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Posted October 9, 2011


Tell the truth. Some of you are out there quaking in your brogans. You want to be a writer, but you're too embarrassed to admit your heart's desire to anyone for fear of ridicule. The only place you've been published is on the whiteboard in your kitchen for upcoming school functions or in the calendar where you've written down root canal appointments.

Receipts are stuck in your car console where snippets of stories have poured forth across coffee stained bank account numbers while waiting in carpool lines. There's a shoebox in your closet next to bunion-building pointy high heels where you've filed all of those chapter paragraphs you haven't had time yet to transfer to a computer. This is because you have a teething baby on your hip and a toddler chimp-hanging on your leg squalling for Popsicles while you're trying to whip up a batch of Hamburger Helper before wifey/hubby walks in and asks, "What's for supper?"

So let me share with you a portion of my story. No offense, but I, too, used to be just like the cowards you are. Not wanting anyone to know I was trying to write, I hid at the top of the bleachers in the nosebleed section during my daughter's volleyball games so no one could see me up there alone. Incognito. Trying to scribble in my tiny 3X4 spiral notebook. I was like an addict trying to hide an addiction.

In winter, I kept the sweater hoodie over my head pretending I was invisible so I wouldn't have to speak with anyone. Until the day one of the other parents climbed to the top of the bleachers. To. Blow. My. Cover.

"Hey Vicki, you know my step-mom was Catherine Marshall."

"Oh, really?" I frantically tried to hide my notebook and scratched my head with the literary pen I held, then twirled. While trying to look nonchalant.

"You know-the author of Christy?"

The title was vaguely familiar. Then I heard the bell.


"Christy? The Christy about the school teacher in the Appalachian Mountains-wait a minute-that Catherine Marshall who also wrote A Man Called Peter about her first husband who had a heart attack…? You have to be kidding me! You used to live in the same house and open presents at Christmas time…and…take out the trash…and…Catherine Marshall…?"

"Yep. Same one. That'd be her."

Boy howdy. Was I ever impressed with this tidbit of information.

But after the impression wore off, I became depressed about my cover being blown. If this person knew I was trying to write, then I hadn't been fooling anyone.


How embarrassing. The only thing I'd published hung on the office door down at the barn. "Keep off ladder," and "You must wear a helmet while riding," and "Muck the manure from your pony's stall!"

Though it was painful at times to admit I was trying to write, I persevered. It wasn't too long after that conversation in the clouds of the gymnasium that I held an acceptance for my first story. Even after that milestone which paid for fast food-if the kids didn't order cheese or pickles on their burgers-I was too timid to admit outright I was a writer because I'd sold only one story.

Then I attended a writers conference and heard Elizabeth Kostova-author of The Historian-speak. After ten years of working on a novel and never really publishing anything, her book made the New York Times Bestseller List. Was she any less a writer during those ten years of laboring over her masterpiece because she hadn't yet published? Of course not.


If you're writing (even on napkins) - you are a writer - claim it.

You're worthy to be called a writer even though you haven't yet sold your masterpiece.

The timing for you isn't right yet - you're only in labor waiting for the epidural - but the birthing will come.

When your ship does sail in and you're dressed to slay as the limo pulls up to the red carpet, I can hear your acceptance speech for best movie now: "And this is a shout out to Vicki Moss who once told me that…yes…I am a writer…and to CLAIM IT! If it hadn't been for her inspiration, I wouldn't be here accepting this award today."

Okay. I don't expect you to say that. But I clean up well so could you at least save me a seat?

If you would like to comment or have questions about this article, email me vmoss@livingwaterfiction.com


Dear Vicki,

Between giggles and half-grins acknowledging I had been there, you are so right! It only takes one person to help make a difference in our writing and encourage that someone. This blog is more special than a self inflicted compliment. "Send it around the world and let them know that Vicki Moss is Queen of the Mountain, wherever she lives." She has what it takes to make one think their writing can make a difference.

Happy writing to all of us struggling writers. Get out of your closets and write.


Irmgard Williams

Thanks Irmgard, I don't know about Queen of the Mountain, perhaps Queen of the Top Row of Bleachers in the Nosebleed Section? Heh-heh! Only because I used to sit up there all by my lonesome! And for sending the article around the world -- the blog has been viewed by people in 68 countries and I had to locate Northern Mariana Islands on the world map. And I just discovered there is a Herzegovina. One thing about it -- writing keeps us on our toes! ~Vicki

I am a writer. I am a writer. ~Mary

Hi Mary -- and yes, if you're actively trying to write and working on your craft, then you are a writer. Claim it! ~Vicki

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