You Know You’re a Writer when… Extended Edition!

 NOTE: I am guilty of absolutely every single one of these.

But I know you are, too, so don’t laugh just yet.

You know you’re a writer when…

• You’re at church before the sermon starts and you lean over to ask a family member “What’s that other torture device that ISN’T the stocks, but is sort of like them?” (Real-life experience, here ^_^ The family member in question was my brother-in-law, who couldn’t remember – Mom did, and it was pillory, thank you, Mom! – and said “…you’re talking about medieval torture devices in church?” I said “…yeah?”

• You find yourself writing loads of fanfiction for your favorite movies, books, and TV shows.

• You will defend your favorite character to the point of death.

• You will defend the actor’s portrayal of your favorite character to the death (“Ioan a GREAT job as Lancelot! He was NOT comical!!!” “Don’t you DARE say Paul Bettany wasn’t a good Dustfinger!” “Did I just hear you say you didn’t like Zachary Quinto as Spock!? What’s WRONG with you????”) unless…

• You DIDN’T like the character, in which you will tell everthing and everybody within two miles that another version had better be made right away or ELSE!

• You write fanfiction for your own books in order to resurrect a favorite character you had to kill for the sake of the story.

• You can’t read a book or watch a movie without thoroughly analyzing each character and deciding which one is your favorite.

• Your favorite character usually dies, and you jump up and shout “I KNEW IT!” before falling back on the couch and sobbing.

• You find yourself critiquing books you read.

• You know at least four synonmyms for every word (Leave, exit, flee, depart, farewell).

• You HAVE to have a large purse, so you can keep the two current books you’re reading, your pencil box, your sketchbook, and a notebook (preferrably more) inside it.

• You tend to stick pencils in your hair, then forget about them and walk around looking for something to write with (alas, absentmindedness comes with being a writer).

• You get so wrapped up in stories that you find yourself talking to them (“How COULD he???” “What were you THINKING?” “This story is AWFUL!” “I wonder if they wrote any more books…”).

• You think you should invest in a cell pone or bluetooth so you can talk to your characters but nobody will give you strange stares.

• You spend entire days talking, dressing, and acting like a character to ‘get inside their head’.

• You have made up your own fantasy language.

• You never get High elves, dark elves, wild elves, night elves, or santa elves mixed up.

• You automatically use your pen name more than your real one.

• You have more character files than the FBI.

• You would rather talk to your characters than the person sitting by you.

• You’re upset because you grew up in a normal family with two parents, five kids, and a dog. What a gyp.

• You refer to your favorite characters as ‘my baby’.

• You simply smile and nod when people say ‘you’re crazy’ because you know it and you’re proud of it.

• You keep every notebook you’ve ever had with writing it because one of them might spark an idea some day.

• You have notebook stuffed with funny, witty, or clever lines that you will change a little and use yourself (It is NOT plagiarism!!)

• You start a book/movie and instantly know who is going to die and who will survive.

• You start a book/movie and know how the plot will turn out after the first five chapters.

• Nobody likes to watch movies with you because you talk through the whole thing, pointing out mistakes, laughing, crying, and over-reacting.

• You go into fits watching someone write with bad grammar.

• You talk to your characters in public without thinking about the consequences.

• You find yourself talking about your characters as if they were real. “So-and-so said… uh, I mean, I wrote…”

• After correcting your mistake, you apologize to the character because the person you were talking to wouldn’t have understood.

• “New Book Smell” perfume would sell (sheesh, you’d even take old book smell!)

• You consider ink on your fingers to be badges of honor

• You can’t stand those cranked-out fanfiction books (only good fanfiction gets by you!)

• You can’t stand it when nobody ever ‘says’ anything, it’s always ‘he retorted’ ‘she growled’ ‘he snorted’ ‘she pouted’

• You can’t stand it when all anybody ever does is SAY things – ‘she said’ ‘he said’

• You’re always on the lookout for real models for your characters

 (These next ones are from other sources)

• Getting the scene finished is more important than food, coffee, or the bathroom.

• You have a favorite line from every movie you’ve seen.

  • You can’t write because you’re mad at one of your characters.
  • You argue with said character.
  •  You threaten to kill said character off if she doesn’t behave.
  • • You have a folder on your computer labeled “Ideas.” Some of the files within this folder have only one or two words or sentences and while they made perfect sense a year ago, between the software changes in that period of time garbling half the words and your own faulty memory, you have no idea what it means or where you were going with it. But you keep it anyway because you never know, you might remember it eventually.

