Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm a Writer...sort of, well, um...I mean I sometimes, you know...write...stuff

You would think, by now, a year-and-a-half after I dropped everything to 'become' a writer, that it'd be getting easier to call myself one. You would be wrong.

I have a rather menial editorial part-time job at the moment, and yesterday one of the editors asked me to submit some reviews for one of the guidebooks we publish. They need writers, and I'm doing a writing course - no great leap of the imagination there.

'Of course,' I said. 'I'll give it a go.'

Give it a go?
No, I won't 'give it a go', I'll do it, and I'll do a kick-arse job of it, because I'm a writer and I'm pretty good, if I pull my finger out.

But I had to give some wishy-washy answer like, 'I'll give it a go.' All you non-Australian writers out there who have self-doubts: imagine also growing up in a society where the worst social crime is to have tickets on yourself.

Later that day, just before my evening Novel class, I stopped to get a hot chocolate from the French waffle place in Degraves St. I was chatting to the owner, and it came up that I was studying over the road. He asked me what course I was doing, naturally, and I said Writing.

'Oh, you are a writer?' he asked, with great French enthusiasm.
'Um, well I'm trying to be,' said Miss Wishy-washy.
'No, you are. You have to believe in yourself,' he said. 'Good luck with it.'

I don't want to stereotype (but here I go), but it strikes me that the French don't really do self-doubt. Existential angst maybe, but I suspect they don't have an equivalent phrase to 'up yourself'.

I'll be going back to the waffle place regularly, I think.


  1. Three French cheers for the waffle guy. He didn't waffle and neither should you. You. Are. A. Writer. There. (I hate the one word sentence thing but it was called for in this case.)

  2. Thanks KarenG

    I was wondering how to get in a pun about the waffles, and there it is! Lovely.

  3. Oh SF!!!!

    "Zis could be a start of a bee-uutiful friendship, mais no?"

    Oui, oui, oui and thrice oui!

    And all I can say is that if you ever doubt yourself again you know where you can go to get a lovely hot chocolate and even a waffle or two.

    You write therefore you are!


    Take care

  4. I can identify with this. When people ask what I do, I always say "I'm writing" rather than "I'm a writer" because I don't want to put myself way up there with professional writers who, you know, earn money and stuff. But then, isn't the definition of a writer someone who writes?
    French waffle guy is right, you do have to believe in yourself, otherwise how can you convince other people to believe in you?
    I wish I had a waffle-and-confidence-dispensing place here. Sounds like a great combination!

  5. Old Kitty - mais oui! If only my French was more bien.

  6. Hi Helen - there always has to be a qualifier, doesn't there? I'm hoping confidence will come with time.
    But yes, hot chocolate and a pep talk are a valuable combo!