Becoming a writer is a lot like joining a fandom. You think, "Oh, hey. This looks fun. I'll give it a shot!" Then, before you know it, you're sucked into a brand new world full of crazy ideas, sad stories, and insane people. And there's no way out.
Becoming a writer isn't really something you do, it's something you catch. Like the measles. Except there isn't a cure, and you'll spend half of your time wishing there was and the other half you'll spend having the time of your life.
That being said, it can be a nasty shock to wake up in the morning as a Writer. It'd be nice if you could ease into it, right? Spot the symptoms so you have time to prepare.
Well, luckily you can. All you have to do is learn to read the stars and watch for signs of impending writing. Or, if you're lazy, you can just read the below list:
2. You know tons of words, but mispronounce a large fraction of them. Because you've read tons of novels and puttered at creating your own, you have a brain full of interesting words. You know how to spell words like "beneficence," "sophist," and "jocoseness," but you settle for easier synonyms when speaking because what are the chances that you'll say them correctly?
3. You suffer from crippling self doubt. Questioning yourself, your talents, and your reason for existence upon a regular basis is just part of your routine. But...
4. You keep grasping at your dreams anyway. Because you have a story inside of you and you think maybe, just maybe, somebody might need to read it someday. And that's reason enough to keep trying to write, right? Right??
5. You like to eavesdrop. There's no shame in this. Unless you get caught. Or try to blackmail somebody with information you overheard. In which case: Yes. Shame on you. Shame on your cow. But, generally, eavesdropping and people watching is enjoyable to you. People say the most interesting things and can provide multiple sparks of inspiration.
6. Your people skills are questionable. Listening in on conversations? Yes please! Actually being part of a conversation? Ew. I mean, sure. You can get along with people and even pass yourself off as a regular human being. But sometimes you have to reign yourself in. Like when somebody asks, "Oh, do you like to read?" and you have to say, "Oh, yeah. I really do." Rather than screaming, "jieoajdoajo;a! YES. YES!! I have a ton of bookshelves and a kindle and I read all of the time and do you like this book? You do?? Oh my gosh! That character is the BEST!" You'd probably yell all of this while imitating an excited Merida.
7. You see stories everywhere. And I mean everywhere. On the street corner, driving along the freeway, watching the trees wave in the breeze, seeing a pretty rock on the ground. The world is full of stories and they're all shouting for your attention.
8. You tend to space out a lot. Which is unfortunate. Because then you'll have missed that important piece of information you professor just gave out. Or you'll find your friend has come the end of their story and is asking you "So, what should I do?" and you have to figure out how to worm your way out of the situation. But sometimes your brain is more exciting than your external surroundings. However...
9. When you pay attention, you pay attention. When you aren't being distracted by something else, you are a good listener and a good observer. Like Sherlock Holmes level of attention to detail. Because who knows? There might be a good story in this somewhere.
10. You like wikipedia. Okay, so maybe you're one of the few people who knows about armadillo girdled lizards or the history of gun powder. But that information may come in handy one day. Operative word being "may." And even if if it doesn't, it's still fascinating.
11. People around you ask for help writing things or spelling things. Because you have "writer" stamped all over you and everyone except for yourself recognizes your flair for words.
12. You are either very organized or very not-organized. There is a place for everything and everything is in it's place. You probably have an organizer and multiple journals. Outlines appeal to you, as do spreadsheets and carefully managed time. OR: your room is in chaos, you have sticky notes stuck to random walls, and ideas written on the palm of your hand. You live like a hippy and schedules and order kill your soul. I'm the latter, just in case you can't tell from the state of my room:
13. You are obsessed with odd things. When you like something, you like something all. the. way. You obsess and get absurdly excited, usually over things that other people don't get. Like a minor character from an obscure series. Or Chopin's etudes. Of the Valar from LOTR. Or all things related to Batman '66. Or sans serif font. Or Itty Bittys. You like them. Maybe they're weird, but you like them and they make you happy, so who cares if you go a bit overboard?
14. You love stories. A lot. Books, movies, songs. You spend your time delving into them, trying to learn, soak up new ideas, go on adventures, feel that spark of something excited and happy inside that pops up whenever you're around a good tale.
If you identify with an alarming amount of these, then you're probably turning into a Writer....Or have already become one. At least now you know.
Don't try to argue with me. Don't talk like one of them. You're not. Even if you'd like to be. We both know it's the truth. It's time to stop trying to fit yourself into the "non-writer" box. Let it go.
I'm not gonna lie about the ramifications of this discovery. Friends don't lie. So here's the truth: Being a writer is hard. And scary.
And completely and utterly awesome.
You have a story and a voice like no other. So go for it. Complete the metamorphosis. I may be biased, but the grass is greener over here. In fact, it's not even green. It's all sorts of beautiful colors, and it always smells like dew and sunshine. And there are unicorns. So come on over. We're excited to have you.
10 Things Nobody Tells You About Being A Writer...Until It's Too Late
10 Reasons Why Writers Aren't The Weird Ones
Inside the Creative's Mind: 9 Things You Should Know
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