ALL STORIES MENTEES Can I call myself an author now?


All Stories, a free mentorship programme for underrepresented children's book writers, was launched on 30th March 2021. Here, the tenth in a series of features of All Stories mentees, Melissa Abraham tells us how she finally accepted she was an author.


When I rediscovered my love for creative writing about five years ago, I didn’t call myself a writer. I was writing, but I didn’t feel it was correct to refer to myself as one. I had a fixed notion of what a ‘proper writer’ did and who they were, and at the time, it wasn’t me – or so I thought. Even as I contributed to my blog (albeit monthly), ensuring I scheduled time to write and set deadlines that I met, I still didn’t feel like a ‘proper writer’. It wasn’t until I received a comment on one of my posts and knew they were being read by someone – other than me, and it happened more than once (yay!) – that I began entertaining the idea that maybe I was a writer. Receiving a nomination for the Sunshine Blogger Award (something I hadn’t heard of but was extremely grateful to be nominated for) edged me ever closer to accepting it.


But now I was ... wait for it ... an ‘aspiring writer’.


While blogging and creating articles for Vocal, an online platform that supports and rewards creators, it took receiving financial tips from the readers and moderators/staff at Vocal (who sent me an email saying they had chosen my story as a staff pick) for me to remove ‘aspiring’ from my social media bios. But all of this still didn’t give me the confidence to label myself a writer; nor did I feel comfortable speaking about my writing to new people. It made me wonder if all newbie writers felt the same. On reflection, I had a massive case of imposter syndrome.


Thankfully, I have evolved and in the last 2–3 years, I’ve finally fully accepted my writer status. This has been cemented by occasionally being paid as a content creator during this time, as well as winning a place on the All Stories mentorship programme and making the shortlist for the FAB Prize 2021. But, unlike before, where I relied solely on external validation to help me recognise that I’m a writer – which don’t get me wrong, is nice to receive – now I know I’m a writer even without this and, more importantly, that I’ve been a writer all along.


When it comes to calling myself an author, I look at my story, Nanny & Me, which will be available this year (squeal) as a free eBook on an educational resource app. I know that even if it is not read to children or by children (although I sincerely hope it is), my story has made its way out there into the world and I’m proud to call myself an author.


*Feature image courtesy of All Stories and profile image courtesy of Melissa Abraham




Melissa Abraham is a London-based writer of Ghanaian heritage who is writing fantastical picture books. She particularly enjoys writing picture books because it allows her to be wildly imaginative and eccentric. Melissa takes inspiration from many places, but especially references from family fantasy/adventure films from the 1980s where extraordinary things happen to ordinary people.

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