I was 19 years old when I first felt like a real writer.

I wrote a news story about an affordable housing initiative, pitched it to a newspaper in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, and that paper published my article.

I had my first clip and I felt legit.

But here’s the thing. You don’t need a book or a blog or byline in a newspaper, magazine, or website to be a writer. To be a writer all you have to do is write!

Here are 7 things you can start doing to FINALLY feel like a real writer.

Write every day.

Writing is a practice. Just as musicians practice every day before a concert, just as athletes practice before the big game, we must practice our craft, too. And writing every day — even if you only write a single line — will help you do just that. Developing a daily journaling practice can help get you started.

Get serious about your writing.

You may be thinking, “But I am serious!” Are you, though?

If you truly are serious about writing, I want you to commit to working on your writing goals at least 5 hours each week.

Get clear on who you are.

Chances are you hate to hear the words, “You need to build your brand.” Thinking of yourself as a brand may feel gross or even wrong. 

Or maybe you think building a brand is about designing a logo. While that can be part of it if you’re a business or a blogger, building a personal brand really means defining and clearly conveying what you’re all about — who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

Get clear on what you want.

Set some goals for your writing life. This will help you get focused and keep you from doing things just because everybody else is. Once you have a clear idea of what you want, you’ll also know exactly how to spend those 5 hours of writing time each week.

Get noticed.

After you get clear on who you are and what you want, you need to let everybody know! You need to build buzz for your brand. You need to put yourself and your work OUT THERE because this is a great way to open doors to other opportunities. 

Building buzz about myself and my writing helped me land paid writing gigs, paid speaking engagements, and even coaching clients. 

Get paid.

As I’ve said before, to be a writer all you have to do is write. But I’m not going to pretend that getting paid for your writing isn’t one of the best feelings EVER. And those coins might be exactly what you need to give you the confidence to keep writing.

So, be sure your writing goals include plans to get paid!

Join a writing community.

Writing is a communal act.

But as Natalie Goldberg says in her book Writing Down the Bones, “So writing is not just writing. It is also having a relationship with other writers.”

I’ve long understood the importance of having a writing tribe. That’s why I started See Jane Write. I know that having a tribe will help you keep writing even when you don’t feel like it and that same tribe will read your work once you’re ready to share it with the world. They’ll also help you build buzz about who you are and what you do. 

See Jane Write has done all of this for me and more. If you’re looking for a writing tribe, I invite you to join the Janes! 

You can start by joining the free See Jane Write Network Facebook group. For even more support in your writing journey, consider joining our paid membership program the See Jane Write Collective

Do you need more help with these 7 steps to finally feeling like a real writer? Check out my FREE mini-course 7 Ways to Jumpstart Your Writing Career.