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I Am A Writer

I Am A Writer

I am a writer.

I didn’t know I was until very recently.

English is my second language. I spoke Japanese until I was five. Then I went to kindergarten and had to learn how to communicate with the other children.

In addition, I was really good at math from an early age. My mom taught me all the multiplication tables up to 12 x 12 before kindergarten. I guess that’s the Japanese thing to do.

So thanks to her I came in to school with an enormous advantage in math.

I won all the classroom math challenges. I was in Mathcounts. I had a t-shirt that said Mathlete on it. I got first in the state in a national mathematics exam in junior high school. I placed in the top ten in the state on another national math exam as a Freshman in high school.

I’m not special at all.

I just had the belief from an early age of: “I am Good at Math.”

So I was good at math. I was fucking great at math. That’s what happens when you have a belief that keeps getting reinforced by evidence.

Unfortunately, I also thought:

I’m good at Math = I’m bad at Writing

This was reinforced by the fact that English was my second language. I also thought that boys are good at math and girls are good at writing. Don’t know where I picked that belief up, but it was in my head somehow.

So I didn’t put any work into my writing. I just knew that I would be the kid who was good at math.

Essays were always a struggle, I consistently scored lower on the verbal side of standardized tests, and English and Language Arts were boring and difficult to me.

Then a couple years ago I just started writing.

Eventually my writing started getting better.

Then I started writing about things that challenged me to press “Publish.”

Then I started investing a large chunk of time into studying copywriting.

Then my writing started getting shared all over the Internet and people would come up to me at conferences telling me how much they enjoy my writing or how I’m one of the three blogs they still subscribe to.

Then last month I wrote a book. The dozen or so people who’ve read it so far say it’s actually pretty damn good.

So I guess I’m a writer now.

But so are you.

You just have to give yourself permission to be one.

  • James Wightman

    LOVE this Mike! Had one of those types of conversations last night myself. Where for some reason along the way we attach a bad feeling or categorize something as tainted. Whether it be a word or a role, it’s amazing when it finally clicks after the wrestling back and forth with it. Proud of you, especially when it can take a lot of energy coming to that realization. Congrats!

    P.S. – Any particular sites or resources you recommend to learn more about copywriting?

    • Samuel Hershberger

      Hey James — Check out CopyHour by Derek Johanson. It’s hard work, but it seriously changes your targeted and persuasive writing abilities.

      Cheers brother,

    • Mike Hrostoski

      Ditto on CopyHour. I’m going through another iteration of it now. It’s dramatically leveled up my copywriting game.
      (affiliate link)

    • Mike Forrest

      I’ll drop a 3rd endorsement for copyhour. Halfway through the 90 day program you’ll notice an overhaul in your natural sentence structure. Making your day-to-day writing more clear, precise, and persuasive.

  • Matthew Parrett

    Thanks for sharing Mike! I can totally relate. I recently found a dusty old box with childhood Mathcounts assignments and sub-par writing. I was a “I’m good at math” kid too.

    It’s miraculous when we give ourselves permission to be something new and then follow up with consistent work. I write more now in a week than I used to in a year. And it’s getting better.

    We are writers!

    • Mike Hrostoski

      Yes my Mathlete friend. You are an awesome writer.

  • Anna Cummins

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve always yearned to write out my thoughts and experiences. I too have struggled with referring to myself as a writer. I recently was asked to contribute to a small local paper and still am stoked about it. Although small, it’s a great start.

    • Mike Hrostoski

      Yeah it is! Being asked to write is a great start.

  • Emily Liu Filloramo

    Hey Mike, I spoke Japanese too until the age of 5. Then Mandarin starting at 5… then English starting at 9. So, just like you, I didn’t like writing. Since launching my business in July 2012, I’ve written more now than I ever have in my life! I had no idea that being an entrepreneur was synonymous with “writer”. Thanks for sharing!