You Know You're a Writer When . . .

Bloom where you're planted  Photo by Linda Wilson
You have a desire to express yourself. It won't go away. Pieces come out in your everyday life. At work. At home. With the people you know and love. With acquaintances and strangers, too. You might trek to the farthest reaches of the earth and sea. Start your own business, a new hobby; begin an exercise program, pick up a musical instrument. Go into politics or find volunteer opportunities. Yet you still want to do more. So, you sit down and write. You become a writer.

As busy as you are with your life, have you ever wondered where this desire to write comes from? You may be a physician/writer, a teacher/writer or a writer/writer. But deep down you know: Writing is your heart and you never want to stop.

The reasons one becomes a writer are as varied as life itself. Some of them are collected here, for you to ponder and perhaps to remind you of your own beginning, when you first noticed that pulse that beat so strong inside that it spilled onto the page and hasn't stopped. It's only grown. And you've grown, too.

You know you're a writer when you . . .

. . . Enjoy looking up words in the dictionary and thesaurus.
  • Speaking from personal experience, I like nothing better than to look up words. I am now in the market for an electronic dictionary/thesaurus. Any recommendations left as a comment would be appreciated.
. . . Are willing to forgo a social life, belonging to clubs, playing bridge, etc.
  • Years ago, I read an article where best-selling author Barbara Taylor Bradford (A Woman of Substance, and twenty-nine other books), was quoted as saying that you must choose between having a busy social life or becoming a serious author. In a recent article where Bradford offered writing tips she wrote: "First and foremost, you need to be serious about your desire to become a published author. It takes an extraordinary amount of time, effort and dedication to hone your skills and produce a work worthy of publication. But like anything else, if you possess the talent and the determination, you will likely succeed."
. . . Love the process without concerning yourself with the end result. Your mind is always working on an idea or problem for an article or story.
  • Newbery medalist and well-loved children's author Betsy Byars described one of the best things about our craft in the reference book, Something About the Author,  " . . . creativity. I can't define it, but I have found from experience that the more you use it, the better it works."
. . . Are willing to keep learning your craft and grow.
  • In the article, "Timeless Advice on Writing from Famous Authors," June 18, 2012 published  by Brainpickers, Chilean novelist Isabel Allende is quoted as saying, "Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too."
. . . Keep working and don't give up despite any odds against you, such as rejections, self-doubt and lack of time.
  • Through the years, I've heard successful writers and editors say that it's sad. Many talented writers give up too soon. They've become discouraged because of the demands that come with being a published author. If they had hung on a little longer, their work would have been ready.
. . . Want to share what you've learned.
  • A Catholic nun was the first person who encouraged me to write. I had made puppets and a puppet stage and written and adapted puppet plays for the children in our church when my daughters were very young. She told me how my project could help others if I would take the time to share what I had done. The article I wrote and photographs I included became my first published piece. Thanks to her encouragement I learned right from the start the satisfaction that comes from sharing our work.
. . . Have become a good listener, a good observer, a good student of life.
  • "A writer, early and late, does a lot of listening at doors . . ." Richard Peck, Newbery-medalist
I hope you will take the time to leave a comment about how you got started on your creative path.

Next month: You Know You're a Writer When . . . Part II


Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, recently completed Joyce Sweeney's online fiction course. Linda has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is in the final editing stages of her first book, a mystery story for 7-10 year olds. Follow her on Facebook. 


Kathleen Moulton said...

Hi, Linda,

How I got started...

After marriage and raising 8 children, I had forgotten about my love of writing. Until one day, about 5 years ago, while coming out of my local grocery store, I noticed a stack of pamphlets from a local college offering courses. So I grabbed one.

I found a course that interested me - writing for children. I had never went to college or took a course. But something kept pulling at me and I signed up.

It awakened what was buried inside for so long. That's when I got serious about writing.

I enjoyed the creativity of your article. Looking forward to part 2!

Linda Wilson said...

