The Urban Dictionary defines a closet writer as anyone who is involved in any of the arts (e.g. music, writing, drawing, photography, etc.) but will not admit it. Either that or he/she literally hides it somewhere and only shows certain people.
When I mention I’m a writer, I frequently hear, “I always wanted to write a book.” Other times, people give a wistful tilt of their head and get a faraway look in their eyes. Some even sigh aloud, and I have to wonder whether those people are closet writers.
Do any of these signs describe you? If so, you might be harboring a fugitive author within.
- You constantly edit when you read. Silently, in your mind you spot (and correct) misspelled words. You’re the first to spot misspellings on sign as you’re driving down the street or you see grammatical errors in Facebook posts.
- You’re observant. You notice details and people then file your observations away in a compartment in your head labeled I could write about this.
- You have a hyperactive imagination. You’re always asking what if. When you couple this tendency with your observation skills, there’s never a dull moment in that head of yours.
- You think grammar jokes are funny. Actually, a lot of those jokes are very humorous.
- Your head is a walking library of information. That voice in your head is a narrator: reporting, observing and describing. You can astound friends with precise recall of events and their sequence from memory.
- You love books. You have more than a borderline literary obsession. Sometimes you feel life in the real world can never compare to the worlds of words on the page.
- You can name the titles of books that have changed your life. Books filled with compelling truths and hidden insights that helped you to see the world in different ways.
But you say, even if those things are true about me, the ability to write is inbred. True writers are born with calluses on the forefinger and thumb of their writing hand, not made.
Not true at all.
Writing can be a gift. It is also a craft that can be learned. There are resources upon resources available to help writers hone their craft. If you don’t believe me, try doing a Google search of writing craft or how to write fiction. Then search writing workshops and writing conferences.
For those of you who recognize the signs in yourself, my advice is to stop hiding your penchant for writing. Make the leap from that closet. We need people in our world who care about words and meaning, definitions and spelling. We need grammar tyrants and style experts.
The world needs creative word artists, musicians, and artists like you closet writers.