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Peel Off the Labels to Give Yourself Space

The labels you’re given, or that you learn to apply to yourself, can hold you back.

Limit your sense of what is possible.

Peeling off those labels, and replacing them with words that create space, opportunity, and possibility can be a powerful thing.

Glenda Watson Hyatt writes about this in a post on the way that words can shape our reality.

Glenda has cerebral palsy.  When she was younger she was labelled as functionally non-verbal.

Now, through a remarkable journey, she is delivering presentations and addressing audiences all over the world.  And she is ordering new business cards asserting her new role as blogger, author, speaker.

I do sometimes wonder if positive labels can hold you back too though - or perhaps it’s just the way we resist their implications.

“Writer” is one of those words that comes with all sorts of connotations.  It’s laden with values and beliefs about what makes a writer, the kind of things they do, say, and practice, and, in most cases, how they’re different from the rest of us.

I found myself having a version of this conversation the other day, with someone who was resisting calling herself “a writer”.

We talked about the possibility of constructing what she did another way, minus the label.  So it was around being creative with words, images, photos and stories, in order to make a powerful connection.

That seemed lighter, freer and easier than the weight of the writer-word. As the day wore on, I realised how much this applied to me too, and how much I was itching to peel off the label of ‘writer’.

I don’t, generally, call myself a writer, because I honestly don’t think of myself as such.  Just ‘someone who writes’.

At the behest of a teacher I’ve been trying to adjust that mindset recently, practicing saying “I’m a writer” and “A writer is someone who writes”… the latter version to try and get me past rampant procrastination that I’m coming up with to avoid the act of writing.

Because the thing is, the more I’ve been trying to apply the label of “writer”, the less I’ve been writing.

The less my words have been resonating.  And the less fun I’ve been having.

When I sit down to write things - not blogs, because I do that almost effortlessly now, besides I don’t really think of it as writing… which is perhaps another issue to be explored… when I sit down and write things I find my inner critic having a field day.

“I thought you said you were a writer,” he sneers.  “Surely a writer would know what they were doing.  I’d think a ‘writer’ would be able to come up with something better than that.”

And so I head off.  Put my pen down again, and go away and do other things.

So what if applied some of my own medicine and tried something like this.

What if I took off a label that was making me feel stuck, and replaced it with something like this:

I’m not a writer.  I’m someone who uses words to try and change the way people think about themselves. About their writing, their stories, their lives.  And that includes her own.

With that different permission slip, the sense of burden starts to feel away.

I already feel the urge to sit down, to type, to talk to you.  To say: this is how it is for me, is it like that for you too?

