You Know You’re a Writer When…

I keep a copy of Adair Lara’s humorous You Know You’re a Writer When… on my desk. I like to glance through it now and then to remind myself that some of my quirks actually seem to be common qualities of creative scribes.

Here are a few that resonate with me today:

You know you’re a writer when…

You copy and paste the e-mails you write into your journal.

You look up “parsimony” in the dictionary and don’t stop reading until you hit “psalm.”

At parties, you check out the bookshelves the way other people snoop through medicine cabinets.

You fell in love with a man because he used “frisson” and “palimpsest” in cocktail-party conversation.

And some of mine:

You find yourself more engaged in your characters’ lives than your own.

You have a favorite pen, and you know your writing is better when you use it.

You proofread and polish your e-mails until they shine.

You ignore your dinner companions at a restaurant, listening instead to the conversation at the next table because you might be able to use some of the dialogue in a scene you’re writing.

Anyone want to add some of yours in the comments?

Copyright @ Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World,


11 Responses to “You Know You’re a Writer When…”

  1. 1 Belle November 19, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Fun! Here are some more:

    You can sit happily looking like you’re “doing nothing” when you’re getting a lot accomplished, like structuring the entire next scene you’re going to write about.

    You hear a strange sound on the street and instead of checking to see what’s up, you come up with ten different possibilities and then start developing the best sounding one into Yet Another Great Novel Idea.

  2. 2 slacker-chick November 19, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    When you have a supremely sh*tty day full of one irritation or catastrophe after another from the moment you wake until you go to bed and you think, “this will make a great blog post/story/scene!”

  3. 3 Wendy Nelson Tokunaga November 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    You lie awake in bed at night trying to fill plot holes.

  4. 4 Gabriella November 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    You use the word “beautiful” a lot…and mean it.

  5. 5 stranglingmymuse November 20, 2009 at 11:07 am

    These are great — and I can relate to all of them!

  6. 6 K a b l o o e y November 22, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    When you are always commenting to people about how this or that would make a good short story, movie, novel, interpretive puppet dance piece, etc. When you (and when I say “you” I mean me) have overheard lines, story ideas, fragments of dialogue, sketches on scraps of paper, the inside covers of books you were reading at the time, bank receipts, post its ALL OVER the place.

    And what slacker-chick said…
    and what you said about looking over people’s bookshelves. Big time on that one.

  7. 8 Kid In The Front Row November 27, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Luckily, I’m not a perfectionist — I let my emails go out often without grammar! I’m still a writer though.

    • 9 stranglingmymuse November 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm

      Good for you! You probably get more writing done if you’re not obsessing over sending perfect e-mails, like some of us. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. And, by the way, I’m a big movie fan — I glanced at your blog and I’m looking forward to checking it out more thoroughly when I have time.

  8. 10 Susan @ 2KoP December 1, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    When you can spend hours playing on,, and, rationalizing them as writing tools.

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