5 Ways to Know You’re Really a Writer

Typewriter Old


So, the other day, I arrived bright and early for the morning shift at my job. One coworker remarked that I looked too bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for somebody who was going to work at 6 am. I explained to her that I woke up at 4 in order to write a little before I came in, since I prefer writing in the morning. Cue the dumbfounded stare.

“But, why would you do that?” she asked.

Confused, I answered, “Well, because I’m a writer.”

“But why?”

I imagine that this a question a lot of people get asked when they reveal their writerly inclinations. I’ve noticed that a lot of people want to be writers, but are in shock when someone is actually writing. For a lot of fledgling writers, this kind of reaction can be a bit discouraging and make them wonder why they go about this whole writing business in the first place instead of, say, watching Netflix or eating gallons of ice cream.

After Googling, I found that there’s a lot of vague, hand-circling “You just know” advice going around for new authors who want to know whether they’re really cut out to be a writer. So, today I’d like to discuss some concrete ways that let you know whether you’re a writer or whether your time would be better spent doing something else entirely.


You love words
And books. And movies. And videogames. And tales around the campfire. Any and all forms of storytelling fascinate you! You like taking them and tinkering with them, or just enjoy staring rapt into the beautiful illusions that they create.

For people who write, words are magic, and you want to be the best magician you can possibly be.


Writing is when you’re happiest
Now, I don’t mean this in a “writing is full of sunshine and kittens” kind of way. I also don’t mean it in a “you always need to be writing” kind of way. What I mean is that you get a deep sense of contentment from putting pen to page or fingers to keyboard.

For example, last night, I was procrastinating. I told myself that I needed to write, even though I was tired and unmotivated. I wasted time on writing blogs, Facebook, staring out of the window…you name it. But, when I finally started writing, all of that faded away. When I was creating stories, it was just me and the page and getting down the things in my head.

It’s one of the best feelings in the world.


You have “The Dream”
The Dream.

The capitalized, “this would be the best thing ever” Dream.

The Dream isn’t about awards or book clubs or bestseller lists. The Dream is about how you envision your own success and passion. My version of The Dream is about imagining that I’m in a bookstore and I run my fingers down the spine of my very first published novel.

The Dream is about thinking that the most amazing thing in the world is the work that you do.


You work hard
The saying “10% inspiration, 90% perspiration” is one of the best ways to know that you’re a writer. Writers work hard on their craft. They don’t necessarily write every day or write thousands of words at a time, but they are determined to carve out their story, even if it’s only inches at a time. They make writing a priority in their hearts and in their schedules and then they get down to work.


You are fascinated by the craft
One of the reasons why writing blogs are such fabulous time-wasters for writers is because most of them talk about the craft of writing.

Whether it’s outlining, character creation, or even worldbuilding, there’s a constant cycle of new information, new challenges, and new techniques to try in the writing world. Writers embrace this endless pursuit of the craft with wonder and eagerness. They know that every bit of knowledge makes them stronger craftspeople (so long as it doesn’t veer into Procrastination Station, that is!)

So, there you are–my five ways to tell whether or not you’re a real writer. If you can think of any other definite ways, share your ideas in the comments below!



Guest post contributed by the blogger Sara, who is an aspiring author and loves books of all genres and lengths. Check out her blog for more of her articles.

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67 thoughts on “5 Ways to Know You’re Really a Writer

  1. Thanks an entertaining an informative article although I’m not tempted to get up at 4am and write.

    When I am brave enough to tell people I’m trying to write a book I am amazed at the number of people who either know someone who is or are about to themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great blog post. I was starting to waver lately because of changes in my life when I realized that I had the “bug” in my system and I can’t really stop. I can slow down, melt down but not shut down. I think this is how you know you’re a writer. You just can’t not write something, whether it’s a long letter, a blog post, a story or a novel. Writing is who you are.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I like “can slow down or melt down but not shut down.” Exactly right. I love writing anything – from blog replies to thank you notes 🙂


  3. When I get up at 5 to write I sometimes wonder if I’m mad. I always thought most writers scribbled late into the night. It’s good to know I’m not the only morning writer.


  4. Great ones here!
    I had a friend, who considers herself a writer as well, compliment me the other day and it kind of threw me for a loop. The compliment was on how dedicated I’ve been to my work, how consistent (and insistent) I’ve been with my writing time (and making sure that I have some). What threw me was that it seemed compliment-worthy. That’s what writers do, isn’t it? Find the time wherever, and whenever, they can.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. = me!

    Also me…you know you’re a knitter when:
    1. You love yarn & cannot resist feeling it.
    2. Knitting is when you are the most peaceful & content.
    3.You have dreams of the creations to come & you can spend hours browsing patterns for the next “right” one to make.
    4.You work hard at learning new stitches a & are always on the look out for more to try. You also love combining colors and textures.
    5.You are fascinated by the craft & desire to teach others.


  6. I do all of these! The second and fifth are especially true. There is nothing that makes me feel as satisfied as writing. There is something about bringing a story into existence and creating characters that makes me feel so alive. That being said, I do tend to procrastinate by reading online articles about the writing craft. At least I’m getting useful information while I’m wasting time. 🙂


  7. Very interesting and encouraging. You allude to something that has my attention: I am wanting to move from blogging to more serious writing; I find that blogging is a bit of a distraction; you seem to say that, too. What is the next step? How does one advance from blogging to greater things?


  8. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    I love his points! Some of them I had not thought of. I do love words and am fascinated by the craft. My dream was to publish a book. I did that. Now my dream is to publish a book that will sell. Minor mistake on my part. The ‘work hard’ part is another area I fail in. When the words and ideas are flowing I enjoy writing immensely and can spend hours at the computer typing away, never realizing how long I’d been typing. However, when I’m stuck then, no, I hate writing. I yell at the computer and demand that it straighten up and get on track. I’ll go do every other thing but write. The novel that is currently being edited did that to me. I had to make some major changes which were not easy to do. Not being a quitter, I persevered and finished it. I’m dreading the red marks I expect to see.


