How do you know you’re a real writer?
Some writers have real writing jobs, where they go to work and write stuff and collect paychecks. Others work the freelance route, sending off queries and hoping for the “yeses” that mean a writing gig. Book writers spend years writing and revising novels or memoirs and then more years selling them before they have a product to tweet about. In the in-between years, it’s sometimes hard to know if one’s a real writer.
On the show Castle, we know Rick Castle is a real writer because he wears a bullet-proof vest that says, ‘writer.’”
So how do we know if we’re a real writer? Do we measure “realness” by the number of articles, books, or poems we produce? Or do we count up the amount of hours we put in at the keyboard? Perhaps in the days of social media, real might be defined by the number of writerly friends we have (or writing followers on Twitter)? What makes writers real?
For me, being a real writer is about one thing: writing. Writers write. But if you’re looking for further proof of your writer status, I’ve put together a list of signs to watch for. Those of you experiencing one or more of these signs for longer than a week at a time should proudly call yourself a writer (whether or not you have a bullet-proof vest that says so):
1. You think of caffeine and chocolate as essential food groups.
2. You frequently eavesdrop and call it research.
3. You spend so much time in the bookstore and the library that people think you work there and ask you to help them find books. You do. And sometimes you shelve the books in proper alphabetical order. (Admit, you’ve done it, right?)
4. You have explained to your spouse, children, parents, or housemates that you are hard at work when you are doodling, staring out the window, folding towels, napping, and walking the dogs—and they should not interrupt you.
5. It may look like you’re texting all the time—at the gym, in the grocery store, at the theater—but you’re really jotting down ideas for your current work in progress.
6. You hoard books.
7. Changing your wardrobe from winter to spring means switching from slippers to sandals.
8. Your best assistants are your pets. You talk to them about your plot problems. They listen well. Sometimes they provide good ideas.
9. You have close friends and colleagues who you’ve never met or see only once or twice a year but you connect frequently on social media.
10. You frequently forget that you started a load of wash or a pot of soup or were in the middle of cleaning the bathroom, because when an idea hits, you have to write it down.
Your turn: I could go on . . . but I’d rather hear what you think. Leave your comment below: what signs reveal that you’re a REAL writer?