12 Signs That You Are a Writer At Heart (And 3 Signs You Are Not)

If you have ever wondered if you would have made a great writer, there are a few signs that you may have missed that would indicate something towards the truth. Even if you are only suspecting it now, after a stable career, a second degree or starting a family, it is never too late to start writing.

There are a lot of really good published authors in the world that did not start writing until they retire from their regular lives. Regardless of your age, you may have a great novel in you.

J.K. Rowling was never published before Harry Potter, and was turned down by 12 well-known publishers before being picked up by Bloomsbury, with only a 1,500 British Pounds advance. The only reason Bloomsbury’s editor, Barry Cunningham agreed was because he gave the first chapter to a chairman’s 8-year-old daughter Alice Newton to read and she demanded more.

I have met many writers that have the kind of talent it takes to top the New York Times Best Seller list with ease yet many of them do not publish their work. They write for the sheer joy of writing and most just post the work online for the world to enjoy. But if you ever wondered if you are a writer at heart, check out the following:

12 Signs You Are A Writer At Heart

Sign #1: Dream Writer

Have you ever fantasized about writing? Or have you just fantasized more than you think is normal? If you have a tendency to drift off to fantasy land you may be a writer. One of the traits of a great story teller is the ability to fantasize vividly. Many writers can do this at will and some can do it while keeping up with a conversation.

Sign #2: A Childhood Passion

Did you enjoy writing when you were young? If you enjoyed writing when you were a child, it could be a sign that you were meant to write. Children know what they like and tend to know what they will do with their life even if they cannot express it.

Take the child who is always concerned with the well being of others becoming a doctor or nurse, or the child who loved to sing being active in the church choir all her life. There are numerous examples.

Sign #3: A Born Screenwriter

Have you got a knack for figuring out Movie Plots? Writers think differently from others. While those around you are getting cheap thrills and are completely surprised by thriller movies, the natural writer is 10 scenes ahead in figuring out who the killer is or how the mystery is solved.

Many writers were surprised that the people in the theater around them watching The Sixth Sense did not know Bruce Willis was dead until the very end. To us, it was obvious around the midway point because there was no other way for the story to play out. Everyone loves a good story.

Sign #4: Reading Is (Forever) A Hobby

Do you absolutely love to read? Writers read. It is just a fact of life for us. That is not to say that everyone who reads can write, but the writer is drawn to books like ants to a picnic. If you love to write and were always an avid reader, well… need I say more?

Sign #5: No Glory? No Problem

Have you ever considered living like a pauper, and still want to write? Have you ever considered the prospect that if you committed yourself to writing full time, you might live in poverty and yet, you still want to write? If the writing is more appealing to you than living poorly is unappealing, you have the bug. Do you have the talent?

Sign #6: Can’t Stop Writing

Do you have more than a couple of notebooks filled with writing from cover to cover? When writers first start out, they write anywhere and everywhere. As children, we write on walls, then in journals, books and notebooks. Later, we find ourselves scribbling ideas on cocktail napkins and the backs of envelopes when nothing else is handy.

Anyone who has jumped out of bed after a dream and frantically searched in the dark for something to write with, and on, will know what I mean.

Sign #7: The Day Dreamer

Have you ever found yourself lost in thought? Have you ever found yourself totally immersed in your own thoughts when you should be focusing on something else and those thoughts are plots, poems or lyrics?

If you get an idea for a story stuck in your head and keep going back to it, even at inopportune moments, it is like a drive in you that forces you to follow through with an idea. This is a really good sign that you have a writer under the surface.

Sign #8:"Tell Us A Story"

Do children prefer you tell them a story of your own making rather than from a book? Kids can spot a writer a mile away. The very first time you tell a story, you may as well hang a storyteller sign that only children can read, around your neck.

Sign #9: What’s That Word?