Taking away the label creates the room to experiment, to try things out, and to play.  It takes away some of the inner critic’s most effective fire-power. And it allows the words, once more, to flow.

~~~

I’m interested in your experience of this one… Do you find that applying the label of ‘writer’ adds to or diminishes your sense of freedom, possibility and creativity?

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Comments

  1. B says:

    I defintely feel like this. Can you call yourself a writer if you only write in your spare time? This is not my job, so I don’t feel I can call myself one. Of course, when it comes to other people I don’t think they are defined by their job, I only apply this limitation to myself. Why do we do this?

    Bs last blog post..Behind a veil

  2. Joely Black (@TheCharmQuark on Twitter) says:

    I feel rather odd about this one. I’ve been writing fiction since I was a very young child, so the issues with labels have never really seemed that pertinent. I occasionally wonder what all the fuss is about, but that stems, I think, from not really associating with labels at all, in any way.

    It might also be because I write all the time, and always have done, I don’t see it as something I need to attach a label to. Some of the work I do with clients involves them letting go of the label writer and just getting on with it.

    Joely Black (@TheCharmQuark on Twitter)s last blog post..The silence underneath

  3. Ulla Hennig
    Twitter: ullahe
    says:

    Joanna,
    your blog is called “Confident writing”, you also write at “Absorbing Writing”, you do “Coaching for Blog Writers”, and by doing all that you shouldn’t allow yourself to call yourself “writer”? What else? “Somebody who writes?” I understand your intention, to make yourself free of a certain label, but I am not sure whether I like the idea so much…

    Ulla Hennigs last blog post..Breathing Space

  4. Ruth Belena says:

    I think many people think “writer” = novelist or published author. I do think anyone who writes can be called a writer. There are many different sorts of writing, so I call myself a “Web writer”.

  5. Robert Hruzek says:

    There was an interesting conversation the other day about the labels “writer” vs. “author” that shed some light on it for me.

    I started blogging a while back, but until I took the “writer” label for myself, it was just dabbling, with no direction or even real purpose. Upon acknowledging the “writer” label, however, it freed me in ways not possible otherwise.

    But “author”, I think, is most appropriate to one who publishes a book. At least, that how the conversation came out, anyway. Your results may vary. In the meantime, I use the “writer” label for myself because it empowers me to do what I do - spare time or not. “A writer writes” is true, to me!

    Robert Hruzeks last blog post..Could It Mark the End of Life as We Know It?

  6. Brad Shorr says:

    Joanna, I’ve never given much thought to labels as people apply them to me. Some folks need to stick a label on you; it enables them to make sense of what you do. Other folks resist applying labels - they want to size you up from the ground up. If some people want or need to pigeonhole me, fine. If not, that’s fine, too! As relationships grow, the labels become less and less important anyway.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Thank You, Word Sell Commenters

  7. Rick Mahn says:

    Joanna,
    I’ve found the use of self-applied labels to limit what I do as well. While I agree with Brad on not letting what others label me as influence me greatly, I do find I’m limiting myself.

    The past year I’ve correctly or incorrectly labeled myself as a writer, and feel like I’m cheating because I don’t write as often as I could. I suppose in my case it all comes down to mental gymnastics on self image, but where the label “writer” motivates Robert above, it seems to hinder myself.

    In short, I think too much about it. ;)

    My take away from this great though is that I need to think in terms of what I do, and what I offer, rather than what I am.

    Regards,
    Rick

    Rick Mahns last blog post..The ‘Un’ Sell

  8. Lori -- SpaceAgeSage says:

    Ever since I read “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within” by Natalie Goldberg, I know that I’m a writer down to the marrow of my bones. My productivity at writing does not matter, because I still see the world as a writer. It is the same with the martial arts. I may not be training or teaching karate right now, but my worldview always filters through my disciplined, inner Peaceful Warrior.

  9. Janice Cartier says:

    Joanna,
    As I sit here I am shaking my head and smiling… yes, read today’s post…LOL…we’ve done it again…in a slightly different way, but the thing is this, whatever name we call it, ( or map we use) it is the doing it that is important and the doing it takes many forms: words, pictures, thinking , speaking…questioning…pausing… taking it apart , putting it together, sharing it, perfect, imperfect…The thing is engagement and exploring, then expressing and connecting…there are so many names for it , it really doesn’t matter which one we use at the time…let it breathe and be…giving it a name or a label?….Maybe ” Joanna” is quite perfect enough.

    Writer, one who writes, for other people that gets the point across, but you, you know there is so much more to it. And those are the parts that make the writing part come to life.

    Janice Cartiers last blog post..Like a Well Worn Map

  10. Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome says:

    I do a whole bunch of things, one of which is writing. Yes I’m a writer and an author, but I’m also a million other things. After my Library Science degree I didn’t work for libraries because I can see too many labels and options - it all depends on how you look at something.

