essay contest. I find writing in everything. I’m always looking, listening for the story, for something to write about. So, I am a writer. I write, rewrite and write again. In my head, on paper, on the computer I am always composing.

I am a writer because it is what I do.

Pen and Prosper scribes, when did you KNOW that you were a writer? Was it with your first byline? Your first paid assignment? Or the moment you felt the inescapable rush of penning your thoughts for public view? Do tell...

Stephanie J. Gates is an educator and freelance writer. Her work has appeared in various online and print publications.
Publishing credits include: Being Single Magazine, N'DIGO, Mahogany Magazine, and Black Eye Peas for the Soul.


  1. I knew I was a writer when I wrote my first short story at age 16. I entered it into a contest for Redbook Magazine but lost. However, when I finished writing my story, I was so proud of myself for such an accomplishment. I hope to feel that way again with my writing.

  2. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 22, 2010 at 2:40 AM


    At 16? Wow, that's pretty cool! Being an author, (whether publicly recognized or not) can definitely be a source of pride and accomplishment. Wishing you more successes in the future! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks to both of you for sharing this! I began to call myself a writer after my writing mentor/ friend advised me to do so. She knew I felt called, and encouraged me along the way. It squeaked out at first, but came more easily over time. Now I say it without reservation or hesitation. For I too, am a writer! :)
    Happy weekend,

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 22, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    Thanks, Karen. Indeed you are!

  5. I think it was when I finished my novel. It was such a labor of love and when it was done I remember thinking...I wrote a freakin' book! *lol* Though I have loved writing since I was a pre-teen it was that moment that sticks in my mind. Thank YOU for writing for us. :)

  6. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 22, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    Hi Emma,

    Welcome back! A novel? How exciting! Thanks for the "thanks" and for dropping by. Always a pleasure. :-)

  7. Hi All,

    Though I have slipped into the title of writer and I'm wearing it, there are does when it still feels big, but I'm working on it. Thanks to each of you that responded to my post. It makes me feel like I'm fitting in. A big thanks to Jennifer who pushes me to not only THINK like a writer, but also to ACT like one.

  8. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 23, 2010 at 12:20 PM


    You are so very welcome!
    You go girrll! And B/T/W/ you made a small
    typo--"does" should say days. :-)