If You Have These Traits You Might Be a Writer
Karen E. Bender
So first: there is the love of language. You are, after all, working with words. For writers, there is the sense that you don’t want to read a sentence or a description or a story—you want to eat it. You want to make love to it. You want to, above all, give birth to it—which is what each work is in response to another—a birth. You are affected deeply, in a physical way, when you read a sentence, a character, a story of a writer who you admire. You are obsessed with how.
This sensitivity toward language is what people refer to as “talent.” It is described in a sort of appropriating way: “She has talent.” I have always been suspicious of the word “talent” in writing. Yes, there must be sensitivity to language and an interest in words and image and story. Virginia Woolf, describing Shakespeare, says in her essay, “The Common Reader”: “(Shakespeare), the word-coining genius, as if thought plunged into a sea of words and came up dripping.”
. . .
First, yes, you need sensitivity to language.
And then the psychological traits that I believe are necessary to becoming a writer are:
a tendency toward extreme sensitivity,
openness to the imagination,
a particular stubbornness, and
a precise form of delusion.