Hey Posse! What’s up, it’s Alex comin’ at ya this week with an article written just for all of you self-identified writers, wordsmiths, and phrase slayers out there.
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Now let’s dive in, shall we?
No matter which genre your writing belongs to… copy, content, affiliate marketing, novelist, poet or journalist… there are just some things that we writers, ALL share in common.
And isn’t that kind of… refreshing to know?
I mean think about it, as a writer, we don’t typically know very many other writers on a personal level – especially when we’re just starting out.
Sure… we like, follow, subscribe, and study the work of other writers and creatives that we look up to. But when it comes to real-life, face-to-face interaction with our writing peers… we usually have little to none.
It can be an isolating feeling, often leaving us to wonder: Am I doing it right? Is this really the right path for me? Am I cut out for this whole writing thing?
Well if you find yourself saying “F YEAH” to any of these 6 habits… it’s pretty clear that you are, in fact, a writer at heart.
And you belong RIGHT here, inside the Copy Posse!
#1 We read a lot
You’ve probably heard this one before… the best writers read, A LOT.
I like to dedicate my Fridays to honing my craft by reading, studying, and practicing new skills – a habit that I adopted in my early career working at Mindvalley. But no, that doesn’t mean that we writers only read educational books, non-fictions and memoirs…
We also love a good novel, a captivating fantasy, a clever poem, and even a cheeky Cosmo magazine – which, if I’m being honest, is definitely my guilty pleasure.
So what’s the deal? Why do writers like to read so much?
Well, there are a number of benefits associated with reading…
People who read more tend to have lower levels of stress, think more critically and have a sharper memory. We’re more likely to vote, exercise, be more cultural, AND… studies show that reading actually expands our vocab.
Whether you’re digging into Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, or scanning through an academic journal, you’re probably going to come across and a word or two that you’ve never seen before.
Which is a pretty huge advantage for us writers…
What differentiates writers from other hobby readers, is that when writers are unsure of a word or expression – we almost always write it down or do a quick google search to connect the dots. Have you ever done that?
Which leads us to that ‘Aha moment’ of clarity… adding another word to our subconscious memory bank, and ultimately making us better writers.
In this case, curiosity keeps the cat empathetic, sharp, and refreshingly expressive.
#2 We’re always taking notes
If you’re a writer, you probably need to hear this. You DON’T need to buy another notebook. Use the blank ones you have on your bookshelf first!
If you were to look through the journal of a writer (because we ALL have at least one), what you would probably see is a hodge-podge of messy scribbles, phrases, ideas, and sketches.
To the untrained eye, this can seem chaotic and incoherent. But to us writers, these notes are our LIFEBLOOD. They contain some of our most creative thoughts and juicy ideas.
It’s RARE that we think of winning taglines, phrases, or plots when we’re actually sitting down at our computers and working… that would be too easy, am I right??
Most of the time these genius ideas come to us during pretty inconvenient moments… like when we’re showering or sitting on an airplane.
And because the mind of a writer is usually thinking of approximately 8 million things at once… if we don’t write these thoughts down immediately, we risk losing the idea forever!
Every single product, launch or sales page I’ve created started in a notebook! And I have all the messy notes and scribbles to prove it!
Now what if your creative juices start flowing when you’re driving or find yourself without your journal? I love to make a voice memo during these moments to make sure I capture the idea in all its glory.
#3 We’re too hard on ourselves.
AKA – imposter syndrome. That dreaded gut-wrenching feeling that you have no frickin’ clue what you’re doing, but everyone else looks at you like you’re an ‘expert’ and have it all figured out…
Which leaves you feeling like a straight-up phony-baloney that will soon be exposed for a fake and a fraud.
Which is terrifying and complete FICTION, just like that novel on your bedside table.
It’s estimated that approximately 70% of people experience Imposter Syndrome at some point in their lives… but for writers, imposter syndrome is a real B that never really goes away…
She’s not like the annoying aunt that you only deal with on Christmas every year, she’s more like the drill sergeant boss who hounds you for making her coffee wrong every morning… She just won’t leave us alone.
Here’s the thing guys, Imposter Syndrome is bound to pop up anytime you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone – which happens A LOT when you’re a freelance writer who is constantly growing, improving, and putting your creative work out there to be viewed, judged and critiqued.
Because the more you grow, the bigger your goals. And the bigger your goals, the more you have to lean into the fear of the unknown.
