Not everyone has the confidence to call themselves a writer when they start out. Most of us add the word ‘aspiring’. Maybe we do it to be modest or to avoid raising expectations, but it can serve to temper the way other people perceive us.
It’s like saying you’re ‘kind of’ a writer, or ‘not quite’ a writer.
There are plenty of reasons why you should think about ditching the word ‘aspiring’. But how do you know it’s time?
1. You write on a regular basis
It doesn’t have to be every day, but you write as much as you can. Whether it’s a novel, poetry, a blog or a journal, nothing makes you happier than scribbling something onto the page.
2. You spend an indecent amount of time thinking about writing
In fact, you probably spend a lot more time thinking about writing than actually writing. It’s a curse.
3. You’re always coming up with new story ideas
Usually when whatever you’re working on at the moment gets difficult. Or when you’re at work, or driving, or in the shower.
4. You eavesdrop on other people’s conversations in public places
Don’t have a private conversation anywhere a writer might be lurking nearby, unless you’re prepared to find your personal drama used as material for their novel.
5. You always wonder
The details capture your imagination endlessly. You wonder about that woman walking past on the street: who she is, where she’s going, what her life is like. You wonder what would have happened if only you’d made a different decision at a certain point in your life. You wonder what it would be like to live in New York, or Hong Kong or Buenos Aires, or what it would have been like to live in the 19th century.
But it isn’t enough to wonder; you allow your imagination to fill in the gaps.
6. You worry endlessly that you don’t write enough
The flipside of writing regularly is worrying that you don’t write enough.
You compare yourself to more prolific writers or those celebrated authors who are younger than you and always come up short.
Beating yourself up over your work is a sure fire sign that you’re a writer.
7. You carry a notebook around with you, or have an app on your phone
Just in case the next big idea strikes while you’re out and about, or the perfect sentence materialises and you don’t want to forget it.
8. You keep a notebook beside the bed
Because your mind invariably experiences its most intense bursts of creativity just as you’re trying to fall asleep, but you’ve always forgotten everything by the morning.
9. You draft sentences in your mind
You just can’t help yourself; you find yourself murmuring strings of words to yourself wherever you are. And they’re always better than the ones you come up with at your desk.
10. Because you are one
Call it what you like: manifestation, ambition, dreaming, fate.
The first step to becoming a writer is acknowledging that this is who you are and allowing yourself to believe in the pursuit of your dreams.