So your current work-in-progress looks like it might never see the light of day. Yet, when your friends and colleagues ask what you do, you itch to say that you’re a writer. How can you say that? What makes you think you’re a writer? What gall you must have! Here is a list of seven traits that I can relate to, and hey, I call myself a writer. Read the list and maybe you’ll have more confidence in yourself and your projects as well.
Are You a Writer? 7 Traits that Writers Have in Common
by Liz StraussNaturally, if the idea of a writer is self-defined, I can’t tell you when you will feel that you can call yourself a writer. However, I can tell you a few things about writers that seem to be true about writers — from every first grader I taught to every great writer I’ve ever researched.
- A writer is a paradox of ego and self-doubt. We need both to keep on task and to keep in control. Knowing oneself is the only way to invest in the work and still be able to let go when it’s time to stand back and revise it.
- Writers often start out feeling like an imposter. The message we’re told is that the writing is strong and compelling, or well on its way, but we think the messenger could be mistaken.
- Writers get lost if they compare themselves and their work to other writers. The same is true if they write for approval.
- Even the most inexperienced writer knows when the writing is wonderful. The problem is that we have to learn how to tell when the writing is not good and how to have the courage to fix it.
- Writer’s block is fear, or exhaustion, or both. It can be managed if we know its source.
- Every writer is in a self-actualizing process. Writing is an apprenticeship. A writer is always becoming a writer.
- Nothing in life can prepare you to be a writer, except everything in your life.
- I would say the best advice is to paraphrase Troy Worman. “Don’t wait for permission to be a writer.”
Every day I write, I learn something about myself and other people.
How do I know I’m a writer? Try as I might to avoid it, I simply must write.