    So depending on how I look at myself (or how others look at me) I could be any number of things (both good and bad ;) )

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndromes last blog post..7 Little Somedays You Didn’t Know About Me

  11. Matt Hayward says:

    A nice, thought-provoking post, Joanna. I’m really enjoying this blog more and more with each new post that you write put out to the world. ( :P )

    I will admit that I do label myself as a writer. At the same time though, I can easily relate with the motivation that gives to one’s inner-critic: I think I suffer from the same problem you do when I sit down to write…

    It is certainly a stumbling block at times, and while I agree with Brad that labels aren’t really that important, they can affect us on a sub-conscious level in ways that aren’t always to our benefit.

    Matt

  12. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    B I think the employment / job thing has something to do with it - perhaps with the way we interpret the word. And probably different interpretations for each of us - mine has something to do with not writing fiction for example. The other thing to wonder is whether the reactions serve us or not. If not calling yourself a writer limits your ambition, or limits what you do.. apply the label and call yourself that and see what happens ;-) If you write better without it, stick with that…

    Joely I think if writing is so fundamental to your being you wouldn’t need to stop and wonder about the label, because it’s just something you do. I’m glad you understand what I’m going on about from the work you do with clients though… I think it’s really matter of finding what works for you

    Ulla thanks for challenging me on this :-) I appreciate your honesty so much. I’m not trying to limit myself here, really the opposite… what I’m interested in most is helping other people to write, so I guess I’d call myself more of a teacher or a coach than a writer, because getting the words right for those roles is much more important for me. Of course I do also love playing with words, often just for myself, but I find it easier and freeing to think of that as ‘writing’ rather than being a writer.

    Ruth I agree it’s the connotations that get in the way - interesting that they apply to the noun, but not to the verb… “Web writer” is nice… I could probably live with that version myself ;-)

  13. Shari Smothers says:

    Joanna, thanks for another great post. I fall on the side of labels limiting my creativity, sort of. I tend to venerate writers. So when I give myself the mantle, I find it weighs me down with expectations that my inner critic tells me I can’t meet.

    It’s always a pleasure to read your blog. And this is yet another post that seems to speak directly to me in very good ways.

    Shari

    Shari Smotherss last blog post..national poetry month 2009

  14. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Robert I saw George’s article flash past - I think that is the one you mean - but didn’t have time to join in… plus as someone who doesn’t consider herself a writer or author maybe it went over my head ;-) Your perspective is fascinating - it’s like the reverse of what I’m describing, that moving and growing into “writer” was liberating for you. That’s brilliant. I think my conclusion is… we just need to keep on doing what works for us in terms of that creativity, empowerment, enjoyment… and yes, writing ;-)

    Brad I’m pretty sure you defy classification, other than perhaps as a Renaissance Man :-)

    Rick great to hear from you, and thanks for that perspective. It sounds like your perspective is similar to mine, and with a similar conclusion - focus on what you do and what you offer, rather than trying to put yourself in a certain box.

  15. Bill Welter says:

    Karen,
    You posed a very interesting question when asking to consider whether being a “writer” or a “non-writer” is more empowering. I’ve written four books (one still sitting in a drawer, one published by a “real” publisher, one self-published, and one waiting for my publisher to get the nerve to print it in this down-market) and it took me a long while to think of myself as a writer. However, after MANY years of feeling like a wanna-be I found that describing myself as a writer is pretty liberating. I like the title and I’m sticking with it!
    Bill

  16. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Lori I’m so smiling as I read this, because reading Natalie Goldberg is the surest fire way I know to get myself writing again. She speaks directly to me too. I see what you mean about the world view… there’s a post coming up on Friday about living the life poetic which is in a similar vein - it’s not so much what you produce, but how you see / filter things. I’m probably with you on that.

    Janice now I’ve had time to read your post, and yes, I’m shaking my head and smiling too :-) Taking it apart and putting it together, engagement and exploring, having the courage to cut it all up and see what it means… yes. Thanks for giving me a wee bit extra courage today Janice

    Alex I think you’re pretty smart at resisting labels and focusing on creating the kind of life you want to live. Including being a writer, plus any other roles you want to pick up and put down as it suits you. Lots for us to learn there…

  17. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Matt what a lovely use of strike through, thank you :-) There’s no need for admission or confession - I think it’s an empowering label for many people, and I often encourage others to use it, or to stop denying that’s who they are (yes, pots and kettles). The problem is probably as you say mainly with my inner critic, who, as I’ve shared many times before, has a particularly mean streak…

