Developing Your Identity as a Writer
Developing Your Identity as a Writer
Developing your identity as a writer is critical if you’re an aspiring author with big book dreams.
On my podcast, Bound + Determined, I talk about getting clarity in many areas before you write your book proposal or book. Becoming absolutely clear about who you are as a person, your sense-of-self, and your identity as a writer is your first step.
And while an exercise in self-reflection can be daunting, it doesn’t have to be. It can be an excellent way to gain clarity and momentum on your book-writing journey.
So, in today’s post, I’ll share why developing your sense of self as an author is essential to writing a successful book proposal and book.
You’ll also learn how I work with my clients to help them feel confident and comfortable in their skin as writers using three questions you can start exploring right now.
First up – what does it mean to have an identity as a writer?
Writing Your Book With an Author’s Sense of Self
Whenever writers talk about a sense of self, they often describe it as “a burning desire” that’s in you or a power you’re ready to unleash.
Coming into your sense of self or identity as an author means embracing the uniqueness that makes you the only one who can write your book and connect with your audience.
This all sounds wonderful, right? It is! And, while there will always be waves of vulnerability, once you’ve tapped into and embodied what makes you the only one who could write your book, you’ll be able to remain on course.
So, the natural next question is: how do you do it?
In the next section, you’ll get the same questions I ask my book-coaching clients as they navigate this critical phase of the book process.
Three Questions You Must Answer
The term ‘strong sense of self’ gets thrown around a lot, but what does it mean for you as an aspiring writer?
As part of my process with book coaching clients, I help them answer this overarching question with absolute certainty by breaking it down into these three:
- What problem are you solving?
- What’s your proposed solution?
- Why are you the one to write this book, and what can the reader learn from you specifically?
While these questions can be eye-opening and instrumental in helping you step into your identity as a writer, they can also bring up self-doubt, comparison, overwhelm, and uncertainty.
Are you nodding your head? You’re not alone! Every author confronts these feelings along the way as they answer the questions.
But they are crucial to helping you find your sense of self because if you don’t, it can make the book process really hard.
In the next section, we’ll examine the obstacles that will likely come up without heightened self-awareness.
The Dangers of Not Developing Your Identity as a Writer
You may think, ‘I’d rather run naked through a lake in the dead of winter than delve deep into myself.’
Trust me when I say from experience the plunge is worth it so you can avoid some serious obstacles.
Starting your book proposal or book without a strong sense of self (solid answers to the three questions above) will likely mean:
- You’ll have to change direction many times.
You’ll start out with an idea, and as you expend valuable time, energy and creative brilliance, you’ll likely discover you have to go back and start again.
- You’ll be disconnected from what people actually want from you, and that lack of assurance will be palpable on the page.
The three questions above are intentional based on what I know works with authors. Often first-time authors get caught up in their ideas and misread or misunderstand what their reader wants and needs.
- Agents and publishers will swiftly identify a lack of self or a strong voice. It’ll be harder to cut through the competitive landscape if you’re not certain what makes you different.
These reasons alone may be enough to light a fire under your tush to hunker down to self-reflect.
But, answering these questions will reveal other potential roadblocks to your publishing success, and surprise, surprise, they may lie deep within you.
Writing for the world, not just for yourself
The truth is that many people come to the book process too soon or for reasons that don’t bode well for a marketable book.
There are a million reasons why you feel called to write your book. But it’s important to remember that a book for you is different from a book for the world.
Sure, personal stories will sprinkle into almost any book you write, but if you’re writing to heal a personal wound or trying to work through the healing process with a book, it likely won’t serve the audience as you intend.
This may come as a jarring statement, but it comes with love.
Yes, many books on the market focus on healing, but the authors wrote those books after the wounds turned to scars and the lessons emerged.
In other words, they took their time to become the author they were meant to be.
I refer to this process as your “special sauce.” You develop a strong sense of self by healing through the wounds and finding the power and purpose in your lived experience.
Only then do you share it with your target reader, drawing on all these components – your healing, expertise, personal stories, frameworks, knowledge, and solutions.
Want to dive deeper into the topic of sense of self? Listen to Episode 37 of Bound + Determined where author Kristen Boice, MA, LMFT, discusses how to improve your self-worth, create possibilities and develop a sense of inner peace.
In sum – Developing Your Identity as a Writer
In this post, you’ve learned why a strong sense of self is essential for aspiring writers.
Who you are as a writer and how you show up in your book will make or break your chances of success.
As a book coach, I can’t help determine who you are, but when the timing is right, I can help you take the certainty of who you are and come up with a strategy.
One doesn’t work without the other, though. As my book coaching client and published author Vasavi Kumar (Say It Out Loud) says, “strategy without a sense of self is pointless.”
Because here’s the thing: The power of what you have to offer is what will make your book stand out, BUT you won’t know that power unless you know yourself.
If you’d like my help and more direction on answering the three sense of self questions I raised here or any other aspect of your book journey, click here to learn how I can help.
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