#iamsubject project – I Am a Writer

I Am a Writer

by Heather Renee

I am a writer. I have forgotten this at times, letting my own insecurities seep in and tell me otherwise. I have avoided reading other writer’s work because I have felt subpar and not as talented. I may have looked at other writers as competition, letting their impressive resumes and educations intimidate me. I never felt as if I was good enough to make it.

I stopped writing for a while to pursue dreams not of my own making. I didn’t care about tort law, criminal law, business law or management, and anything else I started but never finished. I was chasing the almighty dollar and I can’t honestly say that I cared about that. After boredom with yet another major and the dismissal from a dead end job, I started writing again.

Unsteady on my feet I wrote from prompts and read every guide that I could get my hands on. The ideas were endless but I needed some type of guidance. I started blogging and writing short stories. I did some freelance work and some editing. I was receiving positive feedback. My writing life was good but I wanted more.

I happened upon a writing position for a website. It seemed like it was a good home for me, my passion, and my pieces. Looks can be deceiving. I quickly learned what type of environment is not conducive to my creativity.

In a very short period of time I began to question my passion for the written word again.  After one scathing critique, I thought maybe I should just stick to reading and journaling when I found the time. My confidence was shaken. I thought that I had jumped too soon into a pool of sharks that were better at this writing thing than I could ever be.

Even tenured professors, published writers, or the people who contracted me for free-lance work had never been so crass in their criticisms. Everything that I wrote and everything that I said was shot down in those 2 weeks. I sank deeper into a self-loathing regarding my work. Maybe I wasn’t a writer.

I was demoted because even though my pieces had landed me the job and my research and ideas were being used, I was told that I just wasn’t cutting it. I thought about hanging on, toughing it out, reasoning that every writer had to start somewhere. I didn’t like the way these people made me feel. I didn’t like that without knowing me they were trampling my dreams.

I had to remember that nothing made me more of a writer than the decision to put pen to paper, capturing my thoughts and piecing my imagination into stories. My writing samples were good enough to get that job just as they had been to snag my freelance clients prior. A few stories for that project didn’t trump the stacks of notebooks containing years of stories, of thoughts, of talent.

I had to remember my dreams and the goals I had to achieve to get there. Helping someone else with their project wasn’t helping me towards my own fulfillment. I made the decision to step away. The toxicity of my “first” position could not kill everything that I wanted.

I’ve received rejection letters in the past that only slightly tugged at my feelings. The letters were more motivation than anything. They were the push I needed to work harder and to be better. Those rejections made me as proud as any acceptance because they were testament to my courage, a reinforcement of my title.

I am a writer.

Diane DeBella

As a writer, teacher, and speaker Diane has spent over twenty years examining women’s issues. She is the author of the collective memoir *I Am Subject: Sharing Our Truths to Reclaim Our Selves*, and editor of the anthology *I Am Subject Stories: Women Awakening*. As a long-time faculty member at the University of Colorado, she received the CU Women Who Make a Difference Award and the CU-LEAD Alliance Faculty Appreciation Award. Through her organization I Am Subject, Diane helps us understand how we—as women—are impacted by the society in which we live. By claiming ourselves as subjects of our own lives, we become empowered and also provide strong role models for other women and girls. In healing ourselves we help others—a beautiful way for women to create nurturing, supportive communities.

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