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