Are you a writer? – Lucie Wheeler

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By Lucie Wheeler

It has taken me ten years to be able to say that I am a writer. Ten years to get to the point where I feel validated as a writer. But really, should it have taken me this long to realise?

When you write, it feels like the equivalent of putting a piece of your soul onto paper for all to see. You finally get the words out onto the page. But then you have to actually let someone else read it and that’s when the fear begins to seep in. Because these people have the power to destroy your self-belief, self-confidence and worth, all in just one sentence – ‘I didn’t like it’.

I spent years writing stories and whenever people asked me what I did, I would always say I am a full time mum. Never mind that I loved to write stories, surely they would think I was silly if I told them? So it stayed my little secret. Then as time went on, I told my close friends and family. But still, it was just something silly that I did – it had no real purpose.

Fast forward a few years and I finally took the plunge to do a novel writing course. But still, I wasn’t a writer. I was a student, learning to write. I wasn’t qualified enough to be a ‘proper writer’. A year later and I passed the course and gain a certificate that tells me I have a qualification in novel writing.

Now did I call myself a writer? Nope.

I joined the Romantic Novelists Association (RNA) the following year and met lots of other writers. I went to events and workshops and conferences, all the time networking with writers and agents and editors… and all the time avoiding the question, ‘are you a writer’, and when I couldn’t avoid it, answering with a ‘well, not a proper writer, but I’m trying.’

You see, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to categorising ourselves into this bracket because we get carried away with the vision that authors and writers are those who have books on the shelves and agents by their side. But this isn’t the case and I wish someone had had this talk with me when I was feeling like this. Because the truth of the matter is, we are writers. We create stories, we build characters and we invent a whole world and encapsulate them all inside the pages of a novel.

Our words heal people. Our words make people laugh. Our words create bridges between those who may not have any other way of communicating. Our words teach people things and our words make people fall in love. And that’s what you have to remember if you want to be a writer.

Do you write things down? Do you create in your mind? Do you feel it from inside your heart?

Because regardless of whether that story is on the supermarket shelf or in the walls of your imagination, if you feel it inside your heart, you are a writer.

Lucie Wheeler lives in Essex with her husband, daughter and their English Bull Terrier, Dame, who loves to sit under her desk as she writes and keep her feet warm. Never one to sit still, she always has lots going on in her life at any one time. Currently, she is writing her novels alongside studying for a degree at Anglia Ruskin University and volunteering at her local special needs school. In 2013, Lucie won a New Talent Award at The Festival of Romance and is now represented by literary agent, Kate Nash. Her debut novel, The First Time Mums’ Club, is available as an ebook now.

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