I've always known that I could write. I was good in school and actually skipped the second grade. I collected excellent grades on English exams, wrote tons of college papers, wrote ad copy for several businesses I've owned, wrote many professional and personal letters, and I could always come up with a mean classified ad. But did I think of myself as a writer? No.
I wrote journals in long-hand, typed out thoughts on the computer, created poetry and songs, short stories and scenes. Did I know I was a writer? No.
Was it when I attended my first writing conference? Got my first critique? Completed my first manuscript, or sent off my first query letter? No. Filled with self-doubt, I thought I wasn't good enough - I did not feel like a writer.
Did I know I was a writer when I got my first real signature on the bottom of a rejection letter, or the first hand-written comment from an editor asking to see more work? No.
When my first book was accepted for publication, when I finished my revisions, when I held the actual book in my hands and saw my name on the cover as author, did I feel like a writer then? Well, maybe a little.
But when I stand in the kitchen fretting, crabby and hard-to-live with, when I'm out-of-sorts and irritable as life happens and I don't have time to write, when I feel life's obligations taking over and I haven't written a thing today, yet I feel this pressing need to get words down, words down, words down, do I feel like a writer then? YES. YES. YES. I know I'm a writer because I feel the NEED TO WRITE.
When I write, words or paragraphs or an entire chapter or two, when I write, I feel fulfilled, the world is a better place, my step is springy, there's a smile on my face, and I'm happy.
The reason I KNOW I'm a WRITER is because I NEED to WRITE :-)