….you wake up thrilled by a dream that played out like a movie in your head, complete with plot, dialogue, and real actors playing the parts. It stays with you even if you don’t write a word of it down.

–you’ve entertained yourself by daydreaming full stories, complete with plots, dialogue, and characterization, even before you ever realized you wanted to be a writer or screenwriter. You already were, without knowing it on a level where it could be acknowledged.

–you realize suddenly that you see printed words in your head at times when you think. Your inner paginator is being born. (writer version)

–when watching a movie, your brain splits off into enjoy it mode and analyze it mode. It’s kicked itself to another level when individual scenes overlay your mental screen, so that you’re trying to calculate the white space to black space ratio…while you’re still watching the movie. (screenwriter version)

–you pause a DVD periodically, then hop around fast forwarding and rewinding, to see how many pages long a scene that catches your eye is by noting its runtime.

The most important day to date in your journey is the first time you call yourself a writer and/or screenwriter. The next most important is when you can do it without feeling weird as you say it, as if you’re a fraud for even thinking of yourself that way. Believing in yourself is a big part of the battle won. You really, really know it when other people start believing in you too.