I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and goddammit, I can write.

I recently had a conversation with someone who, after learning that I work with WordPress, wanted to pepper me with questions about his blog’s plugins. I told him I’d be happy to chat blogging, but that I didn’t know how helpful I’d be — I’m not a developer, I explained, only a writer. I spend a lot of time moving about in a technological world that is not my home planet, where I’m still a second-language learner, and find myself frequently describing my role that way:

Only a writer.

Those designers, they have artistic talent. They make things beautiful. And those developers, they can crush code. They build new tools that change the world.

Me? Eh, I’m only a writer.

Sometimes, if I’m feeling saucy, I’ll call myself an editor, too. Well, “just an editor.”

Something snapped during that last conversation, and my writerly self let out a writerly yawp. Only a writer? NO MORE. I AM A GODDAMN WRITER. I CAN EDIT THE HELL OUT OF SOME WORDS.

Can most people write? Sure, lots of people can put words together in a grammatically correct arrangement. Are they all writers? No. Writing and editing take talent, and skill, and cultivation. I didn’t get to where I am because I happened to be a warm body who remembers the difference between “its” and “it’s,” I got to where I am because I’m a good writer, and an even better editor.

I make words beautiful. I write things that change the world.

I’m a writer.

I just needed to say that.

PS: Never have the wonderful people I have the pleasure of working with made me feel any less because I’m a writer and editor; if anything, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the level of respect they have for what I do. This is my baggage, and my personal need to yawp.

26 Comments

  1. Very cool post! Loved it. Its funny, just before I saw your post, I was doubting my self (like I have a tendency to sometimes) and suddenly saw your post out of nowhere. The title of your post was almost like an affirmation, “I am good enough, I am smart enough and goddammit, I can write!” AMEN!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought I was going to have to come in here and say, “Just a writer? JUST a writer?!” But I didn’t have to because you wrote the hell out of what I was going to say. You’re my hero 🙂 *swoon*

    Like

  3. We just had a similar conversation in our Product Management group. I want to say there are two things going on … but my analysis might be broad brushstrokes.

    1) I think (some) women (but is this really a gender thing?) often don’t value their skills – they measure themselves against some other standard … and we do ourselves a disservice.

    2.) Sometimes “we” (people in the world at large) buy into what others value (salary – being a developer, a Vice President, CEO, etc.) and we don’t recognize our own great powers. Especially if we are naturally talented at them – and they are easy for us to do …. because “easy” isn’t rewarded … right? It’s perseverance … and hard work and crushing the competition that matter. *sigh* … we are our own enemy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly. As a “pioneering” woman in business, now watching the dynamic as there are usually more than one or two of us in the room, am amazed to see how much everything gets measured to what the “other” is doing, how “they” do it (I’m also black). “We/I” have our own standards to set that the “others” will/are probably benefitting from. Lets celebrate that, what’s my unique contribution! How can I change this game.

      Marilyn Monroe apparently said women measuring themselves against men have no imagination!

      We should start a blogging challenge on just this!

      Like

  4. You are absolutely right and I know exactly how you feel. I’m also a writer that gets regularly dragged into the web design and development world. Think of our advantages, though. We both know the important question is not, “what do I want my website to look like?” The important question is: “what do I want people who visit my website to DO?” That’s a question for the communicators, not the designers. We’re the ones who keep readers on the page. Don’t you forget it!

    Like

  5. Woohoo! I love your rebel yell. Some think they can write since they have the ability to type up an email. Writers create characters, worlds and plots that keep readers, reading. We have our place at WordPress. We are entertainers, connectors, informers…

    Like

  6. Just the other day I was watching America’s got talent and I thought to myself, ‘Now this is one place where writers will not compete.’ Too bad. Writers tend to sway in the background especially when it comes to acknowledgement. I guess it takes brilliant to know brilliant. And since most people in the world aren’t writers AND are not brilliant, so its all right if they don’t end up understanding our superiority;). Who cares as long as we are proud writers! Loved this post. It made me want to boast my heart out which is difficult owing to my penchant for modesty.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I find “just” to be an incredibly offensive word. I’m guilty of saying, “well, I’m just a writer,” but when someone says to me, “well, you’re just a writer” I get all offended and shoutey. None of us are “just” any one thing. Keep owning your words and wordy way. ‘Tis beautiful what you can do with them.

    Like

  8. Amen to that! And as the previous comment says, getting rid of the “just”. We all, no matter who we are, are finding our own better than good enough self!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  9. Indeed! I think it’s easy to feel like you’re “just” a writer because writing (or at least typing) is something most people do every day. The ability to pound a keyboard doesn’t make a person a writer any more than the ability to hold a brush makes a person an artist.

    Like

  10. I have for you three contentions:
    1. Only really good writers ever doubt themselves. The hacks usually have confidence in spades.
    2. You are welcome to read 100 blogs on wordpress and see how many are good. Then do the math on you versus them. It’s 1/101. You’re welcome to be uncomfortable about being even more elite than 1%, but them’s the numbers.
    3. Not all writers are good editors; not all editors are good writers. Those select few who can do both ought yawp.

    Like

  11. Love this. It took me a long time to call myself a writer without my stomach spasming in fear of someone giving me side eye. Like you, it was just my own baggage. It feels good to unpack, doesn’t it?

    Like

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