The Secret Lives of Writers: It’s Time to Tell



Over the next couple of weeks, I am doing a short series called “The Secret Lives of Writers.” In several blog posts and in interactions through social media, I will be exploring what it means to identify as a writer, and why many, many people who write never do. Whether or not you are a writer, I hope this series will inspire you to consider your own ways of identifying yourself and how those identities shape your life and actions.


I was a writer long before I told people.

Funny how we take these big dreams of ours and hold them close to the vest, afraid to tip our hand for fear someone will call our bluff. For years, I was holding a royal flush, but I played like the deck was stacked against me.

Eventually, I started telling people about writing, but I still didn’t claim “writer.” Not for years. On the outside, I looked like a church secretary or residence director or a data analyst. But on the inside, I was living the secret life of a writer.

Maybe you have a secret life like this, too. In the evenings and weekends, when other people turn on the television or pull out their knitting, you quietly open the laptop and spill out your heart. During the holidays, your Christmas letter isn’t just “newsy;” it’s poetry. Every time you go to Office Max or Staples, you come home with bags of pens and paper. And when others see you rushing to the mailbox or constantly checking your email, they don’t know you are waiting to hear back from the publisher you just submitted your work to.

In our book, On Being a Writer, Ann Kroeker and I begin chapter one with a discussion of our identities as writers. Not that we have to call ourselves anything particular at all to do the work of writing. My writing life quietly developed for years without any such label. But somehow, this process of identifying myself as writer gave me permission and confidence to move ahead into the life of a writer and eventually into a full-time career as a writer and editor, too.

Do you write or have you ever wanted to? Even if you’ve never thought of pursuing writing as a career, is there a part of you that needs to put words down on paper or screen in order to process life and the world swirling around you?

Today’s the day. It’s time to tell. You are a writer.

LET’S DISCUSS: Do you call yourself a writer? If not, why? If so, when did you first let the secret out?


And this for you or a friend . . . 


Follow these links for a closer look at some of the items in the giveaway:

If you are already subscribed to the email list and aren’t on social media, just send me an email, and you’ll be entered, too!

Photo by Cindee Snider Re, used with permission.


Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.

  • reply michelle ortega ,

    I am a writer. I didn’t think of myself that way until a friend called me one and I really like the way it sounded, a few years ago. And once it was spoken, it set in and freed me to create.

    • identicon

      reply Charity Singleton Craig ,

      Yes, you are a writer! Believe it, Michelle! I like the way you describe how the speaking of it brought freedom.

    • reply SImplyDarlene ,

      Yes, ma’am,

      a writer – read
      me sprawled
      across pages
      ink scattered
      scratching a
      story –

    • reply Monica Kaye Snyder ,

      I hope this is a way to enter for the goodies. I have your book on my Christmas list. I just moved from a four year blogger space to a website with my name. I struggled with what to call myself. I wrote this in my first post,

      “Am I am blogger who wants to be a writer? What is the difference? Am I writer who wants to be an author? Are you only an author when something is published on good paper? When did all this become so confusing and the lines this blurred?

      Remember when you uncapped your Le pen in the coolest color and just let it slide across the smooth empty pages of your journal or notebook without any hesitation? There was no world wide web. We were not pushing “publish” on any and every thing pouring out of our minds and hearts. Our words were sacred, sincere and safe. We kept them like a treasure map back to our true selves knowing for sure we would need them again someday. At a young age we already felt the propensity to lose our way and betray our own confidence for false desires so we wrote like mad.”

      I am a writer. I have been since I was a little girl, but I am just now using it as part of my identity.

      • reply Laura Brown ,

        My Le Pen was brown.

      • identicon

        reply Charity Singleton Craig ,

        Monica – I love your story and how asking yourself these questions helped you clarify who you are as a writer. Thank you for sharing this post with others. And yes, you are definitely in the drawing! 🙂

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