When Can You Call Yourself a Writer or Artist—Comfortably?

by | Creating | 7 comments

“The artist finds a greater pleasure in painting than in having completed the picture.” — Lucius Seneca.


by veggiegretz

by veggiegretz

Do you dream of people buying your art masterpieces or reading your bestseller or attending your sold-out performance? Or do you picture the Most Creative Teacher of the Year Award resting on your mantle?

You’ve purchased the beret and the smock or the getup of your craft. You look marvelous. Then it comes time to study the craft. You realize it encompasses so much than you thought. Maybe God hasn’t called you to the craft.

Don’t get discouraged. Your desire may need to mature a bit. It did for me.

You’ll know you’re on the right track: 

  1. When you connect to everything you do through the perspective of your craft.
by vilhelm

by vilhelm

I’m a writer. My husband looks at the price and functionality in buying a tractor for our garden. I look at its seat and visualize my grandsons riding on Grandpa’s lap. I imagine their smiles and excitement. I picture them telling their children stories about Grandpa taking them for tractor rides. I see everything through story.

An artist told me her artist’s eye never shuts down. While she reads a novel, she sees paintings.

A creative preschool teacher looks at a toilet paper roll and pictures hundreds of uses for it as a craft or a learning tool.

  1. When you care less and less about fame-filled success.


I want my novels to sell, yes, but am I seeking fame as a bestselling author? No. I just want to write stories that will touch others as the stories have touched me. Through my relationship with God, I believe this is where I should be.

Two artists told me how the economy has made it tough for them. For one, it’s few people signing up for her art classes. For the other, it’s few sales. In their success slumps, did they quit offering art classes or stop painting? No.

  1. When you jump on opportunities to learn something new about your craft.


You actually practice what you learn from conferences and workshops you attend. Your bookshelf lined with books on your craft has expanded to two shelves. And you’ve read the books.

You spend time perusing the works of your betters, soaking in how they create something marvelous. You no longer care about looking marvelous.


  • Call yourself a writer or an artist when you view the world through your craft’s perspective.
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  • Call yourself a writer or an artist when you care more about the craft than the fame.
    click to tweet
  • Call yourself a writer or an artist when you dig deep into learning your craft.
    click to tweet

What made you comfortable to call yourself a writer or artist?

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  1. Jane Foard Thompson

    Determining that it’s my calling, even if success is only defined, right now, by keeping on track with my writing goals. Like you, I see everything through story, from snippets of conversation overheard in a restaurant to a line in a sermon — the story lines are always running! Being a writer means I use that bent to actually create stories with words and get them typed up. It doesn’t mean simply spinning ideas (including worrying into the future and all the other ways a story mind can made a miserable mind).

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Yes, Jane, when we care about the craft, we are actually doing it. Thanks for making that clearer.

  2. Bonnie Winters

    For me, I became comfortable calling myself a writer when I was able to look at myself and see what God sees in me. As a young person, He began to show me what gifts and talents He gave me and to bend my life toward a future work with words. As an adult, He has provided experiences, and opportunities to learn the writing craft. He brought people across my path to mentor and encourage me.in my writing. Then He brought people across my path so I could share what I’d learned with them which bolstered my confidence as a writer. Even now, He is providing new insights,,new opportunities to learn more about writing and new people to help me on this path as a writer. Because God sees me as a writer, I am comfortable and confident to call myself a writer.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Well said, Bonnie. Thanks for sharing.

  3. nakeliwalters

    Great post! It’s been very hard for me to call myself a writer. There’s no degree hanging on my wall. I don’t even have a completed manuscript yet. But when I wake up in the morning I think about writing. When I read the headlines I think of story. When I watch the news I see the story. And now even when I read a book my writer’s mind is captivated by the author’s creation of character, setting, and plot to the point that I often need to read the book a second or third time to enjoy it as a reader would-and sometimes not even then :). God has called me to write because I believe he is calling me to obedience. What happens after I type, “The End” is up to Him. And because He has called me to write, who am I to not call myself a writer?

    This was an encouraging post and I will be sharing with all of my writer friends!

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Natalie, another great comment. Sometimes we think we need credential, when we simply need the passion. The credentials will come in time.

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