When I first started writing, I did it because I loved it. I wrote because it was fun, a way to pass the time, and because I couldn't seem to help it.
In high school I wrote for the school's newspaper. In my spare time I brainstormed book ideas and started writing manuscripts. By the time I got to college I was learning the art of journalism and creative writing while gaining experience in the field. I wrote for my college newspaper, some local magazines, and published an essay in a local literary journal.
Although I was doing all this writing, I never considered myself to be a "real" writer. In my mind, I wasn't worthy of the title until I published a book. This mindset proved to be detrimental to my overall writing and to my self-esteem as a writer.
When I realized my perspective was holding me back, I worked to change it. I took a step back, looked at what I'd already accomplished, and stopped beating myself up for the goals I was still working on.
I decided it was time to acknowledge that I was a writer. A real one. And with that acknowledgement came a sense of freedom and authority that I had never felt before. Now when I define what a "writer" is, I think of the following:
You May Be a Writer if...
You love to read and hoard books.
You think about writing constantly. And you write consistently.
You have vivid dreams that turn into plotlines.
You find yourself eavesdropping on stranger's conversations. You never know what juicy story will trigger an idea!
After meeting someone you start thinking they would make an interesting character.
You're interested in the literary industry.
You have a favorite writer(s) you look up to.
You loved English class as a kid and are still a Grammar Nazi.
You have dreams of being published- anywhere! Not just by a publisher.
You have a favorite or lucky pen.
If these 10 things sound like you, then chances are, you're probably a "real" writer too and it's time to start calling yourself by the proper name!