A writer. Just.
I’m a few weeks into a new job — shifting from one specialized communications agency to another — and I find that people seem apologetic about the fact that I’ve gone from an “executive” title to a more simple, plain one. From “VP, Creative Director” to “Writer.”
The word “just” is being invoked a lot:
“You’ll be just a writer…I hope you’re okay with that.”
“How should I introduce you? Just…‘Writer’?”
“We know that you’re more than just a writer…”
While I appreciate the sensitivity that’s given rise to the tiptoeing, the fact is, I’m more comfortable — and more proud — to call myself “writer” than anything else. Even when I had supposedly loftier titles, I often appended them in conversation. “I’m a Corporate Buzzword Lingo Noun,” I’d say before adding, “but really, I’m a writer.”
Because that’s pretty much all I’ve ever wanted to be (well; Cowboy Spaceship Pilot Rescue Hero Chef, too, but you know what I mean). Writing didn’t come easy to me at first, but I loved the challenge of it. I loved working hard to get better at it.
Writing — and telling some sort of story — is what got me every job I’ve ever had. I did it well enough that it opened other doors, and eventually, “writer” was no longer part of my title, or even part of my job description.
But it was always part of my identity.
So it’s not a consolation prize or a disappointment to be “just” a writer again (long internal debate over whether the word “again” belongs there at all). It’s a badge of honor. It’s right. It’s fair.