Many people who write are hesitant to call themselves “writers.” There are various reasons for this. “I haven’t been published;” “I just write for myself;” “I write, but I’m not good at it;” “I’ve never written a book;” “I can’t write poetry” are just a few. I almost titled this post “You Might be a Writer If…,” but the fact is, if you write, you are a writer, much like if you read, you are a reader and if you run, you are a runner. You wouldn’t say of yourself, “Oh, no. I am not a real reader. I only read a couple books a year.” There is no set amount of books one must have read in order to be classified as a reader. You just have to read. There is not a certain number of miles one must have run to be a runner. You just have to run. Similarly, there is no true criteria to qualify as a writer–other than, of course the obvious: You write. There are, of course, various degrees of writers, readers, and runners, but they are all safe under their parent label.
Still, in the interest of closet-writers everywhere, I have composed the list below. If you can relate to any of them, you are probably a writer, despite your best efforts to shirk the label.
You Know You’re a Writer When…
10. you narrate others’ lives for them as they happen. For example, one of my students might come into the classroom and say, “We don’t have a test today, do we?” Instead of a simple yes or no, my response might be, “He says as he stares at the board in horror, noting where his teacher has scrawled ‘Test Today’ in red marker across the white board.”
9. you wanted a Master’s degree in writing just so you would have a reason to write. Okay, I admit it: I stole this from a meme I saw on Facebook. But it’s true. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons I myself hold a Master’s of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing. I realized I wasn’t writing as much as I wanted to. What better motivation to carve out the time to write than a writing prompt that costs over $2000 a semester? (Plus, it’s pretty cool to have a Master’s in creative writing!)
8. you have a constant narration running through your mind to help you make sense of the world. Admit it. You experience your day-to-day life as a story in your mind. You are constantly thinking in dialog, poetry, or narration.
7. you keep a pad of paper and pen(cil) near you at all times. And when you for some reason find yourself without these most basic of writerly tools, you text yourself your ideas–bringing us to number six…
6. your phone is full of texts you sent to yourself about things to write down because you somehow did not have your paper and pen(cil) with you
5. you dream poems and stories–and usually can’t remember them when you wake up…
4. your own story ideas keep you up at night
3. you agonize over the nuance of one word in a line of poetry or a sentence
2. you read books with a pen or pencil in hand–always–to jot down notes in the margin and improve your own craft
Lastly, most importantly, you know you’re a writer when…
- You write.