I started doing yoga for one reason: my back hurt.
Wait, isn’t this a post about writing?
Yes, it is. Stick with me.
My back hurt because I was spending nearly two hours in the car every day commuting. What began as an experiment to see if this working arrangement might be tolerable gradually turned into chronic stress that manifested in several ways, including lower back pain.
Once I realized something needed to change, yoga seemed like a viable solution. It would help me unwind after a long day, stretch my body, and ease my mind.
Yoga soon became my exercise routine, self-care practice, and stress reliever. On Tuesdays and Thursdays—the night’s of my local class—I looked forward to yoga on my drive home (especially on the days when I was sitting in traffic and trying to distract myself with NPR or Adele’s latest single).
At the beginning though, I felt like my body didn’t get it. Mentally, I was there. Well, mostly there. I emptied my mind as best I could and focused on my breathing, but a consistent yoga practice makes you do something that might be really uncomfortable at first.
It changes your posture.
The more classes you attend, the more you stretch your limbs, and the more you understand the subtle movements of each pose, the more your spine responds. You begin to sit up straighter, carry yourself with more poise, and feel lighter, somehow.
But in those early days, my neck actually felt worse when I tried to sit up straight. All those years of slumping over a keyboard and most recently, scrunching my shoulders while driving, made slouching my default. I gradually became more mindful of my posture, but it took time to make sitting up straight a habit that felt natural and comfortable.
Now we can talk about writing.
A Mindset Shift for Writers
When you call yourself a writer, it shifts your energy, just like practicing yoga causes you to sit up straight.
When you call yourself a writer, you feel more capable, more energized, more confident.
It’s all about practice.
Back to yoga.
When social conversations turned to exercise, I occasionally mentioned my new yoga practice. It inevitably led to more questions like How long have you been doing it? What’s your favorite pose? Have you tried hot yoga? On it goes.
I felt like an imposter for about three years. Yes, I went to a couple of classes, but was I a real yogi? Do I even know what that means? Would I ever be able to hold a proper plank pose? Are handstands a requirement?
Back to writing.
You might feel like an imposter now, even if you’ve been writing since you could hold a pen.
You might also hold your writing identity close to your heart because if you say it out loud, it will inevitably lead to more questions.
What do you write? Do you have a website? Can I get your book on Amazon?
The questions—especially if we don’t have strong answers—are reminders of how much we haven’t achieved, how far we still have to go, and the complicated relationship we have as writers who are also mothers and mentors and marketers and so on.
But like anything in life, a devoted practice will change things. @@Calling yourself a writer will shift your energy.@@
You’ll become more comfortable with this identity.
3 Reasons You Should Call Yourself a Writer
1. You should call yourself a writer because no one will do it for you.
2. You should call yourself a writer because eventually, you’ll start to believe it.
3. You should call yourself a writer because the more you do, the more you’ll take your writing time seriously, even if it’s only fifteen minutes a day.
Little by little, three words—I’m a writer—will change your entire relationship to the craft.
It takes time, naturally. The first time you say it out loud in public when someone asks what you do will no doubt make your heart race, but it might also be exhilarating.
You just might love the way it makes you feel.