You Might Be a Writer If…

1. Your FaceBook status consists of the following: I wrote a tough scene. I cried. It was AWESOME.

2. 10% or more of your FB friends understand the above statement is reason to congratulate you rather than call the men in the rubber truck.

3. You stand in line at the supermarket check-out, watch the cashier tuck her hair behind her ears with her pinkies, and wonder if your heroine should possess that mannerism.

4. You go to sleep thinking about your story, dream about your story, and wake up with a story problem resolved.

5. You leave your air-conditioned/heated home for a holiday in Mexico, which consists of staring at the beach from your air-conditioned hotel room as you type. Your one and only complaint about this vacation has to do with the paucity of hotel power outlets.

6. You construct a sentence specifically to use the word “paucity”.

7. Your children are named Hemmingway and Munro.

8. You are more interested in the quarterly statements of a certain publisher than the status of the entire Dow Jones Industrial Average. This is true even though your entire portfolio is in the manufacturing sector and you are less than a month away from retirement.

9. You spend 40% of your disposable income on books.

10. Your idea of a “fun” battery-operated device is an e-book reader that reads Rumi aloud in James Earl Jones’s voice.

11. You meet a very obnoxious person at a party, and instead of being intimidated by their rudeness, think, “He would make a perfect antagonist.”

12. You’re confident your blog’s readership will add at least six items to this list.

So howsabout it? Got any behaviours to add to my compilation?

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51 thoughts on “You Might Be a Writer If…

  1. 13. You email your writer friends to tell them you just did your first murder and how fun it was.

    14. Your writer friends send you congratulatory cards from to celebrate.

  2. LOL YEP.

    13. You’d rather stay home to percolate a plot problem than go out with all your friends to that awesome concert/bar/whatever. (Me, this past Friday.)

    14. You complain about your husband’s antecedent problem. (he never clarifies his antecedents. drives me nuts.)

    15. ‘vacations’ are actually code for research.

    16. Staring into space is your favorite pastime.

    17. it never occurs to you NOT to write, and when people think it’s amazingly hard/a lot of work/insane to do so, you’re like “REALLY? It’s FUN! Hard, but fun.”

    18. You can add six things on your own to this post in one comment because, duh, you’re a writer.

  3. 19. You write your very first sex scene. Instead of getting turned on, you fret and stress and look at it from all angles to see if it ‘works’. 🙂

  4. LOL Love #1 and 2.

    19. Your work attire consists of pajama pants, sweats and fuzzy slippers.

    20. You have scraps of paper/napkins, etc…filled with great story ideas you’ll get around to writing eventually.

    21. You never go anywhere without a pen and a piece of paper because you never know when inspiration might strike.

  5. 1. You speak of your muse like she is a real person. (And, if you have seen Dogma, she looks like Salma Hayek.)

    2. You have an overwhelming urge to edit the stories in the daily newspaper. (Maybe this is because I primarily write non-fiction, LOL!)

  6. I guess we’re actually up to Twenty-four, which is:

    You drive everyone mad restarting the same MP3 several dozen times, memorising the pacing for a written scene.

    People have threatened to hurt me over that one.

  7. Hrm. I’ve lost count, so….random numbers!

    6. You use your dissertation research as a kick-start for your latest historical novel and actually consider trying to get your advisor to read the finished work and check for factual errors. (that would be me, yes :D)

    7. You watch random people in the street in a creepy and slightly stalkerish fashion and your excuse is “character research”

    8. You see something beautiful (a flower, a rainbow, a sun-drenched meadow) and immediately begin working out a paragraph in your head describing it for some novel sometime where it might fit.

    9. You worry about finding something to write on/with before you forget the aforesaid paragraph.

    Ok, stopping now! Great post!

  8. Your family cringes when you say, “Guess what I learned today?” Then you proceed to tell them all manner of obscure facts about avalanches and barn owls.

  9. I have to add another: you’re cranky (cranky!!!!) because you’re fighting with words, yet you put up a silly post, find your community of peers, and no longer feel alone in the battle. Have you people been living in my brain?, lol?

  10. 29. You can’t breathe until you find the definition of a word (like paucity) that has eluded the dictionary inside your head.
    30. You prefer to analyze a scene in a NYT best seller than enjoy it.
    31. Rather than allowing creativity to blossom, you try to jump-start it/ then berate yourself when the juices refuse to flow.