Hi Kathleen, thank you for sharing how you got started. It pulls at my hearts strings how your desire was so strong it led you to take a course that helped propel you to where you are today. Wow, that is terrific! Thanks for the compliment on the article. It makes me smile because twice before I got started I was told I wasn't creative, once by a guy I knew and once by a ballet teacher. That was before I learned that creativity can be learned and developed. I wouldn't want anyone within my reach to believe that they aren't creative. It just isn't so!

Anonymous said...

Now I got through so I guess we are connected. The second edition of my book THE BLOUNT GUIDE TO READING, SPELLING AND PRONOUNCING ENGLISH is now out. All the schools I have been to have bought it and the students of my courses also I gave a one day course to 9 directors from 5 campuses in Mexico City and they bought all I had of the 1st edition. The schools only need one as a reference book especially on making material but some of the individual teachers by it. Thanks for letting me comment on your blog. Mine is
'See' you next month. Love, Beverley Blount

Linda Wilson said...

Congratulations, Beverley.

Magdalena Ball said...

Nice post. I can't remember not being a writer, Linda. Reading and writing have always been part of my sense of self.

Linda Wilson said...

Thank you, Maggie. That is neat that reading and writing have always been a part of you. That's what Stephen King said when I looked up his website while researching this post. That he's always been a writer. It has come to you naturally, which has got to be the best way!

elysabeth said...


What do you mean you are looking for an electronic dictionary/thesaurus? Can't you use the online dictionary/thesaurus or do you want something specific? and - there is also this one - --- not really sure what you mean by electronic but these are the ones I use the most (well I also have a medical dictionary for work that I use but I'm pretty sure it is tied into the site).

As far as sharing when I started writing, on a dare. I was challenged by an online friend who is a writer to enter a contest and I had never written anything before and so she kind of goaded me into doing the contest - I'll enter if you enter; it'll be fun; we can comment on each other's stories until submission to the contest. Mind you, I wasn't planning on entering the contest at all but after her continuous chats and pleads to get me to do it, I succumbed and wrote a story. I took a shared second place while she took first place on that contest. I entered another contest shortly after that first one and took first place, having entered a third contest a couple of months later and taking a second place prize. The contest between the first place story and second place story was a runner up story, which is now available as an ebook ("Butterfly Halves").

My shared second place story, "Train of Clues", is available in print and as an ebook and was the predecessor to my now on-hold state mystery series.

The first place story ("The Tulip Kiss") is available as an ebook and the second place story ("The Proposal" an April Fool's romance story) is also available as an ebook.

I have also put several other short stories up as ebooks and my only novel, which is a sort of NaNo writing (I wrote for the 30 days but my calendar went from the middle of November to the middle of December, reaching the goal of 50,000 words in that 30 days, actually finishing out at about 56,000 words) so it's kind of my NaNo writing (FINALLY HOME - a Kelly Watson, YA paranormal mystery) is also available in print, ebook and as an audiobook.

I'm writing but have slowed down because my life took a serious downward spiral in the last year and I have been struggling to get back on track to write some more stories and submit to anthologies and contests as well as get the second novel in my Kelly Watson, YA paranormal mystery series out (THE TIES OF TIME). Maybe I'll have a stellar next year and will get more pieces out (I have one I really need to work on called The Exes that I want to publish and then there is another story I have the nigglings of called Imogene: Innocence Lost that needs to be finished and published). Anyway - yes - as a writer we see all kinds of things in life, in work, in everything we do that lead to ideas that could possibly end up being a published story.

Thanks for sharing an informative article - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
FINALLY HOME (a Kelly Watson YA paranormal mystery)
"The Tulip Kiss" (a ghost romance short story)
"Butterfly Halves" (a YA fantasy of two sisters who feel the power of the butterfly)
"The Proposal" (an April Fool's day, humorous romance story)
"Bride-and-Seek" (a ghost romance story selected for the SCWW anthology - The Petigru Review)

Linda Wilson said...

