I’m having a writer’s identity crisis.
I can’t decide what to write.
Social media introduces me to the world as…
Who am I?
Articles, books, and blogs stress how important it is to have a niche. A platform. A brand. How crucial it is keep your “About Me” page updated and create a kick-ass profile. What I write defines who I am.
Cue the freak-out.
I don’t have a niche.
My “About Me” page doesn’t reflect who I am anymore.
My profile? That’s not me.
What type of writing should I focus on? Nonfiction? Fiction? What genre? What am I doing? What’s my blog about? Who am I?
I could just change my profile but I don’t want something hastily written in the midst of a crisis. It’s seen by far too many people who judge you by those 10-20 words. (They do.) And I don’t want to tweak it every week on a whim.
I’ve deleted my profile. I know. You can’t do that. It’s so bloody important to have one. But I don’t. Not right now.
I am officially nobody.
I thought that would send me into a panic but, honestly, it feels…
My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.
Have you ever had a WIC (Writer’s Identity Crisis)? What did you do? How did you find your way? Or did you?
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
Ah, my beloved Emily. She’s always there when I need her.
I know this pain. Have felt this pain. You need to go with your gut and whatever makes u the happiest to write. There’s no point unless you are happy.
For what it’s worth, my about page gets no views. Or at least barely any at all. Xx
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You’re not on your own, Sarah. The polished profile reflects only one facet of the gem of who you are. Everyone sees a different facet anyway, through their own lens.
As to niches and genres… if I ever find out what genre I actually write, I’ll be delighted 😉
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I suppose if you want to sell your stuff, it helps if you can be pigeon-holed. For myself, I’m not aiming for a career – I’ve had a couple of them, now I’m retired. I am doing what I want to do. Mostly, that involves telling lies, some of which rhyme. It also involves taking photographs, some of which have ‘form’. Mostly, though, it involves putting myself, whatever that means, onto the internet. I get a thrill when people like what I do, but most of the pleasure I derive comes from doing it.
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I cannot work out whether I am a comedy writer or a thriller writer. It’s been bugging me for ages. I have stopped over thinking it and am just writing whatever comes out of my mind. Have been a lot happier since I stopped looking for answers.
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And the thing I like doing least of all is updating my profile, because then I have to think about who and what I am…Grrr. Just need to write, not think about stuff like that!
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I think I understand what you mean, Sarah. I’ve thought of changing my profile to reflect more about me love for, and proficiency with, poetry. But when people ask, “have you written other genres?” The answer is inevitably yes. So I would say, much like a major in college, “I am a writer with a concentration in Poetry” It tends to be the format I favor the most…but epic poems, such as the kind I write, are really just stories with no familiar construction of paragraphs or sentence structure.
You could also take the same approach to your work bc while you might have articles here that may not be considered creative writing, your other blog is exclusively that, yes? You could always categorize yourself as a writer here and point others to your creative works on the other blog. 🙂 I hope this helps. Have a great day, Dear #awesomeauthoress #superscrivener #wonderfulwordsmith
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I started my blog saying that it would be eclectic, that way I have a niche and no niche at all… I much prefer blogs that go on about a variety of topics and that do not try to please only one type of reader. Authenticity is probably better than trying to find a group to market to.
Ok, my about page gets a makeover every once in a while, because it starts to bore me, or does not suit me as well…
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I laugh a lot but beneath that I am the invisible man afraid that maybe I do not exist
This post made me smile. You are of course someone and yet as a writer you are more than only “one” someone. It can get a little confusing. Most writers are notoriously bad marketers, so join that club; you won’t be alone. Most of all, be yourself on this amazing creative journey. Breath, relax, create. The rest will come in time.
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After I graduated with a creative writing degree, I went into a nearly 15 year drought when I wrote almost nothing. To extent this attributed directly to a writer’s identity crisis, I would say it was an outcropping of a general identity crisis (the infamous existential crisis), I could just blame my bi-polar and anxiety disorders, but I think their biggest role was just exasperating some facet deeper down inside that already existed. Whatever the dynamics, the result was “I had nothing to say, or at least worth saying.” Just a big blank.
When I did start writing again, it was basically on political blog sites, spurred on by the 2008 presidential election campaigns. My writer’s identity emerged, behind an anonymous user name, as socio-political pundit blogger and commenter. The anonymous identity allowed me to put my writing out there without the anxiety that comes from putting “one’s stuff out there” and open to criticism and ridicule. Because my mood disorders were basically uncontrolled at this time, there wild mood swings in my content — from looking for answers as to how make the world a better place to giving up on the whole corrupt mess and criticizing those who were foolish enough to have some hope, all thrown in with the general locking of horns over political ideologies and policies and opinions.
It has only been this year that I have returned to creative writing after finally getting the appropriate on-going management of my mood disorders in the spring of 2014. Slowly I began to feel sincerely that I did have something to say. Yet, importantly, my attitude was it didn’t matter if it meant anything to anybody else. I was writing for myself, working through the fear-based anxiety of ‘putting myself out there’ in words. And then over time in my mind I went from someone who happens to writes to someone who is among other things a writer, And at the same time, coming out from behind the anonymity of a ‘user name’ (and avatar) and attaching my real identity to my work.
I think back at the beginning of my long drought, I had tried to sculpture an identity of being the writer, someone who wrote writerly things and thought writerly thoughts. While at the same time I shutting down the very facets of being a human that makes a writer a good writer — like being in touch with one’s emotions. I wanted to think of myself (and have others think of me) as a writer, but did not want to engage the actual difficult living of being a writer, which might be better thought of as the unceasing unfolding of becoming a writer.
