Stop Being an Aspiring Writer

For some reason, I love reading self-help books when I travel. Whenever one of these get-your-shit-together kind of titles pops up I always hesitate to buy them because I don’t want anyone to see me carrying it around (because – embarassing). But there’s something about being in an airport, among the crowds of anonymous faces, that seems to open up space and compel me toward their bright covers.

aspiring writerSuch was the case this last weekend in the Portland airport. The kids and I were coming home from a spring break vacation at my sister’s place and I was drawn to the bright yellow cover of “You Are A Badass.”

Apparently, I AM a Badass

I’ve been curious about the book, but every time I come across it I read the blurb on the back: “…the self-help book for people who desperately want to improve their lives…” and I put it down. I’m not desperate to improve my life. My life is pretty good, actually. So I don’t know what compelled me to buy it this time, but I’m glad I did. The plane sat on the tarmac for three hours before it took off – something about engine trouble – and I finished the whole book in one very long day of travel.

The general theme of the book is that you can change the things in your life that aren’t working like you want them to. You do it by looking really closely at your own relationship to those things.

The Scripts that Play

For instance, the author, Jen Sincero, points out that most of us have really conflicted feelings about money. We hate it, but we want it. We love having it, but it is the root of all evil. She encourages us to look at why we have all these conflicted emotions, and then change the script that runs in our heads. And thus… the affirmations.


The author proposes, and I agree, that the stories we run in our heads influence everything we do. And so, we need to be more intentional about the scripts we let play out. She suggested writing down affirmations, putting them somewhere you see them all day, repeating them in your head all day long as you go about your business.

As I read what she wrote, I was reminded of the time that I decided to take the word “aspiring” out of my description of myself. For years I had been writing, every day, on all kinds of projects, but still when people asked I would say I was an “aspiring” writer. What a bunch of BS. As writers, we know better than anyone how much words matter. So I stopped using that word.

I choked on it the first few times, saying “I’m a writer.” It was hard. But the more I did it, the more people saw me as a writer. The more people saw me as a writer the more I felt like a writer. It was just this wonderful positive feedback cycle.

Get Uncomfortable

That, Sincero says, is one of the most important features of a good affirmation. It needs to make you uncomfortable at first. It needs to feel almost like you’re lying to yourself. Or, if it’s easier, start with the word aspiring, then remove it. For example:

I’m an aspiring writer.
Make it: I’m a writer.


I’m an aspiring best-selling author.
Make it: I’m a best-selling author.

This second one is where I’m at now. That’s the actual affirmation I’m using. Of course, I’m not going to walk around telling people I’m a best-selling author. That would be lying (and frankly delusional), but I AM going to put it on a post-it in my bullet journal, where only I see it, and read it multiple times a day. What harm can it do, really? None. And there’s a chance that, as I reaffirm that idea over and over, I will be motivated to do the work that a best-selling author does, busting my ass every day to make my reality match up with the affirmation.

Wherever you are in your journey as a writer, I would highly recommend taking a look at the stories you tell yourself. For a more guidance, check out Sincero’s book. It’s a quick read, and totally worth the time, even if you’re not stuck on a plane for hours and hours going nowhere.

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6 Responses to Stop Being an Aspiring Writer

  1. Randy Warner April 14, 2018 at 4:46 am #

    Great post! Yes, after years of writing a blog and getting paid for it, I have begun to think of myself as a writer. I’m going to start speaking those words out loud. Thanks for the motivation.

    • April April 23, 2018 at 6:57 am #

      I know it’s hard. Really. But saying those words changes everything. You write. You are a writer!

  2. Jason Bougger April 13, 2018 at 9:58 pm #

    Great post. You have to envision your goals and make them feel real inside your own head. Once you believe in it, every aspect of your being and subconscious will start pulling you toward it.

    • April April 23, 2018 at 6:58 am #

      It’s so true. And I still struggle with it. Doubt is such a constant companion when one is a writer. And it’s so important to stay positive.

  3. Bryan Fagan April 11, 2018 at 3:46 pm #

    Attitude, the right words and being around the right people is huge. All of us are pushing away the bad stuff and desperately searching for the good stuff to work its way in.

    I’ve always thought that the bottom is that you’ve got to want it. Some don’t. Some are happy with their head in the sand. But there are those who have had enough, who are willing to change and in some cases, turn their back on those they thought were their friends.

    I’ll have to check that out.

    Oh, almost forgot… are right about airports. It is a different feeling. A sort of ‘I can be whoever I want’ sort of thing.

    You were in Portland and you didn’t drive down to Eugene!!?? I forgive you. 🙂

    • April April 23, 2018 at 7:01 am #

      I was… and I didn’t. Thank you for your pardon.
      Maybe we should start writing at airports – embrace the anonymity of it all…?

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