  9. Sounds like me 🙂 I’d say you also know you’re a writer when an idea just hits you in the middle of the night when you’re laying in bed, and all you want to do is jot it down before you forget it. I find it hard to turn my mind off.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Aha, I had a moment like yours a while back. 2am on a school night and I couldn’t sleep because I kept putting words together for a little clip of a story . . . didn’t sleep until I was done. 😀


  11. I recall, early in my writing career, talking about wanting to write a book. I met a lot of people who were similarly “idea folks,” that is, they had an idea for a book by hadn’t done anything else. After finally getting the first book published, I found people were surprised to learn I was a published author, and many offered to tell me they had an idea for a book…and so it went for the second. See the trend here?
    I write because I cannot imagine not writing.
    I write because I love the amazing ability of words in various combinations to create moments and worlds.
    We write because we are compelled to.
    And I firmly believe there is more than one good story in each us.
    There is nothing wrong with being an idea person; for me, my fingers and mind refuse remain still long enough.

    Thanks for the great insights!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Me too, It seems I can only write in early in the morning. Meaning short stories and the little novella that´s in the process. The poems is another thing. And my circle of friends and family they will say on pretty much a constant basis ” to get a job” I tell them this is a job, doesn´t seem to get into their skulls. The problem with me is that after a 10 year hiatus of not writing and just started again 2 years ago, well I´m addicted to it. If I don´t write anything in a day, I just feel like something is missing. Might be just a little poem written in some napkin, but I have to do it. And I don´t bother too much about the getting published although it is a goal of mine and would love to, but I don´t sweat it. I just get lost in my world and I love it, I enjoy it, I even giggle at the things I write since I have no clue why but when writing short stories my life might be in a disarray but most of them all come in comedy form, quite strange. I take the some negative aspects of my life and twist them to form a fictional fantasy that most of the time comes out as I said in a comedy form. Maybe is also a form of therapy, who knows. I just know that writing has become like air for me, can´t live without it.


  13. And I quote “One of the reasons why writing blogs are such fabulous time-wasters for writers is because most of them talk about the craft of writing.” this is so true! Every time I am really excited about something new I am writing I want to tell the world, which means my blog and the smattering of people following it. Luckily I linked my blog to Facebook and Twitter. Indeed, this is the thing that gets me every time. Well said.


  14. Reblogged this on UniBookworm and commented:
    Personally for me, you know you’re a writer when you write simply for the pure joy to create something. Even if no one reads it, likes it or comments it, in all honesty it doesn’t matter. You keep writing anyway, because you do it because you love it. Because there’s nothing better than seeing your own work published in your blog with the self gratification that you created that 😉

    Most of all, it’s all about being written to you and whether or not some one reads it – remains insignificant. You write because you simply want to – not for self validation. 😉

    And that is why unibookworm exists! To me there’s nothing better than having my blog opened in my browser whenever I’m doing uni work, to look at what I created and astounding myself that I did that 😉 Will you join me today in being fearless in sharing your writers voice?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve always loved to write and read. Even before I knew I wanted to write stories, I was writing. I started writing in a journal when I was five and I wrote song-poems when I was eight (they were more poems than songs). And when I was nine I started writing short stories and such. My entire life, I’ve always been fascinated by journals and pens and notebooks. I will literally go to the store and just spend time in the office supply section, looking at all the journals and different colored pens. And libraries are my home away from home. I think I’m a writer, too:)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I would add a 6th way to know you are a writer. A true writer never stops wanting to learn more about writing. They listen to other writers. They learn from other writers and from reading. A true writer is always improving their own work, or at least trying to improve it.

    Thanks for this post. I’m adding it to my Facebook Group Forum, Writer’s and Authors.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. “Writing is when you’re happiest” – I agree with this idea so much. I find that it’s not just those times when I’m physically engaged in putting words on the page, but rather the fulfillment I get from going through the writing process, from inception of an idea, to writing the first draft, and then polishing the story into its final form. I love the feeling when lots of disparate ideas come together to spark a classic “Eureka!” moment. Stephen King described a similar sensation in “On Writing” when he formed the idea for “Carrie.”


  18. You’re a writer when you want to read every writer in the bookstore. Droll in disappointment at the many books you’ll have to leave behind in the library and tell yourself, you’ll be back to dust off your own book someday.


  19. Good list. The Dream element is the one that usually gets overlooked in the discussions or confessions, maybe because there’s an assumption it’s about the tweed-coat bestseller ambition. I like the fact you make it personal. For me, connecting with readers is the core “dream,” along with possibly earning enough to see the world. But the Dream can also change over time. Early on, it was simply to have that first manuscript completed.


  20. All of this. Even on a bad day when I’m feeling down about my writing ability or story, if someone asks me about how I do some writing process, I can blather on and on, which leads to tangents that will more than likely lead me to talking about some aspect of my WIP for an example.


  21. Beautifully said 🙂
    What buffled me the most is when other people who do write ask me, “Why you do that?” Why do you do NaNoWriMo? Why do you revise your first page 30 times? Why do you listen to criticism? Why do you waste your time reviewing other writers’ work?
    I really don’t understand this.
    But I understand you 😉


  22. I love this line – “My version of The Dream is about imagining that I’m in a bookstore and I run my fingers down the spine of my very first published novel.”

    It’s such a wonderful vision.

    Personally, I know I am a writer because when I don’t understand myself… I can rely on my writing to express everything for me.


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