    Shari that sounds very much like the way it is for me too. We seem to be on the same wavelength… Great creative minds think alike, no? :-)

    Bill hi :-) Although there are a lot of Karens who comment here, I don’t think they’re in this comment chain, so I’m guessing you’re writing back to me ;-) I’m not sure I’d make the choice as stark as writer / non-writer… I wouldn’t call myself a non-writer (that sounds so painful!)… just the softer version of ‘someone who writes’. Thanks for sharing your own writing, publishing and authoring experience. I’m delighted that you’re now walking tall as a writer, and proud to wear the label.

  18. Glenda Watson Hyatt says:

    Joanna, reading your post, several thoughts about labels and how we define ourselves are now flying at me. But the loudest thought at the moment is deals with your question about whether or not you’re writer. Perhaps it comes down to how you defeat ‘writer”. Is it an idyllic definition? Or is it realistic? Does it include the agonizing, procrastinating, isolating aspects of writing?

    Just a thought.

    Thanks for the mention!

    Glenda Watson Hyatts last blog post..You are Cuter Than GPS

  19. Davina says:

    Hi Joanna. I couldn’t read this post fast enough. Yes, I call myself a writer but when I make that statement I do feel odd.

    Writer is a label I agree. It depends on which perspective a person is looking at it from. There’s the “doing” as the writer and the “being” as the writer. The “doing” is the act of writing — to me, a more contained action with certain expectations. The “being” is the free flowing creative aspect of writing, where the writer’s unique voice is expressed.

    I believe it is important to remove the label and define yourself as a writer. When people hear you are a writer, they will interpret it in their own way despite what you believe anyway. Maybe saying “I write” instead of “I’m a writer” would make a difference? I haven’t tried that yet. I’m a writer… it really is defining isn’t it? You are more than a writer…

    Davinas last blog post..Morning Muse — Flock of Thoughts

  20. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Glenda hello, and thanks for being one of the inspirations for this post… it got me thinking about words, labels, and moving into the space that gives us maximum freedom andn room to grow. I think my definition does include those procrastinating and isolating bit… but you’re question has me wondering about the bits it excludes, which I think might be playfulness, experimenting, teasing, fun… Good question. Will keep pondering :-)

    Davina I like that distinction between the being and the doing… though for me the verb ‘writing’ doesn’t have the same problems as the dratted noun does. The declarative “I write” has a lot of power… almost like an affirmation, which I know is what my teacher was getting at, giving yourself the daily reminder that this what you do. Glad the post resonated anyway, even if it was to remind you of those slightly discomforting feelings ;-)

  21. Naoko says:

    I went for a Self-Actualisation Course back in January this year. One of the things I learnt was that nothing means anything until I give it meaning.

    This entry reminded me of that forgotten point. I’ve been so busy identifying myself as a writer that I’ve completely forgotten the reason why I became one, or even the other occupation I used to identify myself with, “Wordsmith.”

    Thank you, Joanna, for the reminder. Now I know why I’m beginning to get fatigue from writing, even though I write less than I did before.

    *Goes back to forgetting she’s a writer and more that she likes playing with words*

  22. wilson says:

    Joanna, sometimes, it’s very difficult for some of us to take off the label away…

    For your information, I was being teased as the “book worm” and “Technogeek” in my elementary and secondary school. Although it did leaving some impact on my life, but I managed to overcome the hard time and transform myself into a great person.

    Maybe I didn’t have as much fortune as my other friends did, but hey, I did have a quality life and enjoy what I’m doing now, it’s definitely hundred or thousand times better than some of the people!

    Thanks for hearing my nagging, Joanna and I hope I didn’t bore you here. Lol

    wilsons last blog post..Do Mind About The Way You Fall Off!

  23. Jan Scott says:

    Big smile on my face, Joanna, as I read your post and what follows. Since we spoke the other day I have been amending ‘aspiring writer’ to ‘I love writing’ in all my various online biogs.
    It is a liberating way to describe what I do, it is in the present tense, I don’t aspire to it, I DO it, most days. In fact I’m fairly prolific. I’ve always (since I started up in 2003) encouraged writing, especially Julia Cameron’s morning pages, sas a powerful tool for my coaching clients.
    And, thanks to your recommendation, Natalie Godberg’s ‘Old Friend from far away’ has already kick started two ten minute memoir writing sessions. I love her style.
    Shari’s comment about venerating writers struck a chord for me. I know that if I call myself a writer I will, inevitably follow it up with ‘not a PROPER writer, of course’ which I know is a full-on, shout it loud, limiting belief. Whilst I work on that, or rather, consider whther I need to work on that, ‘I love writing’ allows me to free myself up to write more and more and to develop what I do.

    Jan Scotts last blog post..Granny boots

  24. Avil Beckford says:

    This post resonated with me. A few days ago at our Writers’ Group meeting we had a related discussion about having to earn the right to use a label such as writer, actor and so on. One person indicated, as you also pointed out in your post is she gets around the label by saying that she writes.

