Tips By Mary Jaksch Hands up if you mumbled something like, “Well, I suppose I am, but…” or even, “I couldn’t really call myself a writer, because…” I admit, it’s taken me a long time to say, “I’m a writer.” Even after my first book Learn to Love was published and translated into many languages, I still couldn’t say these four simple words, “I am a Writer”. Why? Because I’m nothing like the writers I look up to. I thought of them as, well, WRITERS. And I thought of myself as a writer. Like, someone who writes a bit but isn’t the real deal. Is this thought pattern familiar? It all changed one day when I was having a conversation with my friend Steffie who was eight years old at the time. She asked me, “What’s a writer?” I answered, “A writer writes.” Later I realized that I had given myself the answer I was looking for. Because being a writer doesn’t mean being outstanding, fantastic, or deserving of the Pulitzer. It means that you write. For a while, I stuck notices up in every room of my home saying: “A writer writes!” Now I’m cool with that, and love it when someone asks me what I do. I immediately say, “I’m a writer!” I find that this simple saying is a great motivator. When I’m in a bus, or at the hairdresser, or at any other ‘inbetween’ time, I remind myself of the action that makes me what I am: “A writer writes.” I whip out my notebook and start writing. Try this mantra and see what happens! What about you? Are you a writer? If you can’t answer with a clear ‘yes’, what are your barriers?