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Wonderful ink by Asaru Mushavu, House of Ink, Venice Beach, CA

Writing is a lonely road. For most of us that's fine. For some of us, that's bliss. But it's not just the solitary space filled with the tapping of keys and the smell of coffee. It's the resilience. The hard shell. The thick skin. Most of us are plagued with self-doubt. This is exasperated by the low pay (or no pay) and the endless stream of rejections. The letters that say your work was not a "good fit". The non-replies.

But we're a tough bunch. Tougher than we look. Let's face it - we've chosen a path that very few people could harness the insanity to do. We choose to tell stories. We choose to bare our souls. And that takes courage. Not the type of courage it takes to catch the wasp in the room when everyone else is screaming at it. Or the courage to get on a roller coaster. No... this type of courage requires us to present a little part of our insides - our hearts - and say to the world, "There it is... chip a little piece off, if you like."

And sometimes we need that little light of inspiration. For me, it comes when I get something published, or win a little competition, or run a workshop where everyone is engaged and enjoying themselves. My most cherished memory was the first time I got paid. It sounds glib but it meant something to me. It also coincided with a meeting and working with some wonderful script editors at a major US TV network. I was elated. For the first time I felt like a professional writer.

So to celebrate I stumbled upon a wonderful tattooist on Venice Beach, Asaru Mushavu A client had just cancelled and he said he could fit me in to put something quite challenging on my wrist. Three tattooists had told me they couldn't do it - too detailed for a small space - but Asaru's confidence inspired me! What a job.

Now I use this symbol. On the days I feel it's not going well. On the days I think I'm not going to make it. On the days I'm struggling to produce the quality I know I'm capable of - I look at my wrist and it reminds me that I AM A WRITER.

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