Recently, I've had the honor to see how far I have come as a writer and I have to say, it's really trippy.
In a few separate occasions I had conversations with other writers who were either beginners or writers who've been at this game longer than I, but are apparently a touch more resistant to change. In each of these situations it occurred to me that I have come so far since my early days of writing horrible slop (and thinking it could be huge), that I probably would shred my old self to bits in a workshop with everything I've learned over time and with experience. (To be clear, even in my old college workshop days I loved being told what was wrong with my writing because it felt like progress.)
That being said, I've come up with a quick yes/no kind of questionnaire for you to see if you've grown as a writer from that school level punk with a chip on their shoulder because you've read old literature. Hopefully, you've overcome yourself and a few other bad habits and pass without much trouble.
1.) Do you write with regularity?
You can't be a writer unless you're actually pulling words. This doesn't have to mean you're aiming for a specific word count or writing every single day at 5am on the nose, but regularity. Let's say, more than once a week.
2.) Do you read with regularity?
This is key. Reading teaches you how others have used writing to get where you want to be. If you're not reading, then you don't even know what to aspire to or who you're up against in terms of skill. Between published works and my critique group I probably read more than I write.
3.) Do you still think the first draft is the hardest part?
To me, a finished story or novel consisted of 10% first draft writing and 90% revision work. Scenes you didn't even think of in the first draft process may need to be added in, or entire characters may need to get kicked out, and that all happens in revision.
4.) When you share your work and receive feedback, do you think the other person is wrong 100% of the time?
Don't kid yourself. I'm certain you have screwed up something royally in some story. Time to swallow your pride, say, "Thank you for reading it," and get back to work.
5.) Are you in it for the story and not yourself?
If you're thinking that writing a quick story or novel will skyrocket you to success, then you're dead wrong. You have to be here because you love the story so much that you want nothing else than spend 90% of your time revising the damn thing. If you want fame, then look elsewhere, it's not going to be quick or easy from the page.
How did you do? My hope is that you'll now realize that you too have graduated from wanna-be writer to full-fledged-trying-like-hell-to-make-this-work writer.
Any other questions you think should be on the quiz? Let me know how you realized you've grown in the comments.