(7 Tips to Tell the Difference)
Jennifer Brown Banks

Forget what you’ve been told. You knowâÂ?¦the school of thought that suggests that all that’s required to be a writer is merely to “claim it.” Hogwash!
A lawyer is not a lawyer by merely “claiming it,” nor a doctor, nor a teacher, nor any other professional. Why would it be any different for a writer?

Disregard too, the popular premise that if you pen thoughts to paper, you are by virtue thereof, a writer. Malarkey!
That would mean that every person that commits entries to a journal would qualify as well.
Writing is more than an act or practice; it’s a mindset, a lifestyle, a calling. Though there is no concrete, consistent definition that serves as “gospel,” the following principles and practices separate “real writers” from those who merely write.

1. Do you find that you never really seem to have enough time to write? A real writer makes the time. He/she will steal time during lunch breaks at work, while the kids are napping, or during a Sunday sermon at church. Though he/she may not write everyday, it is a function performed on a regular basis. You can’t be a real writer unless you write. It’s like the lottery commercial that states “you can’t win if you don’t play!”

2. Are you an avid reader? Real writers have a love affair with words-whether their own, or the works of others. It’s impossible to be a real writer without studying what works for readers and applying it.

3. Do you have a natural curiosity for things? Real writers are inquisitive, analytical creatures. Writers never stop learning or asking questions.

4. Would you write for free? A real writer will write for free, for food, or for a song! He/she is not solely motivated by money or prestige. True scribes write because we must!

5. Do you sometimes forfeit sleep or food to be creative? A real writer will survive on 2 hours of sleep or 2 cups of coffee when immersed in a poem, play or project. Not only is writing a passion, it’s a compulsion.

6. Does writing come more easily for you than others? Do family members and friends often seek your assistance in writing letters, church programs, term papers, performance reviews, etc.? While others consider writing a chore, real writers find it a joy.

7. Do you write with others in mind? A real writer takes measures to “connect” with a potential audience, whether it’s one person or one hundred. He/she cares about the reader’s experience. Writing is not so much about perfect grammar or punctuation, it’s more about successfully communicating and conveying ideas. It’s about being a voice for the voiceless.

If you answered yes to at least 5 of the above questions, congratulations! You are indeed a “real writer.”

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