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Embracing my Identities -- Including "Writer"

As hard as it was to accept the reality of living with chronic illness -- and identifying as a person with a disability -- it's also been a challenge to embrace my identity as a writer.

Why? Because writers are, generally, mired in imposter syndrome. This is especially the case when you haven't yet had a book traditionally published. But I hear that writers at every stage often feel this way. For a brief moment, when my first short stories were published in literary magazines, I let myself imagine that I was a "real writer."

But then the long slog of writing and revising a novel set in. I wanted this novel to be great, not just "good enough." Six years and countless drafts later, it's almost there. In the last few months, the manuscript has won two contests, and my query letter even took third place in a competition.

So, am I a writer yet?

Like with chronic illness, I realized the answer isn't out there in someone else's acceptance. It's in my own relationship to writing. So, without further ado, I decided to offer myself the coveted role of Professional Writer.

Association of Professional Writers

We write, so you can experience new worlds

June 13, 2022

Dear Camellia Phillips,

After careful consideration, the Association of Professional Writers is pleased to offer you the position of Professional Writer, Class B. This position will be full-time, exempt, with a salary of “barely enough to scrape by.” Benefits include unlimited paid time off, flexible schedule, permanent remote work, ability to work from any time zone or location, and health benefits (if you happen to live in a country with public healthcare). As well, the Association of Professional Writers encourages all employees to take ample rest time to care for their health and well-being.

In return, we expect you to bring that thoughtful yet joyful creative spirit you have shown during the grueling six-year interview process. Your persistence during our endless interviews has impressed our hiring committee, particularly in light of your chronic health conditions. We salute your ability to write fun and silly stories with great heart, even when you're struggling and filled with self-doubt.

Your role will begin as of June 13, 2022. We expect great things of you, Camellia, and we look forward to being a part of your writing career journey.


Sia Libera

Sia Libera

Director of HR

Association of Professional Writers


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