10 tricks to help you feel like a writer

Us writers are a funny bunch. Sometimes we just need to do something - anything - to help make us feel like we're writers. There's no logic involved. It just makes us feel better. Here are some things you can do.

We don’t feature many list posts here on Write for Your Life, but once you start being silly about a subject, it’s very difficult to find any order for that silliness without the use of a list.

I recently talked about being a healthy writer and, more specifically, about not being a martyr. That is, don’t run yourself into the ground because you think that doing so is simply part of being a writer. It’s not – it’s just one of those writing stereotypes.

There are many writing stereotypes and the majority are what people turn to when they want to feel like a writer. Because being a writer is cool, you know? People are impressed by writers. Everyone wants to be one.

So yeah, this list is for writers-who-are-probably-not-writers-really. But I know that doesn’t apply to you, right? You’re a real writer. You write all the time.

Unfortunately, even us real writers need to feel writerly from time to time. We can be a rather needy bunch, after all.

So if you, like me, find any of the following familiar, don’t worry. Don’t panic. You’re not on your own.

The list!

1. Candles, candles, candles

Ahh, candles. Candlelight. The romance of the writer. How can we possibly put together any sentence of substance without the aid of scent-based, flame-oriented low lighting? If in doubt, get the candles out.

2. Tell someone you’re a writer

If you’re starting to question your ability to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, or if you’re so wrought with anxiety over your latest writing project that you’re thinking of giving it all up and trying manual labour, just tell someone you’re a writer. They will ask you about your writing. You will tell them. You will feel superior. I mean better.

3. Correct someone’s spelling

If you really want to feel like a writer, don’t wait for someone to ask you how to spell something, which they inevitably will because you’re the wordy one. Just get stuck in and correct them. Show them your mastery of language. Thrive on how much it irritates them. You’ll feel like a writer. That’s the main thing.

4. Lie about having read a book

Writers talk about books all the time. It kind of makes sense. We say, ‘Oh yes, I thought it was fantastic,’ and ‘Actually, I particularly liked the opening.’ You know. That kind of thing. But how many times have you said you’ve read a book when you haven’t because hey, you’re a writer, you’re supposed to have read everything? Come on. It’s more than that.

5. Try every piece of writing software you can get your hands on

This is a reasonably modern trick to help you feel like a writer. There are so many writing applications available these days that you can spend days deciding which one is exactly right for your unique writing needs. Then you can tell other people how great it is and feel like all those wasted hours were worth it. You know your software. Of course you’re a writer.

6. Wear a suitably writerly hat

All good writers accessorise. And nothing will make you feel more like a writer than donning a special writer’s hat. You never know, if that novel sells well, maybe the hat can be your thing. We all need a thing, right? Of course we do.

7. Go to an open-mic spoken word night with a five-minute limit, then read your own work for 20 minutes

That’s what real writers do. We don’t need rules or limitations on our work. We’re artists, after all. And why would the audience want a Big Mac when they can have the gourmet meal that is your 20-minute epic poem loosely inspired by the death of your dog or impending divorce?

8. Create a nom de plume

Even if you never have any intention of writing under a different name, I bet you’ve spent at least a little time thinking about what that name might be. And I bet you enjoyed it, didn’t you? You felt like a writer. Don’t be ashamed. It’s fine.

9. Buy a domain name that’s your own name

If you really want to feel like a writer, you’re going to need a website. It’s all about building a platform, these days, right? Go to your nearest domain registration site right away, search for yourname.com and snap it up as soon as possible. If your name is taken by someone else, it’s all over. Stop writing immediately.

10. Set up a blog and start offering writing advice

This is the ultimate trick. If you’re telling other people how to feel like a writer, you’re definitely a writer, and a brilliant one at that. Handsome, too.

Image: echiner1

Share your thoughts

Do you find yourself needing to feel like a writer from time to time? Maybe you’re so full of confidence and gusto that it all comes naturally to you? Either way, let us know and give us more examples in the comments!

Subscribe for free

If you’re enjoying your time here on Write for Your Life, why not subscribe for free and get new posts delivered straight to your email inbox? Or if you’d prefer updates via your RSS reader, that’s totally cool beans too.


