You’re Not a Real Writer

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 If anything, other people’s success should only encourage me: if they did it, so can I. But that’s where the self-doubt steps in and says, They can do it BUT YOU NEVER WILL BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT A REAL WRITER. It’s the same voice that tells me submitting to writing contests is a waste of money. (It really is, though). It’s the same voice that says, You will never be anything other than what you are at this very moment.

At Electric Literature, Lindsay Merbaum explores a feeling achingly familiar to most writers: self-doubt.


Claire Burgess’s short fiction has appeared in Third Coast, Hunger Mountain, and PANK online, among others. Her stories have received special mentions in the Pushcart Prize and Best American anthologies, but haven’t actually made it into one yet. She’s a graduate of the Vanderbilt University MFA program, where she co-founded Nashville Review. She lives in Pittsburgh by way of the deep South and says things on Twitter @Clairabou_. More from this author →