It’s scary, yes. But like Tory Burch says: “If it doesn’t scare you, you’re probably not dreaming big enough.”
So lean in, feel the fear, and do it anyway… what do you have to lose?
Okay, so I went off on a little rant there.
But I really just want to make sure that all my fellow writers out there really understand that Imposter Syndrome is NORMAL, and you should find comfort in knowing that we all feel her wrath from time to time…
And speaking of comfort, that brings me to #4…
#4 We Can Be Seclusive
Have you ever noticed that when a writer is in creative flow… you don’t notice them at all?
That’s because we writers, do our best work in private seclusion. We work best huddled away, with our headphones on and our fingers typing a million words a minute…
Writers are notorious for zoning out for hours, days, weeks, or sometimes even MONTHS on end. Hey, when the creative juice is flowing, we don’t dare to stop it… sometimes not even to eat! Haha.
This can come across as reclusive, and even anti-social at times. And actually, some of the most successful writers of all time were famous for their hermit-like natures…
I mean, Emily Dickinson didn’t leave her family property for the last TWO DECADES of her life… talk about extreme…
And Harper Lee, the author of the American classic To Kill a Mockingbird, was once asked to address the Alabama Academy of Honor… which she denied by saying “Well, it’s better to be silent than to be a fool”… Well-played Harper, well played.
While there are many authors similar in nature to Dickinson and Harper… it wouldn’t be fair to say that ALL writers fall into that extremist category.
Yes, we like to work in isolation and away from distractions… but outside of work, writers are regular people too.
We still crave and benefit from social interaction, connection, and community – actually it’s downright necessary to keep us sane AND inspired.
Which brings me to sign #5…
#5 We Think Too Much
If writers had a superpower, it would definitely be our tenacious ability to analyze anything and everything to pieces…
Sometimes it might actually be more fitting to call this writer’s trait a curse!
Our minds are constantly racing. And when we’re not busy thinking up fresh projects and creative ideas… we’re observing and analyzing everything around us.
When we’re in a movie theatre (remember when we did that type of thing pre-pandemic?) and the entire crowd laughs or cries at a particular scene… writers are usually wondering what made this huge crowd, of completely different people, all feel the same emotion at the same time?
Writers LOVE observing our fellow humans in this way because it helps us to better understand people and what makes them tick.
But the real golden nugget is that this analytical habit ultimately gives lead to better empathy.
Empathy is an art that must be mastered by all good writers… it’s our ability to connect with and understand our readers, the characters we describe, and the clients we write for.
Understanding the diverse motivations that drive people to do what they do, takes great attention to detail, which means that we writers are always taped in, tuned in, observing, and relating.
But not in a creepy way – in more of a – we actually give a damn, type of way.
#6 We Love Emojis
Remember when emojis were limited to mere keyboard symbols? Ha, those were good times.
The first emoji wasn’t created until 1999, by a coder in Japan. And it wasn’t until 2010 that emojis were made available outside of Japan.
Fast forward to today, and we’re surrounded by a smorgasbord of choices in all of our communication platforms… over 3,500 to be exact.
There’s an emoji to express your every emotion, to rep your favorite food, and even to give your friends a virtual fist-bump. Lol, or should I say –
And we writers LOVE them.
We use emojis when we’re texting friends, sending emails, and even when we’re writing copy.
Because emojis bring the depth and flavor of our written words to a whole new level – when used the right way, of course!
Studies indicate that emojis are a form of communication that is just as real as words…
Emojis basically act as virtual representations of the body language and facial expressions that we would display if we were having the conversation face-to-face… They can provide warmth, dimension, and relatability to an otherwise lackluster message.
And let’s be honest… sometimes even writers can’t find the perfect adjective, or complex adverb, to effectively communicate what’s on our heart.
I mean what’s the point of spelling out “wink, wink” when a simple gets the message across a lot more effectively…
Or when you’re really ticked off, a simple “I’m so mad” just won’t have the same effect as 😡.
But just like anything, there’s a time and a place for emojis… and they can be overdone, so make sure you’re using them properly and effectively.
There you have it guys, 6 painfully obvious signs that you’re a writer at heart! How many of them apply to you? Drop a comment below and let me know.
And if you want to see more fun content about the life of a writer, check out my blog on a Day in the Life of a Copywriter – the Pandemic Edition.
As always, Thanks for reading and subscribing to my YouTube Channel! I’ll see you next week! Until then, I’m Alex, Ciao for now!