How to Know if You’re a Writer?

The other day I was given an article to read on how to know if you’re a writer. Now, while I appreciate that someone took the time to write something like that (and that someone took the time to send it to me), as I read it I couldn’t help but be bothered by most of what it said.

It wasn’t so much that I disagreed with the different points that the author had made. Actually, I found that I did a few of the things she claimed made me a writer. The problem was that I didn’t like that there was anything like this out there to begin with, especially since I have my own idea of how to know if you’re a writer; and it’s a whole lot simpler than the list that she had given.

Actually, it’s only one question. Ready for it?

It’s: do you write?

If the answer is yes, then, you’re a writer. If not, well, then you’re not.

Seems simple enough.

Uh…then again…(I’m taking a bit of a pause here because something else has just occurred to me)…it might not actually be as simple as that after all.

What if you had written something when you were younger, but haven’t done anything since? There are lots of authors who only write one or two books in their career. I’d never say they weren’t writers. I suppose I could say they were writers but aren’t now, but something about that doesn’t seem right either.

Okay, let me revise this.

Do you write? Not good enough, for the reasons explained above.

Have you ever written anything? Close, but still not perfect. I mean, we’ve all written things in high school, but that doesn’t make us writers, does it?


How about this: do you consider yourself a writer? If the answer is yes, then…

No, wait a minute. Just because you believe that you’re something, doesn’t make it true.

All right, now I’m lost.

When I had first set out to write this piece, it was to tell writers not to worry about any of the lists of things that someone said made them a writer or not. If they wrote, then that made them a writer. But, after giving it some more thought, I see that it’s not as simple as that.

So, what does it mean to be a writer? Does it mean sitting in cafes with a notebook, writing down any and all thoughts that pop into your head? Does it mean making sure you write at least five pages a day? Does it mean dreaming about your characters even when you should be focusing on your work, or the street you’re walking down? Or does it simply mean anything you want it to?

Honestly, I have no idea.

Again, hmm…

Okay, after a long pause (you’ll just have to believe me that I took one), I think I’ve come up with what I wanted to say. So here it is: whether or not you’re a writer is unimportant, but whether or not you write is. Just get your words onto the page, try to get your stories out to readers (if you want), and enjoy writing.

Hmm, yeah, I guess it was simple enough after all. 😉

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