When you struggle into the night, trying to find words that don’t come. When you complete yet another manuscript, but nobody wants to buy it. When you have no prize, no award, no title to hang beside your desk.
When ten thousand doubts assail your spirit and make you wonder if you’re a writer or an imposter.
How do you know if you’re a writer?
The answer is not easy, but it is simple.
You’re a writer when you write.
That’s really all to it.
It doesn’t mean you’re a good writer. That takes time and work.
It doesn’t mean you’re a successful writer. That takes time, work and luck.
Being a writer isn’t like being a doctor. You don’t have to take exams to qualify, and you don’t need a panel of judges to give you permission to write.
You can just start.
There are things that don’t make you a writer, however.
Dreaming about writing doesn’t make you a writer. Buying all the notebooks in the world doesn’t make you a writer. Living like a bohemian artist doesn’t make you a writer.
Navel gazing and acting the part never puts words on paper.
You should know that it isn’t going to be easy, either.
There are days when nothing comes. There are days when the best you can do looks like mud. And there are days when you just don’t feel like starting, but you promise yourself that tomorrow — you’ll get to it tomorrow.
Facing the blank page takes courage. Sweating out the words takes grit. Overcoming your doubts takes heart.
But when you do — you’re a writer.
Does it sound weird to declare yourself a writer when you don’t make money from it, or get recognized for writing?
J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter when she was living on welfare. Stephen King wrote his breakout novel, Carrie, when he was teaching and washing laundry to make ends meet.
They were writers before the world declared them writers.
Do you write, even if it’s ‘only’ in your diary? Writer. Do you write when you have something you want to say, and no other way to say it? Writer. Do you write because it’s the only way you can release the anger and despair you hold inside your soul? Writer. Do you write because it brings you joy and makes your soul sing? Writer.