How Labels Can Bring Us Up — Or Down

Winter soltice at the Newgrange stone age passage tomb, Ireland
Winter soltice at the Newgrange stone age passage tomb, Ireland

Happy holidays, everyone! I’m relaxing today before the festivities start tonight.

Last week, in honor of the winter solstice, we debs of The Debutante Ball wrote about are darkest writing days. Inevitably, by Thursday I was racking my brain for a new slant on the weekly topic because my besties on the Ball had already discussed — and very well, I might add — what I’d been thinking about. Sometimes my creative slant works — sometimes I’m stretching it … eh-hem … like the post about my six degrees of separation from J.K. Rowling. Hah! It was fun to write, that’s for sure, but, man, I think that rubberband broke I stretched it so tight.

Last week I got to thinking about writing labels I’ve attached to myself on this journey toward publication …

What’s in a Label? In Our Darkest Hours, Sometimes A Lot

I can tell you the story of my writing life by the labels I used to describe myself when people asked, “So what do you do?”

I can also tell you when I almost quit writing by the labels I used to describe myself.

Labels can be dangerous for sure. We tend to live down to the labels we give ourselves. However, we can live UP to the labels we give ourselves too. There came a point in my writing life — I’d landed my first agent, I’d won a writing grant, I was on a roll — when I realized I was living up to the label “novelist” … PLEASE READ ON

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3 thoughts on “How Labels Can Bring Us Up — Or Down

  1. My darkest day was the day my novel came back from it’s first submission with a rejection letter. It took me a while to get back on the horse, but I eventually saw the rejection as a blessing as I went on to vastly imporve my work. I’m not calling myself a novelist yet but as soon as my book is finally published – new label!

    1. Hi librarylady! Those first rejections are excruuuuciating. I totally understand. After awhile we grow thick skins — or hopefully we do. I still feel the slings and arrows of writerly misfortunes. 🙂

      I invite you to call yourself a novelist now, even if it’s only in your head. Because you are. You wrote a novel. That makes you a novelist. Do musicians not call themselves musicians because they don’t have a record contract? No! Do painters not call themselves painters because they haven’t exhibited? No!

      I don’t see why it should be any different for us novelists!

      Happy holidays!

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