  11. Correct me if I’m wrong, but is there not a certain element of…glee here about our “otherness”? At least tell me I’m not the only one whose sides are aching from the laughter of recognition.

  12. is the top of your internet favorites list 🙂
    you look at everything-just hoping to find new and exciting ways to describe it.. (gah..that’s my latest problem) lol

  13. Not “otherness”, but “us-ness,” I think. It is that feeling of “these are my people,” whether you all care about skating, video games, music or writing.

  14. LOL. Great stuff. Not sure what number we’re at but…

    32. Stationary stores are second only to the bookstore.
    33. When reading a great book or watching a stellar movie you have a random jealous moment where you shout “Crap! I wish I’d written that.”

  15. Amie, you ghoulish girl, you! Woot for your friends and their willingness to support a literary murderer. 😉

    Jess, now I’m feeling sorry for poor @toadymac. 😉 I’m with you on the Friday night thing. It’s no accident that “hope” and “hermit” begin with the same letter.

    JennW, thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

    Donna: “look at it from all angles” Hee. Got me a visual there.

    NJ, I have those napkins. Occasionally they migrate to my book of ideas; or my One Note virtual book of ideas. Unless I get distracted and start writing on discarded matchbooks. (You get the idea.) 😉

    Gremlin, obviously they need lessons on what persistence looks like. 🙂

    Bookewyrme, lol, now that’s resourceful. (Your dissertation idea.) Brilliant, m’dear.

    CBlaire, I’ve tried that self-induced guilt-trip thing on my muse. Doesn’t work so well, does it? Mine works better for chocolate.

    Dee, oh, I hear you on the kid thing. Mine would have the gold medal in Olympic Eye-rolling if there were such a thing.

    Sugar, I love thesaurus. com. Have you seen their visual thesauraus? Love it. Love.

    Glinda, I love that! “Us-ness.” What a perfect word.

    And I edit all the time which is very distracting and disturbing when I’m trying to enjoy myself.

  16. What a fun list….

    13. I have a crazy amount of writing utensils and notebooks.

    14. When I look at canals, patches of forest, etc., I think they would be ideal places to dump corpses in a novel.

    15. I truly believe that extreme things (the good, the bad, and the ugly) happen to me because I’m destined to write about them.

  17. You tell yourself that you’ll get up and eat, take a shower, brush your teeth after the next paragraph – which turns into 2 hours.

    Great lists!

  18. * Your husband keeps complaining that you’ve turned the bathroom into an office because of the stacks of books, notebooks and pens in there.

    * Your short term memory is entirely shot because the characters in your head keep doing interesting things to make you forget you were supposed to pick something up at the store.

    * You listen carefully every time someone says they’ve written something, hoping you might meet a new best friend that lives in the REAL world instead of depending so deeply on these beings that live in your computer.

  19. 1/2. You’re in a theater, watching a movie with your spouse, and turn to whisper “Act break!”

    .007 You tell your friends a movie or book is no good because “the hero didn’t bring about the resolution.”

  20. Holy smokes, I go off to write and you guys go crazy in here. Lol, I love it!

    Dawn, ha! I don’t shout it, but I sure have moments of acute writerly envy. Then I try to reframe it as inspiration, although I don’t always succeed.

    Amie, lol on the smoking comment.

    Medeia, I think you and Amie need to have a talk. 😉 And Dawn. She’s into serial killer stuff. But can I just say I LOVE your #15. What an empowering way to look at one’s life! Thank you for sharing that.

    Laura, been there and done that; have the familial protests to prove it. 🙂

    highlyirritable – ha! I love your blogging name. Fantastic. And yes to the punctuation. Yes!

    Hart, ah, I hear you about the need for local, breathing writerly community. Do you know how I met my CP’s, despite trying my best to find a local writing group? It was on the plane coming back from RWA Nationals. I looked down and saw a Harlequin bag and struck up a conversation.

    Becke, you caught me. 40% would indeed by an underestimate. I didn’t want to make myself sound too unbalanced.

    MJ, I love you. 🙂 My family now hates watching TV or movies with me too.

    1. Since DH is also a writer–and got into story analysis long before I did–he and I do this together.

      Our kids are not, at this point, pursuing writing careers (because DH threatened them with severe bodily harm), but both have a way with words.

      Which leads to scenes like this: DD and I were watching the news with a friend of hers. The newscaster said, “Local music lovers are anxious for the world’s biggest outdoor music festival to get underway,” and DD and I snarled in chorus, “EAGER.”

