Writers don’t need signs telling them that they are writers. If you were offered money to never pen another word, most likely you’d turn that offer down flat. But how can you tell that your creative writing career is picking up speed? Are you on the path to success? Is there a shining moment when you realize, “Aha! I’m now officially a writer”?
Most writers consider themselves as having “made it” when they publish their first piece. Others consider themselves serious writers because they are serious about submitting their work; they submit on a regular basis and have even created a submission tracking system to keep it all straight. (Or they become a client of Writer’s Relief and know their submissions are being handled professionally for them!)
Whatever your definition of success, there are some clear signs that you may be moving into a new phase of your career:
- You’re crossing the great (genre) divide. Not only do you have multiple queries out there for your novel, you’ve published poetry and short prose pieces as well.
- You’re receiving good rejections. Your rejection letters from editors or literary agents contain some nugget of encouragement, a personal note with constructive feedback, or the coveted “Please send more.”
- Your writing has gone viral. You’ve created a significant web presence, a loyal following of readers, and you use social networking sites to promote your work and generate a buzz.
- You’re beginning to win awards and creative writing contests. It might be an essay contest sponsored by the local Rotary Club or the prestigious PEN/Faulkner prize, but people are taking note of your writing.
- You’ve made the decision to keep writing, joyfully, no matter what. Nothing, not even the snarky comments at the last writers group, can deter you from pursuing your craft.
- You are generally not intimidated or annoyed by the business of writing (or, if you are intimidated and annoyed by it, you’ve enlisted other people, like the submission strategists at Writer’s Relief, to help you).
Sometimes there is no specific “breakout” point so much as a realization that, even though you’ve been walking for the last three miles, at some point your feet came off the ground.
Success comes to a writer, as a rule, so gradually that it is always something of a shock to him to look back and realize the heights to which he has climbed. —P.G. Wodehouse
Here are some other telltale signs that you’re a creative writer who is determined to make it:
- You know what NaNoWriMo means.
- Your pockets/purse/car caddy are overflowing with scribbled napkins of dialogue.
- You surreptitiously check out other people’s bookshelves instead of their medicine cabinets.
- You’ve turned the woman down the street into a hit man’s wife in your head/novel, and now you’re scared to walk past her house.
- The “t” and “r” on your keyboard are pretty much toast.
- The people who work at the local bookstore know your name. And you’ve been reprimanded more than once for moving your own books to more prominent locations.
- You’re frequently spotted staring off into the distance with your lips moving and your eyes slightly crossed…
- You find a copy of your paranormal erotic romance novel at the nursing home when you visit Grandma.
- Your work clothes consist of sweatpants and bunny slippers, and your commute is about twenty seconds from coffeepot to computer.
- Your mail carrier gets nervous when he sees you running toward him each afternoon…in sweatpants and bunny slippers.
- You’ve been banned from the local coffee spot for stealing pens and eavesdropping on conversations.
- You find yourself considering copyrighting your emails and Twitter posts.
- Your family members no longer consider your writing to be a “phase.” Best of all, Aunt Judy has finally stopped asking when you’re going to get a real job.
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. —Stephen King
Whether you’re short-listed for a prestigious literary award or celebrating the fact that you’ve mastered online submission managers, you already know you’re a writer. You’ve got the passion, the need to write. If you’ve put in the time and are constantly working to improve—and publish—your writing, you know your writing career is bound to take off. Perhaps it already has without your noticing.
At Writer’s Relief, we know how hard it is to break out of wannabe status into the world of published authors. If you’re serious and passionate about your writing, we can help get your work into the hands of literary agents and editors who will be most receptive to your work. Give us a call. We want your writing career to take off just as much as you do!
Question: Do you see yourself in any of the above examples? Which ones? What little habits do you have that say “I’m a writer!” (besides writing).