Myth #1: Only Writers Know Writing

Simple Definition of expertise

  • : special skill or knowledge : the skill or knowledge an expert has

Simple Definition of writer

  • : someone whose work is to write books, poems, stories, etc.

  • : someone who has written something

There is a warmth and joy that accompanies a feeling of belonging, being part of a group of like-minded individuals who share a common passion or goal; a feeling of “specialness,” that elevates self-confidence. When I was invited to join Mysteristas, I was immeasurably excited. I’d been interacting with the group for a while on Twitter, and found the exchanges to be thoughtful and fun. Being part of such a lively group of people with a shared passion for mysteries was incredible. To become part of those who were moderating, leading, and initiating conversations? Wow. I floated for days.

However, not long after I accepted the invitation, the glow began to wear off and the worry bullies arrived. I fell into the pit of self-doubt: I’m not worthy, they’re going to regret this, I’ll never be able to measure up, etc. What could I, little ole me, possibly contribute to this amazing group of women?  Oy.

I’m still thrilled beyond measure to be a part of this group, and I love how I’m constantly learning from the other Mysteristas and our lovely fans. Our discussions challenge me to think in new ways, consider new perspectives, and move outside my comfort zone. I love it! But, I also still battle the myth that only writers, published successful writers, have meaningful things to say about writing. I know it’s not true, really; there’s no pre-requisite level of expertise required to have an opinion!

And yet, there are days where I wallow over drafting a post that I hope readers and writers will find interesting, meaningful, entertaining, and worthy of their time (no pressure at all), and have to beat back the worry bullies who keep reminding me that not only have I not published a novel yet, I haven’t even finished writing one! Not one completed novel, written by me, sits in the drawer or under the bed or in a closet somewhere gathering dust.

And yet, I write. I write often (1554 words yesterday morning, while I chilled at the bookstore!). I read as much as time allows (or as much as I can while forgoing sleep), and I have a lot to say about writing that I read, and writing that I produce. Because at the end of the day, I know what I enjoy reading, what I’m inspired to write, and those things alone mean I have something to say. As I reviewed the definitions at the beginning of the post, I fell in love with the number two definition of writer: someone who has written something. Yes! That’s me. I’m a writer. But, even if I wasn’t, I’d still have something to say about writing, and that’s okay, too.

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Author: Pamela A. Oberg

Pamela is a portfolio manager at an educational assessment company by day, writer by night. Founder of Writers on Words (a discussion and critique group), Pamela enjoys spinning tales of murder and mayhem, with an occasional foray into the world of the paranormal.

10 thoughts on “Myth #1: Only Writers Know Writing”

  1. Oh Pamela! I can relate! There are days when I wonder if I’ll get that emails saying, “You know what, we’ve reconsidered.” But I love reading your posts and you absolutely have a lot to contribute. Keep on keeping on!~

  2. I agree with you 100%, Pamela! Writers at every level have something important and meaningful to share. And, for the record, I always enjoy reading your posts! 😉

  3. Everyone has something to say, otherwise why write? Writing gives us practice in learning how to say it better.

  4. I worry a lot about being exposed for a fraud. At some point in each manuscript I wonder what I was thinking. Me? Write something worth reading?

    Self-doubt at some point has become part of the process.

    I can’t wait to share some cyber-champagne with you when you finish your first draft!

  5. Pamela, You are awesome. So what if you don’t have anything gathering dust under your bed. I wish I didn’t have so many. I’d pour you a glass of wine if I could. I think Keenan is right about the imposter syndrome. I’d never heard of it, but I’m pretty sure I’m suffering from it, too.

    Btw, your post is awesome. So honest and well written. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. Aw, you ladies are wonderful! Thanks for the kind words. (Mary, I giggled at your comment, as I remember one day about a year ago when Cynthia sent an email and I couldn’t see the subject line on my phone, and I was convinced she was writing to tell me I was being replaced. It was a very strange day, to be sure!)

    Keenan, Imposter Syndrome? Yes, that’s pretty well-named. But, I love the stats!

    Kimberly, I agree! Expert author? What would that look like?

  7. Oh Pamela, you are a writer. A wonderful writer. I look forward to your posts, you have so much to offer this group, and the writer world in general. I know reading your posts often makes me feel humble.

    A quick story, we all know I have a hard time saying, “Hello” quick, but I’m gonna try. When I was at Writer’s Police Academy Lisa Gardiner was one of the visiting writers. We all know Lisa, she writes a million amazing series. At the Q&A one of the writers in the audience asked how she (the writer, not Lisa) could ask questions of the local police, FBI, etc. Lisa shot back something along the lines of, you mean how could you ask because you’re not a writer? The writer responded that she hadn’t published anything. Lisa told her, “So what, if you write, you are a writer. You call them, say you are a writer and you have questions because you want authenticity.Being published does not make you a writer. You make you a writer.

    I think we all felt a lot better about ourselves after that.

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