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15 Obvious Signs That You Are a Writer

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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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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