    For a long time I have suffered from the “impostor syndrome” and have a serious problem calling myself a writer even though I am a published author. It doesn’t help when so many people are pressuring me about when the next book is coming out. Because you have this label, there is a certain expectation.

    So, I am going to follow you and forget about the label and see what good things I can cook up. Thanks for the post! http://www.twitter.com/avilbeckford

    Avil Beckfords last blog post..How to Carve Out the Time to Read in a Busy World

  25. Catherine Franz says:

    Thank you for sharing your mindful journey. Labels or words actually are an expression of what is inside. A word cannot be expressed unless it is vibrated from within us.

    Just a few days ago I joined in on a very discussion in the LinkedIn community about the word “trying.” You use the word, or a form of it, continuously throughout your journey. The word try means to want without committment. May I suggest you remove it from your use. Either commit or not.

    In the book, “The Dip,” Seth talks about learning to either commit or not even go there, otherwise it’s like driving into cul-de-sacs — all you can do is back out or turn around and go back out. There’s 15 ways to deal with the dip on my blog: http://abundance.blogs.com/intothelight/2009/04/15-tips-for-dealing-with-the-dip.html

    Every word we utter has a definition, a belief, behind it. Either positive or negative. Either moving us forward or moving us backwards. There’s no such thing as standing still. It’s totally impossible, even if we never get out of bed in the morning.

    This also brings up the fact there is no such thing as procrastination. Everything has a reaction of some type. However, if you believe there is such a thing a procrastination, then you have bought into the belief from an outside source as to label something incorrectly. Commitment plays a big roll in all this. When you love what you do, there can never be any delay. Just as you do when you blog. You mentioned it comes “easy.” But what happens when this type of writing comes easy and you need to write something else, something new, and doesn’t come easy, then you want to delay, put it off, because it requires a greater effort. It’s easy to get lazy doing all the easy stuff and avoiding the new stuff that requires more effort. That isn’t the “proc…” word. It’s a matter of love. Anything you love 100% you’ll jump on. Everyone does.

    This goes back to the question…why do you want to do it? Why do you want to write this? If it’s an assignment without love, then you will not want to place effort, or love into it.

    Love does make the world go around…for all of us.

    Remember the words in the Country song, Love the One Your With.

    When you’re in love with what you’re writing, the day flashes by. An hour seems like a few minutes. When you aren’t, the an hour seems like a day.

    Wishing you many blessings in being in love with all you endeavor,
    Catherine

    Catherine Franzs last blog post..How Old Are The Hyperlinks On Your Web Site?

  26. Tumblemoose says:

    It is important to not be stifled by self proclaimed labels. We all do it to some extent however.

    The important thing is that no matter what you call yourself, do what is in your heart to the best of your ability and you’ll be fine.

    Interesting related discussion at my commentluv reference as well.

    George

    George

    Tumblemooses last blog post..Are you a writer or an author?

  27. Lisa Romeo says:

    Even though I work at writing nearly full-time, I find the term “writer” gets in the way when meeting new people. Their expectation is that every writer is either a well-published best-selling novelist or hugely popular memoirist (think David Sedaris).
    “Freelance writer” is almost worse because then they expect that your articles appear in the NY Times (or their personal favorite magazine) all the time.
    Both terms (this is laughable) seem to make people think that you are well off — after all, isn’t Dan Brown making millions?
    Often, I will simply say I’m an editor or a writing teacher — both of which are also true, and somehow each comes across as less open to debate and opinion.

    Lisa Romeos last blog post..Writing & Editing Blogs & Tips, Author Events & the Metaphor Gauntlet

  28. Julie M says:

    Joanna,
    A label can go a long way emotionally. I get exactly what you are saying. For people in my ‘real’ life especially, who hardly even get online except to check e-mail and stocks. With them, I always find it a challenge to call myself a writer - afraid they are going to ask what books I have published. Me: Um… no books… just some, well, they are articles on line and I have a blog. Response: A blog? What exactly is that anyway?

    Julie Ms last blog post..Attracting Readers to Your Blog

  29. Tess says:

    “A writer is not someone who expresses his thoughts, his passions or his imagination in sentences but someone who thinks sentences. A Sentence Thinker.” Roland Barthes

    After reading your commentary and reading this quote today, I’ve decided to put a label up on my monitor which reads “You are a Sentence Thinker.” From tomorrow, I wonder if this reminder will get me out of my writer’s block. Time will tell.

  30. Lea Woodward
    Twitter: leawoodward
    says:

    Joanna - if labelling yourself as a writer at this stage doesn’t “help” you, then don’t! And it sounds like it doesn’t. You may find a time however when it does and when that times comes, you’ll probably know.