Anonymous 16 December 2010 Reply

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Icy Sedgwick and Iain Broome, Susan Pigott. Susan Pigott said: This is so hilarious: "Ten Tricks to Help You Feel Like a Writer." http://bit.ly/hNxYcE Confession: I've done 2, 3, 5, and 9. […]

shakespeare824@hotmail.com 16 December 2010 Reply

So funny! I especially love the website one. I can’t tell you how many people have told me to buy mine now, before I get famous and somebody steals it from me!
The hat works, too. Got to get myself one of those!

iain@writeforyourlife.net 16 December 2010 Reply

Sounds like you need both a domain name and a hat as soon as humanly possible.

Anonymous 16 December 2010 Reply

*snicker* 😉

Anonymous 16 December 2010 Reply

[…] Speaking of writing, Write for Your Life has 10 tips for feeling like a real writer. […]

Anonymous 16 December 2010 Reply

I KNEW that fedora wasn’t a waste of £6!

mkelly317@hotmail.com 17 December 2010 Reply

Domain name: check. Hat: check. Blog: check. No candles, though. I’m afraid the cat will knock them over. Software: check. No comment about the nom de plume. This post put a smile on my face.

iain@writeforyourlife.net 17 December 2010 Reply

Good! That was the idea and it sounds like you are, without any doubt whatsoever, a writer of the highest order.

johnt@jdtangney.com 18 December 2010 Reply

Oooh! Cat. That was missing from the list!

Anonymous 20 December 2010 Reply

definitely you need a cat 😀 and a mug of coffee/black tea with milk/hot chocolate, some cigars, dim light -> from the candles of course

iain@writeforyourlife.net 21 December 2010 Reply

Check! Got me a writer’s cat: http://www.flickr.com/photos/iainbroome/3731307351/in/set-72157621307453621/
Unecessary amounts of coffee. That’s a good one too.

stacysue2u@yahoo.com 17 December 2010 Reply

Love the list, Iain. Definitely worth a smile. Number 7 honestly terrifies me. Must work on that. Now I must shop for a hat. Can it wait until after the holidays? I wonder…

iain@writeforyourlife.net 19 December 2010 Reply

Joking aside, reading at spoken word nights is a great way to build your confidence and think about your writing in a different way. Very useful for editing and spotting kinks in your rhythm.
And absolutely not. You must buy a hat right away!

aurorasmith83@gmail.com 17 December 2010 Reply

This had me chuckling and smiling at the end of a very long day at work! Thank you. Cos I’m not JUST a writer you know… I’m in theatre too darling…. and that’s whole other list! Hee hee…

bpremrao@gmail.com 18 December 2010 Reply

Thanks and look forward to visiting your blog more often in the future.

Anonymous 18 December 2010 Reply

[…] These 10 tricks to make you feel like a writer are most amusing. I need to light some candles and get me a writing […]

Anonymous 19 December 2010 Reply

[…] 10 tricks to help you feel like a writer | Write for Your Life – I like #2 – Tell someone you're a writer. Telling someone what I did was the moment I realized I was actually writing for a living! […]

srcrout@gmail.com 20 December 2010 Reply

As a penniless student with no coins for the electricity meter, I once wrote an essay by candlelight and set fire to my hair. I had a burnt orange stripe for several days afterwards. Perhaps that is why writers wear hats.

iain@writeforyourlife.net 21 December 2010 Reply

Goodness me. How on earth did you manage that? Very impressive writerliness.

Anonymous 20 December 2010 Reply

Hmm – 7 out of 10 here. I’ll have to work on that.

iain@writeforyourlife.net 21 December 2010 Reply

7 out of 10 ain’t bad, as Meatloaf never really said.

Anonymous 20 December 2010 Reply

Very helpful. 🙂

delightfulrepast@aol.com 20 December 2010 Reply

For years I wrote (for magazines) mostly about weddings and etiquette, then a few years ago I switched to (should say, added) food. Started a food blog as well, hoping to build an audience for a book (someday over the rainbow). Now THAT, Iain, will make me feel like a writer! (So come on over to my blog and set me my on my way.)

iain@writeforyourlife.net 21 December 2010 Reply

Ha – subtle! It’s true, setting up a blog is great but when people actually read it, well, you’ve hit the writing motherload.

Anonymous 22 December 2010 Reply

[…] tongue-in-cheek post from Write For Your Life. While I’m guilty of item #9, I don’t consider myself a “writer.” I […]

Anonymous 1 January 2011 Reply

Hmm. Not scoring very highly myself. Dammit. Still the hat looks good and my blog (http://ibc4.wordpress.com) features lots of tips and a link to this one.
Does that count as double! Excellent work Iain. That is your *real* name, isn’t it?

Keep up the great work 😀

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.