As someone that has never written for a publication or written a book, I have a hard time calling myself a writer.
I’ve always thought that having my words published in a newspaper, magazine, website or a book etc. would be the validation that I need to claim the label of writer, yet they are not things I actively pursue.
I think this is because when you do something for the love of it, trying to make it anything more is scary. There is also the fear of not being good enough, of my writing not being good enough for someone else to want to share it with a wider audience.
And part of having fear and being scared has resulted in me not putting myself in a position to receive feedback.
So overtime I have come to realise that the issue is not that I can’t call myself a writer, it’s that I didn’t meet the criteria of what I thought a writer should be. But further to that I am not yet the sort of writer that I aspire to be.
When it comes to labels, they can help people feel like they fit in and belong. Giving something a name can help a person feel more accepted and feel like they understand themselves better.
On the other hand labels can also be limiting. As soon as you declare yourself to be X it comes with preconceived notions and expectations. You then end up grouped in with other people that also label themselves X even though you may be nothing like them.
I recently came across a quote by someone I’d never heard of called Adyashanti:
‘All of these are labels. All of them are fine. There is nothing wrong with any one of them, until you actually believe they’re true. As soon as you believe that a label you’ve put on yourself is true, you’ve limited something that is literally limitless, you’ve limited who you are into nothing more than a thought.‘
It reminded me that labels are totally fine, as long as we don’t give them too much significance.