When you come across a word you do not recognize, Do You NEED To find Its meaning? Writers are wordsmiths. We love to come across words we do not understand and more often than not, we can fathom the meaning by simply reading it in a sentence or formulating the point of the paragraph.

Still, we have to know for sure. We had several dictionaries and a thesaurus or two lying around the house. Does this sound like you?

Sign #10: Board Games Are Fun!

Do you find words more fun than a barrel full of board games? When it comes to playing games, most people like cards, monopoly, or other board games that move quickly or involve very little brain power. For them, fun means cycling down the mind and operating on autopilot.  

Writers are drawn to crosswords, scrabble and Trivia. What kind of games do you enjoy?

Sign #11: Long-Term Part Time Job

Do you write when you get the chance despite a hectic lifestyle or a tiring career? A natural born writer cannot help themselves. If they are not writing, they are thinking about writing. If they work 16 hours a day, they sleep six, write for one, and are driving back and forth the rest of the time.

When you are not writing, do you find yourself wishing you were? Do you make the time? If so, you are more than likely a writer at heart.

Sign #12: It’s 5 Already?

When you write, and this is real important, do you lose track of time? If you have ever found yourself sitting in front of your word processor at 3:30am when you meant to quit writing at midnight, you have skimmed the surface of the writer’s zone.

This is a magical world that somehow speeds up natural time. You begin to write and the next thing you know, you have eight thousand words and it is almost dawn. It is a wonderful and creative place that you long to revisit. If this is you, please think about showing your work to a publisher.

3 Signs you May Not be a Writer

And then, there are people who think they are writers, who are in the zone for a temporary high, but are basically not going to be in it for the long run. Are you in this side of the fence?

Sign #1: No To Criticism!

Do you take criticism well? If you are turned down by a publisher or told by someone, in whose opinion you put no stock, that you cannot write well and it just rolls off without the sting of being cut by a sharp knife, you may not be a writer. If there is one thing that almost all writers have in common, it is that we are a sensitive bunch of people who have feelings that are easily hurt when it comes to our life’s ambition.

We do not become so easily dissuaded or disillusioned, but it hurts like crazy when someone tells us we are not good at what we do regardless of who it is. The reason for this deep sensitivity is the amount of heart a writer puts into his or her work.

It is akin to being told by someone with whom you are deeply, madly, passionately in love with that they do not love you.

Sign #2: Bells And Whistles

Do you hate some parts of writing… like editing or proofing, rewriting or research? Any writer that tells you they hate to edit or that research is maddening is simply telling you what he or she thinks you want to hear. The fact is that writing is not just putting down meaningful words for us. We may whine and moan when it comes to some parts of our profession but we would not want to be doing anything else.

We love even the worst part of what we do. If you really dislike editing or researching, you may be good with words, but are you really in love with the profession?

Sign #3: Not A Bragging Right

Do you think of writing as a romantic profession, or something worth bragging about? Do you brag about being a writer or use it to impress the opposite sex? If you write to impress other people or because the idea of being a writer is somehow romantic to you, you may want to rethink what you are doing. If you write part time and dream of doing something else, you probably should.

If you write well enough to earn a little money online but are unconcerned with what you sell or to whom you sell it, you may actually being doing much more harm than good.

What it Means to be a Writer

Writing is a sacred calling that pulls at your soul.

It is the air that you breathe and what makes your heart continue beating. Your soul is filled with words that have no meaning until you sit down and pour them through your heart like a sieve. This is what writing is to the writer. The writing profession is unlike any other because it is not a profession to us. It is a way of life. We are drawn to it, sometimes despite our best efforts to pull away.

You will find us scribbling endlessly on scrap paper, writing during our lunch breaks at a corner table, and sitting at our computers for 20 hours at a time. We write because we have to write. Sometimes, our words are pleasing to other people and that is good. We write even when they are not. If this is not you, you may not be a writer. You may just be good at writing.

Cyril Connolly said it best when she wrote, ‘Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.’ So tell us, are you a writer at heart?


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