Are You a Writer?

When I speak at writer's conferences, I usually see a sea of faces of people who are just like me--expectant, hopeful, full of passion and full of words. We are writers.

What I often recognize at these conferences is that for many, calling yourself a writer can be a hard admission to make to yourself and publicly. So let me help you.

How do you know if you are a writer? An article by English author, Chantelle Atkins, spelled it out pretty well. Does this match you?

1. You stare into space. (Ok, I know everyone does this to an extent, but seriously, writers live in two realms simultaneously. Our brains are almost always in something we are writing even as we walk through daily life.)

2. Your concentration is variable. (Just ask my husband. I know this can be frustrating for our families, but it's just a fact of life.)

3. Real life often gets in the way. (I have to set a timer on my phone to remind me when I have to pick up a kid, cook dinner, or some other daily event. Today, I looked up from writing only to find an inch of snow on the ground. Really, when and how did THAT get there? I was oblivious.)

4. You can't sleep at night (because either you can't turn your brain off or if you do fall asleep and then wake up, you are right back in your latest work. And you always have a pen and paper easily accessible on your night stand to capture those thoughts that won't be there in the morning.)

5. Inspiration comes at strange and wonderful times. (In the shower, at a soccer game, during church, on a walk, where does your inspiration hit?)

6. You people watch. (This is true even when you don't realize you are people watching, because people are just interesting and inspiring and each one gives us a hint of a new story, emotion or character.)

7. You suffer from crippling self-doubt. (One of my authors who had over twenty-five books already to his credit was a great example of this statement. Weekly he would call needing affirmation on his latest piece. His successful resume wasn't enough to overcome his writer's insecurity---which we all have to an extent.)

8. You write. (In my opinion, you can skip statements one through seven and go straight to this point.)

If you are really a writer, you write. Not because you will get paid. Not because someone else will affirm you. Not because there is an opportunity. You write, because you cannot do otherwise.

The words are thoughts swirling around in your mind and your heart begging for release. Crafting them onto paper is a therapy for the soul. No one else has to read them, but if they do, and they like them...well, that's just a bonus. Because for your words to inspire, motivate, or move the reader is a feeling like no other. But that isn't why you write, it's just the fruit of your writing.

Why do you write? Because you are a writer.

Does that describe you?