    This is coming from someone who goes out of her way to avoid labelling herself as any one thing! For example, despite running what is essentially a web design/development company for the past 2 years, I’ve never called myself a web designer/developer and don’t think of myself as such. Probably because I also do so many other things and one label just feels so restrictive.

    What I can say however is that from a business perspective, not labelling yourself as something your customers/clients might expect may hinder your business/branding progress. That’s definitely a lesson I’ve learned - but I’m still reluctant to pick one label and stick with it :)

    Lea Woodwards last blog post..Practical Advice For Negotiating A Location Independent “Job” With Your Current Employer

  31. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Naoko that’s made me smile, I like the term “wordsmith” too, and someone who likes playing with words… they seem to offer more room for play, creativity and experimentation somehow :-) I’m glad you found the post useful. The conversations that have followed on are fascinating to me.

    wilson I can sympathise, I used to get called “dictionary” when I was at school, because I could spell so easily, the other kids found it easier and quicker to ask me than to look up the dictionary. I would also say that most of my best friends are book worms, really I think that’s a compliment! I’m glad though that you’ve managed to move beyond the limitations of the labels other people applied, and are being your best self

    janI’m smiling broadly too :-) “I love writing” is perfect, so full of enthusiasm and action. I’m also smiling that our conversation should prompt my own realisation about things that were holding me back, and help me to generate such an interesting and hopefully rewarding conversation among readers here too

  32. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Avril I hope you enjoy cooking up some good stuff - definitely worth a try :-) Thanks for sharing that experience and introducting yourself - I look forward to chatting on twitter too.

    Catherine thanks for all that. I guess I probably talk about ‘intention’ rather than love - what drives, motivates, enthuses, lights up your words and your writing, and I agree, that’s the bit to look for, and then throw yourself into

    George that’s very simple but powerful advice… the best sort. Thanks. Yes, interesting alternative version of the conversation at your place too… again making the point that we should do what works for us, what allows us to do our best stuff

  33. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Lisa oh dear, the pressure to be well off as well as witty, intelligent, creative, productive, successful! I can see how ‘editor’ and ‘writing teacher’ would work well when you’re introducing yourself to others… I wonder though, which label do you find it most empowering to use when you’re talking to yourself?

    Julie yes, indeed, I know that one :-) It’s one of the reasons we all understand each other so well - it’s that instant recognition and appreciation of what others have put into their work, the joys, the trials and tribulations… whereas our offline friends are rather liable to glaze over… ;-)

    Tess thanks for sharing that quote. I hope the words… or maybe the shifting around of some unhelpful labels… will help get the words to flow

  34. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Lea I think there’s a difference between the labels we use externally and for ourselves - I might, depending on the context, call myself a writer in company, but I think it’s best left peeled off when I’m writing just for me. I agree with you about being clear what we’re about to allow clients to make sense of what we do / find us - as I said on Twitter though, I’m much more into coaching others to write than being ‘a writer’ myself… and writing coach is one label I am (thankfully) happy to stick with

  35. Karen Chaffee says:

    I have written in one form or another most of my life, but I didn’t really think of myself as a “real writer” until much of my work was being published. I do think of myself as a writer, now, and smile each time. I can see that labels either restrict or empower us, so I choose mine carefully. I no longer wear the labels of others, especially the mistaken or negative ones.

  36. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Karen that sounds like a wise approach to labels… just keep on choosing the ones that work for us. And smiling :-)

  37. Ryan says:

    Joanna,

    I am a freshman in college and have recently discovered my love of fiction writing. I came across your site yesterday and just wanted to say thank you for the guidance it provides. It’s refreshing to hear other “writers” talk about actually being a “writer” and this article in particular struck me profoundly. As a new writer the label itself does at times seem restricting. Your mention of an inner critic holding you back is something I struggle with too and it is refreshing to see that there are a lot of people out there who face the same challenge. So basically after all that what I’m trying to say is thank you for posting a blog like this and I look forward to checking it regularly.
    All the best,
    Ryan

  38. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Ryan you have no idea how much I appreciate getting feedback like that - thank you so much for taking the time to share where you’re at with your writing. Yes, the inner critic has been known to prowl about round here… but we’re working out some great strategies for kicking him/her into touch! Hope to see you again sometime, and good luck with your writing.

  39. [...] Peel Off the Labels to Give Yourself Space [...]

  40. [...] about it at all.  I’ve declared in advance I’m ‘not an artist’ so already peeled off the label of expectations   Plus Janice is coaching us, gently, to experiment and see what happens.  To do [...]