Hi Elysabeth, I had no idea you've had to slow down on your writing. I see you on Facebook and love to read your posts. Thank you for sharing your writing journey. The downs are tough to live with but it sounds like you've taken it in stride and haven't missed a beat in planning your next stories. You got off to such an impressive start by winning contests. That is awesome! Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us. Next year will be your stellar year. I predict it. I can tell because you're so committed. So best of luck with your current story ideas and please keep us posted.

Karen Cioffi said...

Linda, great post. I loved writing since childhood, but left it for quite a while to become an accountant. I found my way back though!

Oh, I have another one: 'you're a writer when' you'd rather write than watch TV. LOL

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great post Linda. I always wrote. A notebook filled with my scribbles was besides my bed. Still I didn't consider myself a writer. Then one day...after reading some of my writings and writer some more, I knew I was a writer.

Linda Wilson said...

Thank you, Mary Jo. It sounds like you always wrote, too, right from the start. And probably always will.

Linda Wilson said...

Thank you, Karen. You found your way back in a big way, too! Ha, choosing writing over TV is the biggest reason yet to be a writer!

Debbie A Byrne said...

Good points about social life. I belong to two writing groups, altho one only meets regularly. I also belong to two other organizations, but they do not meet every month. People are busy, so it's hard to get together with others anyway. And then sometimes there is bad weather or illness, which can create more time for writing, depending on other circumstances involved. And I don't watch much TV!

Linda Wilson said...

Thanks, Debbie. In the past I had to make a decision whether to join clubs and be active in our town or write. I had learned that I couldn't do both. I would love to go to teas and activities that some of the women I know do (though I've never been good at bridge--a few of the women play lots of bridge, I doubt I'd be one of them). I've resisted though. Barbara Taylor Bradford's quote has always stuck in my mind.

Unknown said...

As always, I'm so proud you are my Mother :) I was so hooked from the first sentence. Brilliant post. It is my favorite one so far. I hate to admit I haven't been writing recently... but I can relate big time to the sentiments of needing to express myself. I suppose I have not found the outlet that "fits" yet, but it will come, no doubt.

Love, Tracy

Linda Wilson said...

Thank you, Tracy. The feeling is definitely mutual! Yes, your creative force is stronger than most. Right now you're getting the basics down. Just wait. Your muse will present itself when the time is right. I predict you will do multiple creative endeavors--it's all art and you are a terrific artist of life!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Linda,
You know you're a writer when you continually think of fun circumstances and horrible situations for characters!

Thanks for posting such a fun article.

Never Give Up

Linda Wilson said...

Hi Joan, that's a good one. And so true! Thanks for writing.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Linda, you'll see my comment on Google Plus! BTW, there are several Linda Wilson's on Google Plus. Hopeing you'll find it easier to find me with that hyphoenated last name! (-:

Linda Wilson said...

Hi Carolyn, very funny! Ditto on being interrupted. Thanks for commenting.

StepmomShawn said...

Hi Linda,
I loved this article! I completely relate to the points you made about how to know when you are a writer. I am a new author, but have always loved writing and have always wanted to be a writer. However, the desire hit most intensely when I became a stepmother. That's when I knew I needed to write a book. As an educator, I thought being a stepmom would be easy. Boy, was I wrong! And then, when I discovered how little support there was out there, I knew I needed to write a book that would help, encourage, and support stepmoms everywhere. So, that's what I did! I interviewed stepmoms and wrote their stories and my stories in my first book, Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms. The entire experience was so therapeutic and fun. I'm excited to say that I've been picked up by a small publishing house, 4RV Publishing. My book is scheduled for release early 2016. While I'm waiting to start the editing process, I decided to start my second book about stepdads. They need their voices heard, too. I've definitely gotten the "writing bug"! I'm hooked! I have so many book ideas swirling around in my head. I'm loving being connected with other writers on all of these blogs and websites. Again, thanks for the great article.

All the best,
Shawn Simon

Karen Cioffi said...

Hey, Shawn, I'm a 4RV author and editor!

Linda Wilson said...

Hi Shawn, what a terrific comment! Thanks for sharing your writing experience. Congrats on your writing success. Your ideas are terrific. Please keep us posted of your progress!

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