      Her friend jumped, then graciously endured a vocabulary lesson.

  21. # ? You stare out of your office window thinking about the words you’re going to write;

    #? You hear a song you like and immediately think of a story to go with it.

    #? You put a picture of someone closely resembling your MC on your PC monitor as wallpaper…then you stare at it instead of working.

  22. Hahaha!

    # You almost tell one of your coworkers to “bite me” because you’re immersed in your MC’s head and forgot how to act in the real world.

    # You use acronyms like WIP, CP, MC, HEA, FSD, etc. in normal speech, forgetting your husband has no clue what they mean.

    # You use the word “climax” in conversation to refer to your story’s ending, forgetting that most people have a different association for that word.

  23. #3,543. You count comments on blogs as part of your daily wordcount. 🙂
    #3,544. You refresh your email inbox so often it’s threatening to get a restraining order against your index finger.

  24. Sue, you do pick such lovely avatars… And I do that with songs, although it’s more often titles or phrases that get me going.

    Tracey, *snork* you have just demonstrated the reason it’s not always good to write about a feisty MC. As for the acronyms and socially inappropriate conversation, my poor husband got used to that when I was in medicine. 😉

    DeeSoul, OMG you made me laugh. Beverage alert people! I’m just sayin’. 🙂

  25. Ooh, good one. What kind of phone did you buy, Shari?

    I have to admit I’d grab a piece of paper and pen before my phone, but then I’m quite new to texting. I’d have lost the thought before I ever got it typed out.

  26. The LG Incite, which runs Windows Mobile. Mind you, it is not all that I hoped for, but I can indeed write on it, and did several times during NaNoWriMo 🙂

  27. * Your eyes glaze over mid-conversation with a friend/colleague/stranger and in unexplained delight, you grab your notebook to scribble down a thought they’ve sparked which MUST make its way into your manuscript.

    * You partake in every conversation/read every book/watch every movie with a filter–the what-can-I-learn-from-this-encounter-for-my-book filter.

    And ditto on the suddenly realizing you can mine annoying acquaintances for your antagonists. 🙂

  28. Shari, you are a resourceful woman!

    Sputnitsa, doh! I hear you about the story filter that runs through everything. As for the glazed eyes, I’m sure I don’t know what you were–

  29. While showering, housecleaning, exercising, or shopping, you have a conversation with one of your characters in your WIP…out loud.

    You take your laptop to the community pool so your kids won’t hate you for neglecting them.

    You see your hunky local firefighters and think of 5 different premises for the new series you’re going to write.

    OMG! I can go on…

    Hope, what a fun topic!

  30. Rosie, I do your first one! I do! I regularly have to pretend I’m singing along to some music while I’m driving because of the odd looks. 🙂

    As for your other points…Yup, uh-huh, and hello? 😉

  31. These are ALL dead on! I went to the bookstore Saturday night (OK. Fine. Two bookstores.) to write and I found a best friend for my protagonist. I “overheard” a conversation between a clerk and a customer. I fell in love with the clerk and now he’s in my book. 🙂

    I’m adding this blog to my Blogroll if you don’t mind!

    1. Sorry, I almost overlooked this in the rush of today’s comments. Absolutely! I’d be honored if you put me on your blog roll. 🙂 Thank you for even asking.

  32. He he, this was a great article. Here are some of mine…

    1. You’re watching a movie and you think, “I would have had him/her say/do this instead.”

    2. You’re reading a book by some big name author and the whole time you’re thinking to yourself, “My God, I could write better than this!”

    3. You stop in the middle of a grocery aisle to eavesdrop on what the two people around the corner are saying because you’re writer’s intuition has registered this as some awesome dialogue.

    4. Some small magnificent piece of prose wakes you up at 4am in the morning and you leap out of bed to quickly jot it down.

    5. Dead tired you drag yourself away from the typewriter and walk to the bedroom still muttering the story aloud.

    1. LOL, Doug, you’re all by your lonesome in contributing a new comment. Thank you. I *might* own up to numbers 1, 3, 4, and 5, but as for suggestion #2? Never. 😉

      Welcome to my wee blog.

      1. Hi Jan. I followed a link from Writer Unboxed to find you here. And congrats on being a new contributor there.

        He he, I do number #2 all the time, especially when I’m reading some junk that someone actually published.

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