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This, above all, to thine own self be true....

What makes a writer?

The easiest and most straight-forward answer is: A writer is a writer because he/she writes...

The real truth is, there is no answer--- at least not an answer that could comfortably fit in the space of a single blog post, or that could hold the attention span of anyone reading this.

There's no magic formula, no magic pill, no magic anything that will make you or anybody a writer... a writer just is. Period.

'How do I know if I'm a writer?' one might ask.... if you have to ask this question, then you aren't a writer.

As a child, I was always awestruck by the idea of being a writer. There was something mysterious about being a writer. In my eager, curious and developing mind, being a writer was akin to being a master magician (this was before I realized there was no magic writer formula/pill). I believed that the books we read, the books we held in our hands, were priceless treasures and that the writers of these books were the gods of the library---- I still believe this, even if I can't take a magic pill and have my book write itself.

From the tender age of 11, I have written-- poems, short stories, essays, novels, strange sketches-- all because I just did. There was never any day that I woke up and just said, 'today I'm going to write a poem about the moon'. There was never any day that I just said I must write. I just wrote.

It's taken years for me to realize that writing isn't something that you do... writing is what you are.

My entire childhood, adolescence and early adulthood have been spent preparing for my future... for college, for a career--- and every single academic, professional choice I made led me down every avenue EXCEPT the writer's path. I never sought the writer's path. I never searched for a byline or a means to getting my words into print. I always believed my life would have a different direction than the one I am currently pursuing.

I know I've said there's no magic formula or magic pill when it comes to becoming a writer--and there isn't-- but, there is something indefinable about the process of writing. Ask any writer who's had a story take the reins away from them...or any writer who's felt the odd, tingling sensation in their fingers when a story's ready to come out... or any writer who's been jolted awake in the middle of the night by the uncontrollable need to reach for a pen/paper to jot down what has to be written at that EXACT moment (which has nothing to do with whatever they were dreaming)---- a writer simply can't NOT write!

And, it has taken me all these years to realize, finally, that though there is no magic in the world that can make you a writer, being a writer is the most magical thing in the world.


  1. Wonderfully put :-)
    Because of my history major, most of my academic choices required a lot of writing anyway, so it wasn't until recently (now that I'm working, rather than studying) that I realized how much I miss it. I'd always thought of myself as just a bookworm, but now I'm starting to wonder if there's a writer in me too.

  2. Thanks!

    If you're missing the writing, then maybe there is a writer in you afterall :-)

  3. I totally agree e.a.s. I always wrote from a young age because I did. However, I would like to see more of a roadmap to it because it feels so aimless sometimes.

  4. Hey, I never said writers knew where they were going... just that they were writers :-)

    In fact, I'd go so far to say that aimless writing is probably what leads to the greatest works of literature---- or, this could just be my delusional hope :-)


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