  • You wake up in the middle of the night and scrabble for the pen and paper you keep next to your bed to write down a scene to make the voices be quiet so you can get some sleep.
  • • You end an argument with someone by saying, “Oh, wait, I have to write this down–this is the perfect conflict for my characters! Now, repeat what you just yelled.”

    • (NOTE from ËARWEN: I COULD NOT BELIEVE I FOUND THIS!! AAAHHH!! This is SO me hahahaha!!!) You think Paul Bettany’s portrayal of Chaucer in A Knight’s Tale is one of the most brilliant characters ever put on film . . . and you often quote several of his lines:

      Chaucer: I’m a writer.
      Wat: A what?
      Chaucer: A wha–a what? A writer. I write, with parchment, and ink. Geoffrey Chaucer’s the name, writing’s the game. You’ve read my book? the Book of the Duchess? No? Well, it was allegorical.
      Roland: Well, we won’t hold that against you, that’s for every man to decide for himself.
      Chaucer: I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw.
      Will: You lied . . .
      Chaucer: Yes . . . yes I lied. I’m a writer, I give the truth scope!

    • You know the difference between metaphor, allegory, and analogy—and you use all of them.

    • The thought of sharing a computer with someone else horrifies you. What if they accidentally download a virus? What if they change the settings in Word? WHAT IF THEY READ MY STUFF???

    • You live in a constant state of “What if?”

    • You think that sobbing hysterically is a good sign when people read your book

    • You think someone hitting you hard after reading your book is a good sign, too

    • You think someone boycotting you after reading your book is also good

    • You know that one day the whole world will read your stuff, but for the moment – “NOBODY LOOK AT THE COMPUTER SCREEN! I AM TYPING!”

    • You look on eavesdropping as ‘collecting ideas’

    • The notebook you carry around is top secret. Until, you realize, that people around the world will end up reading it, but you won’t let your own friends even touch it.

    • The list “You know you’re a writer if…” makes you happy because it confirms that you have a writer’s nature.

    • Said list also relieves you because you realise that you’re not going insane and that other writers feel like you, too.

    • One of the three below Jane Austen obsessions belong to you:
    • You are secretly in a Jane Austen book club

    • When you hear people rave about the next
    greatest Pride and Prejudice movie you
    comment loudly, “Well, it’s not as good as
    the PBS version”…then you go home and
    watch the entire series (8 hours straight).
    • You have a license plate frame that
    reads, “I’d rather be in Pemberley”

    • You sometimes – often out of nowhere – sink into deep despair because you know you’ve forgotten a great idea/expression/etc. that you came up with earlier.

    • You frequently wake up in the middle of the night to write down an awesome idea/line that just came to you so you don’t forget it.

     • You are ostracized from society because people frequently hear you say things like “Should I shoot Bob, or push him off a cliff?”

    • You’re behind on your schoolwork (if you go to school) because you write too much.

    • You have stacks of notebooks that you refuse to throw away because “hey, there might be some epic idea in there that I’ll come upon later and write a book about…”

    • It takes all your restraint to not constantly correct grammar/spelling errors.

    • You might be a writer if your friends and family have come to ignore your habit of talking to yourself.

    • You might be a writer if your family and friends either ignore you when you talk to yourself (or your novel characters) or discuss what will happen to the characters.

    • You might be a writer if you can’t help correcting and criticising movies based off of books that you read.

     •You see a hand-drawn employee appreciation poster at the grocery store with one word misspelled and have to avert your eyes every time you walk past it to keep from attacking it with a red Sharpie.

    • Staring off into space with glazed eyes is considered ‘working.’

    • You are automatically drawn to the display of journals and fancy notepads/notebooks on the bargain table at every bookstore you enter. And you buy at least two, because you don’t have any in that style yet, even though you have at least fifteen or twenty sitting at home unused.

  • Staring off into space with a glazed look in your eyes is considered “working.”
  • •You have a soundtrack of songs you’ve compiled for each of your characters/each of your stories.

    •You secretly correct grammar and spelling errors in friends’ comments on your blog posts.

    • Your dinner conversation about how much poison to use and where to hide the body makes the diners in the next booth call the cops.

    • Your computer is your only true friend. Until it freezes or the Internet goes down. Then you hate it more than anything in the world.

    • You see a documentary about glass blowing artistry and when you see the guy in the full-body fire-resistant suit who “catches” the hot glass when it’s finished, you think, Hey, I think that’s the job the hero of my next book will have!

    • The only response you can come up with in a major Facebook discussion about which cousin talks the most is: “This is SO going into my next book.”

    • You—SQUIRREL!!!

    • You didn’t know that Starbucks sells anything other than the Venti size. (Seriously? Someone would pay for something smaller than that?)

