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15 Obvious Signs That You Are a Writer

15 Obvious Signs That You Are a Writer

From crumpled papers, to little scribbles at the edge of your books, you’ve always been a literary mess.

Regardless of where you find yourself, one thing is never absent from your side–some form of writing material, whether it’s paper and a pen, or a digital memo. Some people think it weird but, to you, it’s just the way you are. Ever since you learned the difference between the letters ‘A’ and ‘B’, you’d rather write it than say it.

It’s almost as if you were born…differently.

The truth is you actually are. Some people are born with specific qualities that others lack. For writers, this is so true. Here are 15 signs you’re a writer, even when you feel otherwise.

1. You are a word hoarder

If the sentence makes sense, then you must have it. You can’t read books without having a notepad by your side. Why? It’s because you have this feeling that you’d read something that just makes sense.

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As a result of this, you have lots of Post-it notes, jottings, memos and even scribbles on your tissue paper all in the name of “I don’t want to forget that”.

2. You love adventure

Whether it’s a movie of a 12-year old-boy trapped in time, the love story of woman who finally found true love after several heartbreaks, or your fantasies of saving the day, your mind is never in one place. You love the thrill of creating pictures with your words. Leaving the present reality for short periods of time is what seems to keep you “alive”. Sometimes you’re accused of not paying attention. Well, if only they could follow you into the world you were in…then they’d understand.

3. You love to read

To you, putting your nose in a book is your definition of fun. While everyone else goes out to the movies or the game, you prefer quiet time with your legs curled up and a book in your hands. Loaning a book out is difficult because the only thing going through your mind is, “what if he doesn’t bring it back?” You can’t even bear taking some books to certain places because of the fear of losing them.

4. You’d rather write it than say it

At that moment when your boss seems to be the devil himself, you can’t bring yourself to tell him off to his face. It’s not that you’re afraid, but you just can’t. You’d rather give him a piece of your mind in an email.

The same goes when making a complaint about a product or service to a company. You will skip the toll free line and look for the contact email instead. The birthday gifts you send out have more than the words “Happy Birthday” on the cards. You either add a poem, something funny or just…something more.

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5. You know good writing when you see it

Even though you think you’re not good enough, you have good taste for writing. You appreciate writing that’s constructed expertly. Sometimes, you read a sentence and paragraph repeatedly not because of what is written but how it’s written. And when you come across something amazing, you smile.

6. You observe and create stories about people

Your eyes are never in one place. While everyone else is chattering away, you’re silently watching people’s actions. Sometimes you’re caught staring. At other times, you’re making up mental stories without anyone taking notice.

7.  You see every experience as a goldmine

To you, nothing is a waste. Whether you get soaked in the rain, or your dog playfully chases your neighbour’s 6-year-old son down the street, it’s something to write about. While others feel dejected by certain happenings, you’re not because to you, it’s something extra to add to your diary.

8. You value your journals over shoes

You could discard your old shoes and even give some off to charity, but your filled up journals? Never! Not even in your second life. As long as a book has a sentence you wrote, the last thing you want to do is throw it away.

9. You see writing as a form of therapy

For you, putting words on paper is therapeutic. Whenever you feel angry, lonely or just depressed, your best friend isn’t the bottle, but that piece of paper next to you. If days pass without you writing something down, your emotions could go berserk. At this point, you know it’s time to go back to your first love.

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10. You are curious about your environment

Your sensitivity is at its peak. You know when the regular dog is not at the park, or when people start to act differently. Sometimes you take interest in things and objects that are often overlooked by others. That’s a trait that not everyone has. You’re always given the advice to “forget about it,” but you just can’t.

11. You love listening to your thoughts

Thinking comes naturally to you. While others try as much as possible to avoid it, you embrace it. “Why do you think so much?” is probably a question you’re often asked. The truth is, you don’t have an answer to that because you just do it!

12. You cherish every compliment

No, you don’t get proud when people praise you, but you fall in love with the people who do. Whenever someone tells you how great a writer you are, you replay that moment in your head several times. You go back to the piece you were praised about and read it over and over again, like you were trying to search out the reason for the compliment. This propels you enough to write even more.

13. You believe you can be better

Whenever you see someone who writes better than you, something wakes up on your inside. “If he can write like that, I can too”. Sometimes, this could lead to you trying to imitate his style. But this doesn’t last for long as sooner or later, you find your voice and get better at your craft.

14. You magically launch into a writing frenzy

At first writer’s block hits you and all you see is a blank page. Minutes later, you’re scribbling away like you’re being chased by your thoughts. At times, you only planned on doing a half page write up. But after some minutes, you’re already two pages deep. And you’re not even halfway there.

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15. You never stop writing

Even if you had the most demanding job that took up most of your waking hours, you would always find time to pen something down. Even if you lost everything in this world, one of the first things you would get would be a pen and paper. How about when you sleep? Writing material is always at arm’s length. Something could pop out while you sleep…so why not write it down.

Doubting your ability to write is completely normal. Even Stephen King once felt he was a terrible writer. Yet he wrote some of the best novels–and is still writing! You’re not alone. And you’re not like everyone else either. You’re unique. You’re special. You’re a writer!

Featured photo credit: Natural light in Steilacoom Park, WA/Christian Gonzalez via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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