Telling people you are a writer is like telling people you’re dating a guy that just got out of prison. For murder. They don’t understand it, and they think you’re crazy, telling you not to quit your day job.
I often hear other writers (from this point on in my life, I am a writer, period) talk about the transition from being what they were previously, to calling themselves a writer. Here is where I make the distinction.
So previous to being a writer, I was a few things. I sold insurance, I owned a few businesses and then I was a teacher. I knew I wanted to teach since I was a kid, about just as long as I wanted to be a writer.
I went to college and studied English, still hiding the writer inside of me like Clark Kent hid his Superman getup. And after being successful at so many other things, the writer in me started kicking and screaming, begging to be set free.
Saying you are a writer, and actually being an author-two different things. You know you are an author when you walk around with characters in your head that speak to you (no I’m not schizophrenic, trust me, I’ve asked). You find inspiration in everything around you, including songs on the radio and cereal boxes.
But most of all, you know you are a writer when you pursue it with everything you have, like you would the man or woman of your dreams. You chase it without fear of being made a fool of, or rejected. You give it everything you have hoping it will say “I love you” first, and then dream of enjoying the fruits of your labors; not little kids that look like you, but recognition, accolades and respect.
Yes, being a writer is a lot like being in love. And I hate to say it is only from experience that I know.