NOTE: I used Grammarly.com to grammar check this post, because a writer making a grammar mistake is like your surgeon forgetting to make sure he didn’t leave his scalpel in your abdomen. Sloppy. Very sloppy.
Writing is hard. Really hard. Not many of us would purposely choose such a tortured life. We are never “off work.” We see stories everywhere. You don’t have to be a published author to recognize these eleven warning signs. Just understand that, as of yet, there is no cure.
11 Signs You May Be a Writer
1. The people you see in real life become characters.
As in a story, you only name the important ones. The others are the grocery store checker, the yoga teacher, the Starbucks guy. When they become an important character in your story, also known as your life, they get a name.
2. Something unexpected that happens in your life is not a surprise, it’s a plot twist.
When life throws you a punch, you are plotting out all the other things that will happen as a result of that one plot twist—how things will change.
3. You can’t stop staring at that customer in Starbucks.
You’re thinking his mannerisms would make him a unique character. The way he holds his coffee, wrapping both hands all the way around it and blowing on it. The way he keeps smoothing the lapel of his jacket. How he throws his head back when he laughs.
4. You buy way more books than you need.
You have purchased so many books that your spouse has threatened to take your credit card away. Your Kindle is either going to explode or run out of shelf room.
5. One typo, anywhere, will stop you cold.
You are so distracted by that typo that you can’t think of anything else. The secret to the universe may be revealed in that blog post or Facebook update, but you turn away, obsessing over that one misspelled word.
6. You take too long finding the perfect greeting card.
There must be one that says exactly what you want to say, in exactly the way you want to say it. You understand how you get when you are card shopping, so you do not bring anyone along with you to the Hallmark shop.
7. Your partner doesn’t want to watch movies with you.
You comment on plot structure, whether the inciting incident comes too soon, where the exact division points between acts one, two and three are, how to make that one line of dialogue better, why the plot fizzled in the middle. Your spouse can only roll his eyes.
8. You carry around a little notebook to record lines of dialogue you hear.
You are sitting in the styling salon, your head dripping with hair dye solution, when a customer in the next chair delivers the perfect line of dialogue. : “His degree said engineer, but his heart said cowboy.” You keep repeating the line to yourself until you can reach your notebook to write it down. You don’t know if you’ll ever do anything with it, but just in case…
9. The first thing you do with a book is turn to the author bio.
If you are a debut author, you keep comparing yourself to other authors. In the bookstore, the first place you check in a book is the inside cover section with the author’s bio and pic. You count how many books she has published. And if she is thirty years younger than you, you get all depressed, just certain that it’s too late for you and the dream is over.
10. You write several drafts of your Facebook updates.
Are the verbs strong enough? Too many adjectives? Is it engaging enough?
11. Your daughter doesn’t want to hang around with you anymore.
By the number of notes you take when having lunch with her, she is afraid that she is going be a character in your next novel.
Do you have any of these warning signs?
Is it time to get help?