What is a Writer? by Michelle Sheehan

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Angelou, Hughes, Baldwin, Whitman, Thoreau, Shakespeare...Sheehan?

What is a writer?

Who am I to take on this respected, venerable title?

I am a teacher.

I am just me.

For most of my life, I have been plagued with an internal battle over calling myself a writer.

I defined a writer as a published famous author whose work was celebrated and chosen for the ever-so-curated English Literature course reading list.

I never considered myself a writer, even though I have kept a notebook since childhood.

In my experience, writing is an activity that anyone can do, but to call someone a 'writer' is a title reserved for the works of great figures. Teach Write is a space that constantly reminds me that comparison is the thief of joy.

Therefore, I proclaim:

If you are putting words on a page, you are a writer.

That’s it!

You have a voice, no matter what, and this simple definition helps our students and us let go of the hangups and embrace the writer within.

If you journal, notebook, write poems, write short stories, etc., you are a writer. You are putting words on a page.