This isn’t the first time you’ve asked yourself that question, is it?Frankly, the question puzzles me. What other profession tortures itself with such regularity? Imagine the following—
“Excuse me, sir…”
“Huh? Wait…aren’t I supposed to be asleep?”
“Yeah, yeah. Just answer me this: How do I know if I’m a surgeon?”
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet self-doubting writers are as prevalent as wrinkles at a Neil Diamond concert. If you were to create a self-doubting writer character for your novel, your editor would scream, “Cliché!”
Still, we can’t ignore reality. A writer's doubts are real. Is it possible to slay once for all the self-doubting troll that lives inside of us?What if I were to tell you that there is an infallible test that proves conclusively whether or not you're a writer. Would you be interested?
It’s a comparison test. A standard by which you measure yourself.
Are you ready? Here it is—A writer writes.
That’s the standard. Simple. Foolproof. It’s the only verification you need. The standard is true—
And plumbers plumb (while Senators and Congressmen--and people who fancy themselves writers but who never find time to write--do nothing productive at all).
Writers write. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.A clarification is needed at this point—
Reading about writing isn’t writing.
Talking about writing isn’t writing.
Deducting writers’ tools on you Schedule C isn’t writing.
Attending writers conferences isn’t writing.
Reading blogs about writing isn’t writing.
Would a flesh-and-blood example help?
Isaac Asimov was a writer’s writer. Over three hundred and fifty books bore his name on the title page, books from a variety of fields, including: physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, history, biography, autobiography, humor and the Bible.
Listen to what this writer says about writing—
“Whenever I have endured or accomplished some difficult task—such as watching television, going out socially, or sleeping—I always look forward to rewarding myself with the small pleasure of getting back to my typewriter and writing something. This enables me to store up enough strength to endure the next interruption.”
So what are you doing loitering around here?
You’re a writer, write.