One of my clients wrote me, “Sadly I have come to the conclusion I am not a real writer, as I just can’t make myself devote the daily time.”

What is a “real writer”?

Someone who makes a living exclusively from putting words on paper?  Or someone who dabbles with a blog and has another “real job”?  Someone who writes daily?  Or the sprinter who writes in spurts?

Honestly, I don’t think it’s my business to define this.  If you feel you are a writer, and you actually write, by all means call yourself a “writer.”  Mazel-tov.

But, if you are like me, you may cringe a little bit every time you introduce yourself as a “writer” – as if there were a little kid around the corner who’s about to announce the obvious:  The emperor has no clothes…

Seriously, I’ve had my work published in seven anthologies, one of which was published by Random House – whoo hoo!  I’ve won nearly two dozen writing awards and have been published in several literary chapbooks.  That’s worth some ego props, right?

OK, let’s go one step further:  For a few years, I was a columnist for a newspaper in Southern California.  My editor, as a surprise to me, submitted my columns for awards recognition, and my column was named Second-Best by the Southern California Journalists’ Association.

I mean, that’s kinda huge!

And, yet, I still have that “oh god, don’t anyone notice that I’m naked” feeling when I smile and produce my self-published housesitting book at networking parties.

Where do these limiting beliefs come from?  Well, they might not be all about me.

New genetic research suggests they might be hereditary.  A study in Atlanta found that mice who associated an electric shock with the scent of cherry blossoms became so sensitive to the smell, they passed their fear along to the next generation.  Baby mice who never experienced the electric shock feared the cherry blossom scent!

I work hard to identify my limiting beliefs and bust them or bottle them so they don’t run the show.  It takes some diligence and attention.  I invite you to try some of these techniques…and let me know if I can help.

By the way, my client who wrote that she’s not a “real writer” has completed three books and several short stories.  It bugs me when writers are under the impression that they aren’t “real” because they don’t {pick one} write daily, send out their work, write at a desk, have a publishing credit, or any host of other self-imposed criteria.  If you run, you are a runner.  If you write, you are a writer!

Do you ever feel you aren’t a “real writer”?  What triggers that thought?  Share in the comments!

Kelly Hayes-Raitt admits she sleeps around.  Usually with animals.

More on that in a moment…

Her passion is helping writers get their books jumpstarted.  Her coaching clients call her “inspiring,” and students in her workshops rave about her unique teaching techniques.  Learn more about working one-on-one with Kelly at

Or join her in Cape Town, South Africa, February 1 – 10, 2020, for a magical writing retreat to jumpstart your book!

OK, the sleeping around thing?  She’s a full-time housesitter and has been traveling the world for the past decade.  She’s learned a thing or two about housesitting and shares her knowledge and experience in her popular book How to Become a Housesitter:  Insider Tips from the HouseSit Diva available in soft cover or Kindle at Amazon or ebook on her web site

Before nomading, Kelly reported live from Iraq during the early weeks of the U.S.-led invasion.  Her journalism has won several literary awards and has been widely published in anthologies.  The girl’s got stories.