Ten clues that say you’re a writer

Sometimes, when I address the people who come to classes and writing workshops as ‘writers’, they look a little sheepish. Some will look uncertain; some may say things like ‘I’m not sure I can call myself that’, as if it was a holy thing. I believe that if you write, you are a writer, just as if you paint you can call yourself a painter, or if you play a musical instrument a musician, or if you kick a football around a field with goals at either end, two teams and a person with a whistle you can say you are footballer.  It isn’t about being paid, published or recognised for what you do; it’s about the activity itself, why you do it, what you get from it and how it makes you feel.

Here are ten clues. If you can tick even a few of them, you’re on the writing team.

  1. You find it easier to write it down than say it.
  2. You only really learn something by writing it down.
  3. You carry a notebook around with you, always.
  4. You sit on the bus with your ears pricked for a snippet of dialogue or a character detail you might use.
  5. Your earliest memories are of reading, being read to, or writing your own stories.
  6. You spend more on books than shoes.
  7. You sit in cafes, scribbling.
  8. You feel unhappy if you don’t have time to write.
  9. When you write, an hour feels like five minutes.
  10. When you write you understand the world and your place in it.

How many have you ticked? If you can think of more, write them down.

11 Comments on “Ten clues that say you’re a writer”

  1. Kitty Wright

    I particularly like the last one; it’s very powerful. I certainly write to make sense of things.

    Other signs might be:
    You make up stories about that person in the bus…you imagine what might be in their shopping bags, or what their children’s names might be.
    On long drives, when you can’t get to your notebook, you craft sentences and phrases in your head and wish you’d brought a voice recorder with you

  2. joinedupwriters

    I have a history version of the bus game – I ask myself what they would have been 100 years ago, or 200 or 300… as far back as I can go. You can surmise a lot from a face.

  3. Karen Harvey

    I just scored 10 out of 10. I have called myself a writer and a poet for several years now, I have had several poems published along the way but I don’t think that publishing neccesarily valitates one’s becoming a writer, it is a way of being.

  4. Philip Dixon

    Jane, I was always one of the sheepish ones. Having scored 7/10 in your test I now feel better about calling myself a writer.

    That reminds me – I must buy a new pair of shoes.

      1. Philip Dixon

        Yep. I might just take you up on that.
        I love Paulo Nutini’s ‘New Shoes’ – “….hello new shoes, bye bye blues.”

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