When people ask what you do for a living and you answer ‘oh I’m a writer’ is there a small niggling thing in the back of your mind that makes you doubt yourself just a smidgen? I get that. I now don’t tell people I write, and much prefer telling them about my day job.
But sometimes there are moments when you do something and you just think, that’s how I know I’m a writer. So don’t ever doubt yourself. These are eleven of my favourite reasons that show you’re a writer:
- You have vivid dreams. This one is always a good giveaway. You imagination runs wild in your waking hours and the stories come to you in sharp and vibrant bursts. So there’s no surprise that when you’re brain switches off, your subconscious takes over and it’s not that different. You find your sleep is riddled with new and vivid adventures. Do you ever wake up and jot down a dream because it was such a good idea for a story? I know I do…
- You read, quite a lot. If you’re not writing, then you’re reading, and then when you finish reading, you read a bit more. My house is piled high with books and most of them aren’t even written by me. That’s right, I’m a book hoarder.
- You get too involved. When I’m reading other stuff, or even watching the TV, I find I get way too involved with the characters and I get so emotionally attached that before I know it, I’m blubbering away after someone who had only appeared for three seconds has died. That could be a sad state of affairs but there’s more. Not only do I become overly involved, I find myself analysing stuff, assessing whether something is written well or not.
- You always carry a pen. And a book. Rule number one of being a writer I’m afraid. Sometimes you just don’t know where inspiration might strike. I remember writing one of the first chapters of my historical novel on the back of a receipt. I was lucky I carried a pen!
- You have an unnatural collection of notebooks. I literally have drawers filled with notebooks. Most have been written and doodled in with notes about this, that and the other but a lot of them are still empty and it all comes down to the fact that I can’t help myself. Paperchase is my favourite shop, do you know why? Because their notebooks are just so darn beautiful. Can I buy one? No, there’s no space in the drawer and I can’t come up with a tangible use for yet another one.
- Everywhere you go, the ‘what if’ question pops up. I love this. I love sitting in a coffee shop and hearing somebody on the phone. A good example of the ‘what if’ scenario was when I was coming home on the train one day last week. There were two guys, one of which was largely overweight and was behaving in a way that made me think he had autism. He’d said something to his buddy that had caught my attention. Next thing I know, he’s looking out the window and reading numbers out loud. Well I’m sat there thinking ‘what if’ these two blokes were travelling the country train spotting. They had a large hiking bag with them and a small foldable chair. ‘What if’ they’d inherited loads of money and were travelling the world look for trains? Now ‘what if’.
- Stories come naturally to you. I don’t find it hard to think of stories, in fact they’re pretty much everywhere you look. When I was at school and on parade, the younger girls would find themselves bored silly, so what would I do? I’d tell them a story or two to pass the time. It might have been one that I’d already written, or one that I was making up as I went along. It didn’t matter, but they loved it.
- You get excited by stories. Nothing makes me happier than a good story. In fact the most common phrase that I say is ‘I’m really enjoying this book’ and living with someone who doesn’t have a love for books suppresses my inner book nerd. But that doesn’t mean it’s kept quiet and I’ll often find myself so excited, I’m telling him all about the characters and what’s happened so far. Normally he can’t keep up as I’m talking so fast, but it’s a great feeling.
- You love to people watch. Now don’t deny it. This is something you do to pass the time, a hobby as such. Let’s face it, almost everyone loves to people watch and it can be great fun in busy city centres. Why not grab a coffee and park your bum in the window seat?
- You have an unexplainable fascination with books. Anything book related peaks your interest. It could be bookmarks, book quotes, book shaped things, next you’ll be wanting a book perfume.
- You’re a bit mad and everyone tells you so. There’s nothing wrong with that. Lewis Carroll once said: ‘You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.’