From the Writer's Boards: You Might be a Writer. . . .

From the Writer's Board


These are a few posts taken from the Forward Motion Writers' Board.  I hope you enjoy them!

You might be a writer if... decide to treat yourself one day, and so you go buy the Writers' Digest book "Body Trauma: A Writer's Guide to Wounds and Injuries." And then you spend the evening lounging around in bed reading it.

-- Bryn Neuenschwander

1. Your pots have burn scars on the bottoms because you thought you'd "just write a paragraph or two" while the water boiled and then you forgot about the pot...

2. You steal ideas from your own dreams

3. You buy a Latin/English dictionary just so you can make up neat-sounding names

4. Something bizarre, dramatic, and/or faintly unpleasant happens, and you secretly think "This would make SUCH a great scene in a story..."

-- Eilonwy

... you worry when you *don't* hear voices.

... you make notes while reading fiction, and you're not a student.

-- Katherine (Kewms)

... You shake your head over the poor narrative flow in technical reports.

... When people ask you about your work-in-progress, you get so caught up telling them all the backstory that you never actually get around to summarizing the plot.

... You see obscure reference manuals like "Guide to Deep-sea Invertebrates" in the bookstore and think, I really need to get that.

... Your idea of a jackpot Christmas is getting pens, notebooks, printer cartridges, and an ergonomic keyboard.

... And you definitely know you're a writer if you find yourself agreeing with and contributing to "you might be a writer if" lists!

-- Beth Adele Long

... You try to piece together the not-terribly-important-and-only- sketched history behind a story...only to find that given dates are wildly inconsistent or the whole thing's self-contradictory. And it ruins the whole book for you because it's a testament to the author's laziness.

-- Jeff Burke

... Your family won't watch movies with you because you always see what's coming next plotwise... or confuse them by telling them what SHOULD have come next.

... When you're sitting somewhere quietly, not bothering anyone, your SO says, "Will you just stop writing for ONE minute!"

-- Dona Vaughn

... You can't watch a movie without mentally trying to figure out how it might be written if it was a novel.

... Your friends introduce you to people at parties as "the girl who's always got a pen in her hand -- *please* don't ask her what she's writing!"

... Your friends don't bother to introduce you to people at parties, because they know you're just going to sit in the corner writing, and no one will notice you anyways.

-- Allikat

... Your power goes out and you're so desperate to make your writing goal for the day that you sit with a flashlight and write the scene out longhand.

... When you can't get any editing done at home, you e-mail chapters to work. No one understands what you do anyway, and you look like you're doing real work.

... You hear the word 'sleep' and wonder what people are talking about.

-- Vicki McElfresh

... You say 'I'm sorry, my mind's on another planet today,' and quite literally mean it.

... There are tear marks down the side of your space-bar from that last tragic scene.

-- Alison

... you read that and initially space-bar meant a place near the spaceport where off-duty ground engineers drink and fugitives arrange to get off planet quietly. Doubly so if you started drafting the scene.

-- Bob Billing

... You get a brand new dictionary and your sister tells you to leave it in the car when you go into the restaurant to eat because you keep trying to read it like a novel . . .

... The WIP-labels (or report-writing, for those in non-industrial fields) you have to do at work remind you of all the writing-time you're "wasting" for a paycheck.

... You start to think you need another alarm clock, so you can set it to go off when it's time for you to get ready for bed/work.

... You start weighing time with your friends/family against that exciting new story idea/outline you want to work out...

... When you get stares from people who think you're schizophrenic---and you're actually working out important dialogue in your WIP.

... You have to remind yourself to suspend disbelief while watching an action movie because you're pretty darned certain no one can do that.

-- A. Shelton (Zaiud)

... you find staying up 'till 3 in the morning to get into the right mindset and banging your head into the computer "fun."

-- Miaka 

... You've ever woken up ~on~ the keyboard at 3am...<g>

-- Jennifer St. Clair Bush

... And then turned it into a scene where the heroine dozes off at the controls of a spaceship.

-- Bob Billing

...I actually have woken up at the keyboard...

... dozing in the chair at 5 a.m. after pulling an all-nighter.

-- Jim Mills

... you wake up at 4 a.m. and turn on the PC to write a scene or two because you can't get back to sleep.

... you sleep all afternoon so you can stay up at night and write.

... you plan your writing activities around your spouse's (or significant other's) work schedule so that you can spend time with that Spouse/S.O. (alternately, you plan your writing activities around any other real life activity. You do remember what real life is, don't you?).

... people keep asking you when you're going to get a job. (I wonder if they ask Steven King that question?)

-- Jim Mills

... You're single and you realize that interest in any possible significant other has to at least equal if not surpass interest in your writing.

A. Shelton (Zaiud)

... you try to look a word up in the dictionary, only to remember that you invented it yourself.



I knew I'd been writing too much when... 

...I went out one evening and couldn't shake the feeling I was underdressed ... because I wasn't wearing a sword.

-- Alison 

...Mine was a walking stick and a cloak, but I know what you mean.

-- Jennifer St.Clair Bush

You certainly are [a writer] if...

... You can look up at a starry sky, and point out exactly where your characters live.

-- Bob Billing

You know you've made it when... 

... People dress up as your characters--and it's not even Halloween. 

... You have a hard time finding nice, normal names for your characters. You've exhausted the entire baby name book for your stories. Twice. 

... Your writing awards are on display in the National Museum.

 ... Your agent needed to be taken under the Witness Protection program--other agents are killing to get his job.

 ... You get calls from writers asking if they can worship at the Temple of Your Greatness.


... you create a really bad, thin plot, then make millions and sail the seas in your luxury yacht with your adoring readers as crew, and laugh as people and even barmy Hollywood idols snap up your books and do courses in your works at ludicrous prices and accept them as fact.

-- Damon M. Lord



You know you've made it when...   

... the clerk in a bookstore who is taking your check recognizes your name and realizes you might be at least related to someone whose books he stocked yesterday.

... the clerk where you've been buying books for five years suddenly makes the connection between you and his end-cap display.

... your new next door neighbor has heard of you.

... your old next door neighbor has heard of you.

... your parents stop suggesting you get a real job.

... checks arrive before the rent is due.

... you don't rent, you own. Outright.

... you see someone you don't know reading one of your books in a public place.

... you've stopped worrying about money.

... you've stopped worrying about your sales numbers.

... you've stopped worrying about whether your next manuscript will sell.

... you've started worrying about tax shelters.

... telling the maitre 'd your name results in a table better than the one next to the restrooms.

When any of these happen, I'll figure I've made it.

-- Holly Lisle