  • You go into mourning when you kill off a character . . . even if the character deserved to die.
  • •You know that “Which of your books is your favorite?” is the second worst question you can be asked. The worst is “Which of your characters is your favorite?”

    You scrutinize peoples’ appearances and mentally describe them as they’re talking to you

  • You watch a documentary on TV about a tribe of Cherokee in East Tennessee who think they’re descended from the Lost Tribe of Israel . . . and a novel about how those ancient Hebrews might have gotten over here and settled in the Smoky Mountains starts forming in your head.
  • • You know more about your characters than your friends.

    • The phrase ‘clear your mind’ means nothing to you.

    • At parties, some people snoop in the medicine cabinet. You sneak peeks at the bookshelves.

    • You’ve ever gone anywhere “in character” for research purposes.

    • You know that critters aren’t cute little fuzzy animals, but the people who shred any delusions you may have about how wonderful your writing is.

    • You buy tons of cool gel-ink or other nifty pens and cannot bypass a sale on your favorite spiral notepads even though you haven’t written longhand since the Clinton Administration.

    • You found it much easier to write before you knew all the “rules.”

    • Whenever you’re at the bookstore or library, you automatically look for the spot where your books will one day be shelved. Or if you’re published, you to go where you know your books are shelved to see if anyone has checked them out/bought them, because you know how many were there last time.

    • You aren’t concerned when someone else talks about “the voices” not leaving them alone—in fact, you ask them about their voices and tell them about your own.

    • You have random pieces of paper, envelopes, napkins, toilet tissue, and church bulletins scattered throughout your house and car that contain the chapter you’re currently writing.

    • You know more than ten verbs to describe the way someone walked into the room.

    • Poorly written novels make you bipolar—elated knowing that you’re a better writer, and depressed because that hack got published and you can’t get past the acquisitions editor.

    • You use semicolons (correctly) in e-mails, forums, and blog posts; you just can’t help yourself.

    • It takes you forever to send a text message on your cell phone because it has to be properly spelled and punctuated. “Chatspeak” is totally incomprehensible (not to mention totally annoying) to you.

    • When given an essay/paper assignment in school with a ten-page length requirement, the professor turns and looks at you and says, “That means ONLY ten pages!” Your response is, “Is eight-point font okay?”

    • Writing is all you can think about when you don’t have time to do it, and the last thing you want to do when you set aside time for it.

    Any more to add?


    9 thoughts on “You Know You’re a Writer when… Extended Edition!

    1. Sooooo…… just wanted to be SURE you knew that the whole giving the truth scope is probably a concept you should reign in just a tad….. you know, before it runs away with you… just saying…..

    2. Oh I love it! I should really get back to writing… I have an angry MC on my hands right now because she’s not getting any glory. *sighs* Thanks for the post, all of it was true for me, except for the coffee part. I don’t really like coffee.

      In Christ,

    3. Okay, how about this one?

      You know you’re a writer when:
      ~You add speech tags at the end of your comments. For example, “No on else is here yet, I commented.”

      And yeah…I did that the other day. ^_^
      At least I wasn’t speaking in third person WITH speech tags. XD

      This was a fun post…and I’ve done a lot of those. 😉

      ~Lady Avarona~

    4. “The phrase ‘clear your mind’ means nothing to you.”
      Thank you! It drove me crazy when the doctor would tell me, “Clear your mind. Stay calm. Stay Calm. FOR PETE SAKE, KID, WHY CAN’T YOU STAY CALM!!!!!” 😀

    5. HA! 😀 Great list! It reminds me of the time me and a few other writer-friends were eating dinner at a restaurant together and discussing our stories. We were in a happy discussion about various characters we’ve destroyed when one of my friends said, in a loud and perfectly normal tone of voice, “OK, so, once I killed this woman, and-” One of us cut her off with a “Shhh!!!” and another mock-gasped, “Does your mother know??!?!?”

      Heh, it was very memorable. 🙂

    6. Oh, Earwen, I can’t breathe! You killed me!
      Yes! I am a writer! Not all of those are true–but almost. My personal sign language for “fiction writing” is: position my fingers as if I were holding a pen, tilt my head up, and let my eyes glaze over.
      I have the hardest task sometimes keeping my mind on the sermon instead of whatever I’ve been writing.
      One of the characters in my NaNovel last year died; he really deserved it, but I mourned for him anyway.
      Most of the other things were also quite accurate, and therefore quite funny.
      Let’s see, can I add anything?
      You might be a writer if you constantly wonder how to spell your baby brother’s attempts to talk.

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