7 signs you might be a closet writer
Of course you like to read books, in fact, sometimes you enjoy reading them more than living in the real world, but if you like a good story, wishing for a written world of imagination is different from creating one, right? Surely a writer is born, calluses on the index and middle fingers, and is not made? Not necessarily. The American master bard Walt Whitman did not produce his masterpiece Leaves of Grass until he was 35 years old, and no one has yet discovered where his genius came from, almost done. Here are seven signs that you may be harboring a fugitive author inside you, a writer in hiding and desperate to escape.
1. You really like books. Really. You read under the covers as a child, not to mention in the car, on the bus, even heaven forbid at lunch while others were playing. More than just a literary obsession, yours was the sad boredom that life in the real world could never reach the same heights as it does on the page. Perhaps your true direction in life lies in a perfectly kerned typeface. Perhaps there you will reach your true heights.
2. As an adult, you often avoid reading. Not because you’ve outgrown it, but because your reading standards continue to rise and, frankly, a poorly written book has let you down too much; you are too good a reader to write that is below you. A writer stuck in the closet is guaranteed to have higher standards than most; maybe it’s time for you to put on the shirt that suits you.
3. It’s a cliché, but fiction is the home of clichés, so read on: you can name the books that changed your life, whose compelling and well-crafted truths and hidden insights helped you see the world in different ways, you same. also. Maybe you have a written truth to offer the world of yours.
4. You often tell others the flaws in what you are reading, how you think a novel could be better written. You intuitively know what makes good writing, you know if an author has something to say before you’ve even worked half the page. You’d write book reviews if you were a writer, you exclaim sadly. Well, maybe you should grab a pen and you are.
5. When you read words, you hear the author’s voice within you; in fact, you have an ingrained belief that you somehow know the authors whose work you have read, even if you have never met them. Maybe you really do. Writing, like other forms of art, is a bridge between author and reader, and the poet, artist, and meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy writes that if we are aware of this bridge, we can not only enter into a writer’s work, but they also acquire their ability:
“When you want to create something, you want to invoke beauty to inspire you. So at that moment, you have to identify with someone who is creating. You want to do something unique, but the kind of thing you want to do, someone else has already done or is doing.” Only you want to get over it. So try to identify yourself with the consciousness of the person who has already done the thing or with the person himself, and try to get inspiration, aspiration and ability from him. If you want to write something spiritual, read my writings and identify with them. If you want to draw something, take your ideal artist and identify with his creation.”
6. You long to discover the hidden meaning of things, the motivations and hidden depths in the hearts of others, the mystery of the world around you, also within you. Most good writers have – that’s why they write – their fascination with life as much, if not greater, than with writing itself. Follow the path of such writers to self-knowledge; pen in hand, start writing yourself.
7. You have always been a storehouse of facts, a walking library of information. He can remember everything that happens to him, often surprising his friends with the accurate memory of events and their sequence, not understanding why. Your mind itself is a storyteller: reporting, observing and describing the events of your day, albeit usually spontaneously, a recording whose reels never end. Songwriter Kristin Hersh started writing songs because “if I don’t turn ideas into songs, they can get stuck in me and make me sick.” Even if it doesn’t go this far, if your mind is overstepping its limits, tap into your excess creativity and energy; start writing everything. You may also want to try meditation and purchase a much-needed on/off switch.
According to Hersh, “writing songs is about shutting up instead of talking.” Whether it’s songs or entire books, if you want to be a writer, now is the time to bite the apple instead of talking about it.
1. p.42, A Galaxy Of Beauty’s Stars, Sri Chinmoy, 1974
2. Kristin Hersh, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristin_Hersh