Top 10 Signs that You’re a Writer

There are trials and tribulations when it comes to being a writer. Between self-doubt and rejection, it can leave a person wondering ‘Am I really a writer?’. To put those doubts and fears to rest, I’ve created the Top Ten Signs that You’re a Writer.

Number 10

  • You constantly get new ideas for a book but you don’t write them down because “you’ll remember it”.

Number 9

  • You have a collection of journals and notebooks. You hoard them like they’re going out of style. Whether you use them is another issue entirely.

Number 8

  • You are picky about pens. You have a certain type that you like to use and you languish that no one else seems to care about the difference between Fine Point and Extra Fine like you do.

Number 7

  • You have drafts upon drafts of stories in various states of completion. Will you ever finish them? Only time will tell.

Number 6

  • You are a research master. Do you need to know a specific but highly obscure poison that only a 17th century historian would know? Give yourself five minutes and you’ll find the poison and calculate how fast it’ll take to kill your victim.

Number 5

  • You search engine looks like a murderers to do list. Various methods of body disposal, poisons that wouldn’t show up in a test, and how to remove fingerprints are just a few of the tabs that are opened right now.

Number 4

  • You narrate your surroundings. That guy on the bus? You’re creating an epic fantasy for him. The goth woman who’s got a pit-bull with her? She’s definitely a Persephone spending some time with mortals. That creepy looking kid in the back row who has a lifeless state and blood dripping from their hands? Actually, look away from that kid…there’s something not right there.

Number 3

  • You know your tropes. Bolivian Army Ending? You know how to apply that. Knight in Sour Armor. One of your favorite character types. Enemies to lovers? Ah, you know how to write that.

Number 2

  • Your friends and family members wonder when you’ll get a real job/don’t believe you when you tell them how hard it is to get published. No Aunt Sharon, I can’t submit my work to TIME. That’s not how it works.

Number 1

  • You know that you’re a writer because you WRITE! It doesn’t matter if you just picked up a pen now and wrote a series of sentences or if you’ve got a couple of books out on the shelf. Once you start writing, you are a writer. Congrats!

So, You Don’t Know Where to Begin

Writing is as fun as it is hellish!

I’m not joking. Fellow writers and with some time, say two or three days, you’ll come to agree with this statement. I don’t say this to be mean or to scare you off of writing. It’s more like stating a fact.

Everyone has a different difficulties when it comes to writing. Some people don’t know how to write the middle part, others can’t write an ending to save their life, and there are those who wouldn’t know a good beginning if it bit them.

Then you have the people who don’t know where to begin with their story. What’s the plot? Who are the characters? Is the conflict external or internal? There are a million questions that any writer will ask themselves as they embark on their journey and it can and will be overwhelming.

There are writers out there who can spit out plot, characters, and the perfect ending in a couple of hours. Let me be the first to say that under no circumstances should you ever compare yourself to them. Those people are rare like four leaf clover/unicorn/”I found a lost Monet in my attic” rare. The more you think about being one of them, the worse your writing will become. Do yourself a favor and forget they ever exist. Focus on yourself.

You do you and you do you well.

From yourself, you’ll find a writing style that works for you instead of copying another writer. I need to stress that copying a writer’s style and being inspired by a writer’s style are two different things and I will address it in a later post. For now, we’ll talk about how to begin being a writer and starting that novel you want to do.

Step One

  • Find a space where you can write.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be on a laptop, but at the bare minimum it has to be a place where you can think.

Step Two

  • Decide what you want to write about

I can hear the panic going through your mind right now and all that I ask is for a moment of your time. You don’t have to have the clear picture in your head or written down. This is just a basic idea such as “Boy meets Girl” or a “Cain and Abel” plot, or maybe you want to write about a Cyrano-type novel. Again, it is a basic plot. It is without the shiny twists and turns and the dazzling characters.

Step Three

  • Decide what you don’t want to write about

Step Three is a bit of a cheat. If you don’t know how to accomplish Step Two then Step Three is a quick way to narrow your list down. For example, if you love Romance but hate Fantasy, odds are you’re not going to write a romance novel that’s got wizards and witches in it. The same goes for if you love Fantasy but don’t like writing about Middle Grade or Children protagonists. You’re not going to write what you hate.

Step Four

  • Pick your protagonist.

This is also kind of a cheat. Your Main Character will ultimately determine where your story is going to go. If s/he is a coward then there will be some sort of development where they learn to be brave. Ifs/he has a goal, hopefully, they will accomplish it.

Step Five

  • Write the worst version of your novel

There is this idea that persists for new writers that whatever they write about, it has to be perfect the first time they put pen to paper. This could not be further from reality. To quote Voltaire, “Perfect is the enemy of good”. Perfection isn’t a feasible state to achieve whether you’re a new writer or an old hat. So, to a new writer or anyone starting out, I say to write the worst version of your novel. Make it ugly, let it have choppy sentences, and dialogue that sounds like a kindergartner wrote it.

It’s from that worst version that you can start to improve it scene by scene. Waiting for your novel or even a chapter to be perfect will only harm you in the long run.