Is Writing Something You Do or Something You Are?

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Identity.

“Is writing something you do or something you are?” The question’s an interesting one, and my answer may be at odds with the majority. Writing is something I do. While it’s extremely important to me and I love it, it isn’t who I am.

I mark the difference because finding my identity in writing is not a safe place to be. I’m more apt to respond incorrectly to criticism. I’m more likely to trust in my own abilities rather than the One who gave them to me. I would treasure the talent more than the Giver.

That I must not do. My ability to write is a gift. The fact that I write “fast” is due to being given that gift and my working to improve it. I have a responsibility to exercise the gift and to be faithful with it just as I must be responsible with the other gifts and blessings I’m given.

The moment I start to hold onto those things and to say they’re “mine” is the moment I begin to lose them. I become fearful that the gift will disappear. My security becomes tied to it and it alone. I worry that a failed piece of writing equals a failure in who I am as a person. I start to question why anybody would ever hire or employ me.

No, to be confident as a writer I have to let go of the writer label. I have to find my identity in who I am in Christ and in no other thing. In Him, I am perfectly loved. I don’t have to be afraid or worry about being abandoned. When I rest in Him, I’m able to let go of the gifts and see them and me become the things they were always meant to be, the things they could only become by offering them to the One who gave them to me in the first place.

Image: Leland Francisco (Creative Commons)

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Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is the director of editorial services at Tenacity5 Media and the founder of Write Right. She's a copywriter, editor, poet, and artist. You can find Erin on .

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5 comments
3HatsComm
3HatsComm

I write for me, I have hobby stuff I write that no one reads and I don't care. I write for work b/c it's what I do and if I could, I'd write all the time. Sometimes it's good - I send friends crazy long email rambles that amuse and entertain, keeps us more in touch. Sometimes it's bad - I've been known to type like a crazy person, a rant email to a boss or manager or colleague that maybe shoulda been a little less wordy and official, as what's written down has that kind of influence, can't ever be taken back. 


IDK about the label. Sometimes I'll come up with a clever quip and everyone looks at me funny and I'm like, 'duh, writer!' Other times I struggle - to find time, the inspiration, the words, the point. It's me, it's what I do but it's not all that I am if that makes any sense. FWIW. 

Erin F.
Erin F. moderator

@3HatsComm It does make sense.


I think labels help for the sake of clarity, especially when faced with popular networking question "What do you do?". 

3HatsComm
3HatsComm

@Erin F. THIS! which is why I've stopped with the job/sales pitch at networking meetings and usually quip - "travel, drink wine, nap when I can." It's a good ice breaker and a better way to stand out when everyone is looking for or being looked at for a job or a lead. 


Plus I don't like that 'what I do' – and the perceived success or failure of such – that it defines me; it doesn't. I'm smart and good at what I do, even if I've always struggled ya know? And those struggles or lack of success don't make me any less smart or talented, less capable of doing the really big job. At least that's what I'm telling myself as I go after some positions that on paper at least seem out of my league. Now to convince those doing the hiring. Whew, that was a lot. ;-) 

Erin F.
Erin F. moderator

@3HatsComm Oh, and good luck with the challenging pursuits!

Erin F.
Erin F. moderator

@3HatsComm I just avoid going to those type of networking events. Everybody's there to make a sale or pitch of some kind. I prefer the "nontraditional" networking events. People are actually there to make connections and to help one another.

The "what do you do" may keep things neat and tidy, but people aren't neat and tidy, and they certainly can't be summed up in a job description.

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  1. […] but you mustn’t let it determine how you act or be some sort of final word on who you are. You are more than your work. By looking at yourself with some humor, you can deflect criticism’s […]

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