There is a question that normally pops up around NaNoWriMo time that always makes me think. It's usually something along the lines of: "Are you a real writer?" or "You know you're a writer when..."
I all ready know I'm a writer and I believe that the reason is different for every writer out there. It's just like how the way I write won't work for everyone else, the reason I write or how I know I'm a writer will be different for everyone else.
Despite this I think there are a few things that every writer has in common.
Perseverance: You can also call it determination. It's the simple fact that even if we're rejected or we fail that we'll keep trying no matter what. We'll plaster our walls with rejection letters before giving up on getting a book published and if we can't get it traditionally published we'll work on being the best damned self-published author we can be. And if we fail at that, Hell, we'll STILL keep writing because at some point we will write a book that someone will take a chance on. It could also be called sheer madness. (I jest)
Ambition: This is the WILL to succeed and goes hand in hand with perseverance. It's the desire to succeed and sometimes it's the only thing that will keep you going.
Tough Skin: I don't mean this literally. I mean that most of writers either have or develop (or have to develop) a hard outer shell so they can take criticism without spiraling into depression or whatever. It takes a strong person to keep coming back after negative feedback and trying again.
Imagination: I think this is pretty self-explanatory. If you don't have a creative mind it's going to be difficult to get into something that begs for originality and creativity. Writers are constantly asking: "What if?"
Courage: You think it's easy to put your work, something you slaved over for months or years out there and not be nervous? It doesn't matter if it's the first time or the 50th time there is still that little voice in the back of an author's head that says: "What do I do if they don't like it?"
Always writing: If you say "I think I've written my last book" then you're probably not cut out for being a writer. We never stop and when we try to stop we come back. Stephen King tried to retire once (maybe twice) and it never happened. Writing isn't a job. It's something that is a part of you that you physically cannot stop. You know those withdrawal symptoms drug abusers get when they come off the drug? It's the same thing that happens to writers when they try to stop writing. It just doesn't work. The only reason a writer stops writing is because they physically can no longer write.
A touch of insanity: Really, how sane are you when you become different people on occasion to get into the mind of your new MC? And how sane are you when you've got an "Inner Editor" otherwise known as this person in your head who keeps telling you how to write or what to write and that you suck?
Blood, Sweat and Tears: Sometimes literally. You will cry at rejection letters or horrible critics. You will sweat your ass off when you send your book to an editor wondering if it's good enough. You might even bleed from stress inducted hernias. Doesn't that sound like fun? But, it's all part of that desire (ambition), determination (perseverance), and daring (courage).
When you think about it, all writers are the same. We all have this drive to keep going, we take insults, we bring to life strange worlds, we put ourselves out there, we don't stop and we're a bit nuts. Most of us are also sleep deprived, caffeine addicted, have an animal as a best friend, and like to be alone with our words. But that makes us sane.
Until next time rants, rage, questions, and everything in between can be directed to the comments. Don't forget to check out my Kickstarter Campaign to get Burnt: The Story of the Fire King out there.
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