I hear you, and as much as I am disappointed for you and your dilemma, I am happy for me, as I am feeling the same vulnerability and now don’t feel quite so alone. It is reassuring, for me, to know that one as talented as you, who works so hard as you, also has these moments of self-doubt, of wondering who in the heck you are. I thought it was me. Sometimes it is hard to carrying on being the me I expect me to be. I just want to take a little rest for a while and see who I am when I come back. Emily is good company. We three can all be nobodies together. But you know, for a nobody, you are pretty awesome. So was she. 🙂
Ah, Sarah, identity is such an enigma – which makes it a great topic for fiction, but that’s not much help to you as I’m pretty sure you’re a real! I think lots of us could identify with your difficulty about introducing yourself on social media, as this is something that isn’t the real world we manage through interaction, shaping what we reveal of ourselves through what the other person asks and reveals themselves. Rather as you do on your blog.
Seems you’re not nobody but a woman struggling to define who she is right now. A lifetime’s project for most of us.
I can absolutely relate to anxiety about having to define myself as a certain kind of writer and/or blogger. I kind of love that it feels good for you to delete your profile! Free from judging eyes. If and when you rewrite your bio I would love to read it, but regardless, I always enjoy your words, Sarah.
Sarah, I love hearing the undercurrents of freedom in your post. Keep writing. The rest works itself out. Happy Holidays. xo
I too am a nobody in constant crisis. I think it comes with attaching the word “writer” to yourself. How to solve the dilemma – I have no idea. I’ve always thought that if I could change from being a nobody to a somebody the issue may resolve. However a nobody trying to become a somebody is next to impossible in the writing world. Publishers look at few manuscripts by nobodies (at least in the genre memoir). So how to become a somebody. I thought doing my research masters might take me part of the way (and it may yet do so) but the problem is that now I feel even more like a nobody than I did before. I now not only query my writing but I also query my intelligence. The nobody that I was is now becoming a somebody with a definite odd body complex. I look forward to the day when I can return to being a body I know that is me. Perhaps I too should discard my bio and have the freedom that you are feeling by having doe so. Good luck with your dilemma. Be assured you are not alone and for what it is worth I love reading your work – both the creative and your almost stream of consciousness style thought bubbles.
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Out of the ashes of identity crisis, you will emerge. The blank page of who you are as a writer beckons. Keep growing, keep trying to know who you are…that’s the journey! Happy New Year!
That about page is seriously so tough sometimes. I think it also depends on what you want to get out of it. I use my blog for myself but it’s also for other folks, so I focus on what it can do for them.
I think all writers go through this crisis. I know I have. I’ve decided that I would write what I love to read. I love reading epic fantasy, dark fantasy, horror, thriller . . . so that’s what I write.
I didn’t understand what a “Brand” was, not really, until I watched a couple of episodes of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” (I know, but sometimes inspiration can come from the weirdest places). Kim and her mom and siblings mention their “Brand” continuously, “It’s good for my brand”, “I’m doing it for my brand” . . . Then I realized that they were talking about themselves. They are the “Brand”! All they ever do is be who they are. That was an epiphany for me. You are your own brand, your personality, your writing, your reaction to your writing, the way you treat your readers––it’s all your “Brand”. Things became a lot simpler for me once I understood that. I am my brand and by being myself and writing about the things I love and care about I am building my brand.
Good luck in all things and have a wonderful 2016! ❤
Should have popped by sooner. I could have done with some company in my own crisis! You ARE still a writer, profile or not and what I think I have released myself from all these on-line ‘should haves’. We need to go back to Herbert Marcuse and his theory of ‘One Dimensional Man’ in the 60s/70s to realise the web is generating false needs and desires (along with its great benefits) and there are a loudmouthed bunch of confident types shouting ‘You need to…” & “You’re a failure if you don’t..” and we have to stop listening. It is rubbish. You are not defined as a writer by the number of blog posts or tweets you issue. You are defined as a writer by your eloquent use of the written word.
However, all that philosophising aside: I should have popped by sooner, primarily because I am pissed off to have missed the snow falling on your blog and unjustifiably jealous.
Here’s to more in 2016 xx
Well I care 2 Fs about niches which might explain why I haven’t had a sale in a while lol. I write poetry, young adult stories, novels with vampires and angels, motivational posts, haikus and a bunch of random stuff… but everything that speaks to me.
We are ever evolving and the main thing in life is to respond to our desires… desires which shift more often than we’d like them to.
People will always judge, good or bad. Tweaking on a whim or reactively is not the solution. But tweak you can to cater to who you are. I took two years to change my profile pic. The blog hasn’t had a face lift ever. But again, I always try and do what makes me happy. You’ve taken plenty of decisions to climb Mt St Happy.
As for Writers Identity Crisis, my main crisis is wondering if I matter. If my writing matters. Seeing my receipts for last year, I could live off my writing if my home was a shared hostel and I cleaned dishes for food. I read books I don’t like as much and find thousands of people following said profile. But here’s the thing, the people I interact with and their reactions are part of my required validation. The other part is how I feel about my writing. I think that as long as it has some sort of positive impact, I’m a happy chap. And for the most part I am… but some days. Some days feel like 48 hours of overcast misery… and that’s when I do what comes most naturally… I write.
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