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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, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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