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I Am What I Am
by Susan Denney
I admire Popeye. He's a man who knows who he is
and what he wants out of life. Even though the height of his aspirations is a
date with a very homely girl, the sailor has goals. He is never afraid to say,
"I am what I am." I think this famous tough guy has an important message for all
writers. We have got to know who we are and what's more, we shouldn't keep it a
When I first started writing, I was a little shy
about saying so. Maybe I was even apologetic. "I'd like to be a writer some
day." "I've sent out a few things." "I've written some things, but I haven't
published anything yet." "I'm not sure I have the talent, but I'm working on
it." Stuff like that was coming out of my mouth on a regular basis. Needless to
say, my writing career was going nowhere. Then, thanks to the encouragement of
my writer's group, I decided that I was a writer whether or not an editor liked
my stuff enough to buy it.
What a difference this made in my life!
Suddenly, I wasn't shy about sending out manuscripts. I'm a writer, aren't I?
Isn't that what writers do? I started setting writing goals. I even started
wearing tee-shirts that proclaim that I am a novelist. There is no rule that
says I have to be a published novelist to wear this tee-shirt. The fact that I
have written one entitles me to wear it.
I have now made it a habit to let people know
that I am a writer. When people ask me what I do for a living, I explain that I
work half-time teaching high school French but that I am also a freelance
writer. I share my experiences with writing with anyone who will listen. When I
do make a sale, I don't keep my excitement a secret.
So what does this have to do with making money?
A lot. This fall, I was talking with a colleague at school and she remembered
that I had said I was a writer. The conversation got very interesting after
that. It seems that she is now working for a company that helps people get their
teacher certification in my state. The company is branching out into continuing
education and she asked me if I might be interested in writing for them. What do
you think I said?
The result is that I am now writing in-service
modules for them. I don't think she would have even mentioned this job to me if
I had not been so open about the fact that I am a writer. I truly believe that
opportunity came knocking at my door because I had put out a nameplate that
said, "A freelance writer lives here."
If you are a writer looking to increase your
income, I recommend that like Popeye, you share this with everyone: "I am what I
am. I am a writer."
I also highly recommend eating your
© Copyright 2005, Susan Denney
Susan Denney is a freelance writer living in Pennsylvania. She has published childrens fiction and nonfiction as well as adult articles
on a variety of topics. Check out her website at www.susandenney.com.
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