Why am I doing that here? Often when I share a certain way I look at things, other people find it helpful or even share my observations. And I, for one, find that really neat. xD
So tell me: Have you noticed that there are literally a gazillion and one people who call themselves "writers" or at least say they "write"? This almost always comes up in the context of you having done something hard and amazing like self-publishing. And as this stranger is looking down their nose at your newly published child, they mention offhandedly that they write, too. Like it's no big deal. Or it is a big deal and they're part of the cool crowd. (It's really hard to tell which approach people take sometimes, but they're either downplaying it (and you) or putting it on a pedestal in envy.)
My point is that there is often a big difference between those who write and actually publish quality books and those who casually write for fun.
Here's how I spot a writer (as opposed to someone who plays with words):
- They have questions. Anyone serious about the craft will naturally want to learn from the greats. *cough*
- They're friendly instead of skeptical. As in "someday I'll do that too" instead of "why are you wasting your life?" Anyone who actually writes is intending to go somewhere with their writing and should be excited about that.
- They have a plan. You can't get anywhere without a plan. That's part of what finally set me into motion with Martin Hospitality. I finally had a vision for it which means I took the writing more seriously.
- They're excited. I've talked to a lot of people who claim to be writers, but they have a very nonchalant, meh attitude about it. I mean, I get tired of the writing process, but I don't get tired of the vision's end goal.
- Their mom brings it all up. Okay, so I'm not sure this a requirement xD Yet the fact remains that almost every "real" writer I've spotted hasn't brought it up to me. Their mom or their grandkid or whoever mentions that they like to write, and that's where the conversation begins. :)
Those are all some things I can pick up on in person from people who are actively pursuing their writing with a purpose and could end up somewhere. There are also some giveaways that won't be obvious without probing an individual, but they're fodder to ask yourself if you're serious:
- Is it a priority? Before I was truly serious about my writing, I liked doing it, but if I wrote very spontaneously and if I hit a rough patch I'd stop. Or worse, skip the rest of the scene and writing something else in my head. *gasp* If you're already prioritizing writing over basically anything (Netflix, lunch, sleep, Instagram), that's a good sign! Although that doesn't mean shoving life to the side is always healthy ;)
- Does it make you happy? To a certain level, you should enjoy writing. You can stink at grammar or easily get writer's block, but the idea of writing and seeing things come together should still be enjoyable to you.
- Does it make you insecure, frustrated, or stressed? Just because you enjoy writing doesn't mean it's always going to be easy or happy. Honestly some "negative" emotions and feelings about it can be just as strong as sign that you're taking it seriously, I would think. If you're insecure, it's because you want it to be good enough. Frustrated because you're pretty sure it's not good enough. Stressed because you're taking it seriously and not getting where you want to. Don't worry! This is normal.
- How determined are you? The real question is how do you respond to the sometimes not-so-glorious part of writing? If you're determined and patient enough, you can get there. It could take months, or it could take years. If you're determined enough to find a way around (or through) your problems, then congratulations. You're a real writer.
My last question is will the real writer become an author? First, please realize that you can be a writer without being an author. Absolutely. But to me there really is no greater tragedy than to be a real writer and not publish.
I cannot stand when people explain their writing and everything tells me they're the dedicated, real deal. And then they say something like "Oh, but I could never show anyone." ... o_o It's the insecurity again, which I totally understand! Don't get me wrong; that's not fun. But why on earth would you put in all that energy and love, only to hoard the finished product? It's one thing if the writing is personal and not something to impact other people, but it's another thing to sit on the power of the Holy Spirit out of fear.
I really hope I'm not coming across judgmental! There's nothing wrong with being reluctant because everyone is to some degree at some point. I just think it's tragic not to ever move past that point. I guess it's important to me because of how sad it is for the world to be robbed of something beautiful that could change lives. Of course it takes hard work to get there, but the eternal significance may never be known this side of heaven. Don't you want to find out how far God can take you? 'Cause I can tell you just how many people your writing going to impact sitting in a forgotten notebook on your shelf.
Thoughts on this post? Based on what I provide here, how serious of a writer do you think you are? There's nothing wrong with being a hobby writer! I'm just curious ;)