I am (not) a writer (exactly)

My friend Cheryl talked about Jeff Goins. She talked about a book he wrote about writing. She talked about an exercise in that book about deciding you are a writer.
I noted the book and the idea and moved on. A few days later, I saw that the book, You are a writer, was free for my Kindle. So I ordered it. And started to read it. And got to the exercise.
Jeff says, “write down these four words: ‘I am a writer.'” (He says a lot more around that, and you really ought to get this ebook if you are thinking about being a writer, so I’m not going to steal his explanations.) So a bit later, I got one of my journals and got ready to write “I am a writer.”
I couldn’t. I tried, but I realized that I couldn’t say that. I write. But I could not say that I was a writer. So I let the exercise soak for a couple days. If I am not a writer, what am I? I know there are lots of roles and lots of oughts. But I wanted to wrestle this through.
Finally I was ready. I turned back to my notebook and wrote, “I am a teacher.” It was an exhilarating moment. I write because I am a teacher and somewhat introverted. I do lots of things at work, but underlying them is being a teacher.
I did, by the way, go back a few days after that realization and ask, “What do I teach?” Because it’s not enough to teach. There must be content. And I wrote, “I teach people how to obey everything that Jesus commanded.”  It wasn’t until I looked at what I had written that I realized it sounded a lot like an assignment that Jesus gave as he was disappearing (though not leaving) from the disciples.
It is a powerful, freeing, convicting exercise.
Of course, now I have to do it. And maybe you could, too.
Take a pen and paper. And write, “I am a …

If you want to look at the book, here’s an affiliate link: You are a writer

3 thoughts on “I am (not) a writer (exactly)

  1. Rich Dixon

    This is a really cool insight that boils down to “you aren’t (necessarily) what you do, and certainly not what you get paid to do.” Writers teach and teachers write. Preachers do both.

    You’ve helped me take a fresh look at one of my core ideas: Talking isn’t teaching, and listening isn’t learning.

    Now I have to go re-write my bio…


  2. Pingback: Leaving things the same | 300 words a day

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