Are you a writer?
Think carefully. A million answers may have just swirled through your head. "Yes, I'm a writer. I'm always coming up with story ideas." "Yes, I would consider myself a writer, I write frequently." "Oh my goodness yes of course I am I love to write I would write all the time if I could I LOVE WRITING <3 <3 <3" (:P) "I would like to write a story, but I just don't have the time" or "I can never come up with a good story idea" or "no one would want to read my writing."
I think what you have to do here is examine WHAT a writer is. Are you thinking, "Well, duh, a writer writes stories. *shifty eyes* What do YOU do?" No, you're right, a writer would not be a writer without the pen and paper or keyboard, because that would be impossible. But what makes a writer a writer? What are the "qualifications?"
Personally, I think everyone looks at the word "writer" and forms their own opinions. I know some people simply think "Oh, you write stories, that's nice." Others understand the real trials and dedication a writer goes through to craft his or her work. Consideration in the type of writing is key as well; is the particular writer there to convey a message, persuade, tell a simple children's story? Depending on your preference, your view of what a writer is will influence you in your decision.
Seeing as how I can't speak for all of you, I'm going to speak for myself, a writer of fiction stories, and tell you whom I think a writer is, and if I consider myself a writer.
I've been creating stories since before I knew how to form words, though I wasn't always aware of how they were affecting me. Only today I was thinking back to when I was about seven years old and would create stories in my head of how I was part of a group of female superheroes who wore red capes and...to be honest I can't remember what on earth we did exactly, but the point is I was creating a story from nothing. When I was about ten years old I started dreaming about whatever movie I watched that night, and I would place myself into the story - not as another person already made by the script writers, but an entirely new character that I created myself. I'll freely admit I still do that to this day. It's become a habit I can't shake, and if I were to be entirely honest, I don't want to! It is a special way I feed my creative imagination when it is time to sleep and I can't pick up the pen and write my own story.
I use to create stories in the silence of my own bedroom, myself and my stuffed animals and dolls as the actors with the mirror as the camera. I would literally spend hours cooped up in my room acting out different stories! Now, I don't spend hours in front of my mirror anymore, but if I have a scene I'm stuck on in something I'm creating, you guessed it - I sit in front of the mirror and start speaking the dialogue out loud, and this helps me to shove past the writer's block and figure out what I want to say.
Did I have any clue I wanted to be a writer at the point? Truthfully, no. I desperately wanted to be a teacher or an artist! I had no idea God was preparing me for what I'm doing now. But when I did start writing my own stories, I realized there was something special about my pen scratching away at the paper, forming my own words and special characters into something beautiful. Every little story I wrote was a piece of me and slowly shaping me into what I am now. Soon I couldn't stop writing down all of the story ideas that came into my head; writing has been a part of me forever, even if they didn't always come in the form of paper and ink.
So, would I write if I knew I would be the only one reading it? Yes, absolutely. Sure, my dream is to be a published author, and I'm not going to give up on that goal, but I have no idea if it will ever happen. The closest I've come to finishing a real story is completing a sloppy first draft, which I soon lost interest in revising. You may be thinking your dream is to be published, yet you have no drive? Hey, don't judge me. Writing is HARD work, and I'm only at the beginning. I'm in the early stages of apprenticeship and still learning the craft, as I will continue doing for the rest of my life, though I may work my way up a little bit along the road. I struggle with doubt and discouragement. I haven't yet learned the diligence and dedication of a real writer, but I am trying and feel myself improving and learning.
I mentioned "real writer." So, do I not consider myself a writer? Well, in one sense, a writer is someone who is completely dedicated to his work, who will persevere no matter what, and knows his trade well. I'm not there yet, not by a long shot. However, I believe a writer doesn't have to have those qualities. He may not be a good writer if he doesn't, but he's still a writer. A person who doesn't know how to spell words may be a writer; there are thousands of men and women out there who have the writing gift deep within their hearts and will never know it. Too bad. I'm thankful to God that He has revealed this gift to me. I truly believe this is what I was meant to do, at least for now.
A writer is also someone who has stories scratching at his heart, begging desperately to be set free, and a writer should feel it his duty and joy to give them their chances. Can he choose to ignore it? I suppose so - but there will always be a wondering in his heart of what might have happened had the stories been released from their bonds. Me...I don't want to wonder my whole life. I can't ignore the stories; I can't ignore the characters. I HAVE to write, and I will write, and that's what makes me a writer.
So, I ask you: Are you a writer, and what makes YOU one?
Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works. -- Virginia Woolf.