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So, the other day, I arrived bright and early for the morning shift at my job. One coworker remarked that I looked too bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for somebody who was going to work at 6 am. I explained to her that I woke up at 4 in order to write a little before I came in, since I prefer writing in the morning. Cue the dumbfounded stare.

But, why would you do that?” she asked.

Confused, I answer, “Well, because I’m a writer.”

But, why?”

I imagine that this a question a lot of people get asked when they reveal their writerly inclinations. I’ve noticed that a lot of people want to be writers, but are in shock when someone is actually writing. For a lot of fledgling writers, this kind of reaction can be a bit discouraging and make them wonder why they go about this whole writing business in the first place instead of, say, watching Netflix or eating gallons of ice cream.

After Googling, I found that there’s a lot of vague, hand-circling ‘You just know‘ advice going around for new authors who want to know whether they’re really cut out to be a writer. So, today I’d like to discuss some concrete ways that let you know whether you’re a writer or whether your time would be better spent doing something else entirely.

  1. You love words

And books. And movies. And videogames. And tales around the campfire. Any and all forms of storytelling fascinate you! You like taking them and tinkering with them, or just enjoy staring rapt into the beautiful illusions that they create.

For people who write, words are magic and you want to be the best magician you can possibly be.

  1. Writing is when you’re happiest

Now, I don’t mean this in a ‘writing is full of sunshine and kittens’ kind of way. I also don’t mean it in a ‘you always need to be writing’ kind of way. What I mean is that you get a deep sense of contentment from putting pen to page or fingers to keyboard.

For example, last night, I was procrastinating. I told myself that I needed to write, even though I was tired and unmotivated. I wasted time on writing blogs, Facebook, staring out of the window…you name it. But, when I finally started writing, all of that faded away. When I was creating stories, it was just me and the page and getting down the things in my head.

It’s one of the best feelings in the world.

  1. You have ‘The Dream’

The Dream.

The capitalized, ‘this would be the best thing ever’ Dream.

The Dream isn’t about awards or book clubs or bestseller lists. The Dream is about how you envision your own success and passion. My version of The Dream is about imagining that I’m in a bookstore and I run my fingers down the spine of my very first published novel.

The Dream is about thinking that the most amazing thing in the world is the work that you do.

  1. You work hard

The saying ‘10% inspiration, 90% perspiration’ is one of the best ways to know that you’re a writer. Writers work hard on their craft. They don’t necessarily write every day or write thousands of words at a time, but they are determined to carve out their story, even if it’s only inches at a time. They make writing a priority in their hearts and in their schedules and then they get down to work.

  1. You are fascinated by the craft

One of the reasons why writing blogs are such fabulous time-wasters for writers is because most of them talk about the craft of writing.

Whether it’s outlining, character creation, or even worldbuilding, there’s a constant cycle of new information, new challenges, and new techniques to try in the writing world. Writers embrace this endless pursuit of the craft with wonder and eagerness. They know that every bit of knowledge makes them stronger craftspeople(so long as it doesn’t veer into Procrastination Station, that is!)

So, there you are–my five ways to tell whether or not you’re a real writer. If you can think of any other definite ways, share your ideas in the comments below!

See you all soon!

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