Sunday, April 15, 2012

Symptoms of a Writer

I haven't been writing for very long.  In fact, it's only been a year since I first started thinking about writing as a serious career.  Before that I wasn't even entirely sure that I could write a book.  It seemed well outside the realm of things I could feasibly do.  Anyway, in that year, lots of things have happened.  I've written novels (9 in total...none that have made it much further than the first draft) I've also had the opportunity to hang out with a lot of writers, which isn't something I've really had the chance to do in my life.

In the time spent with them, I've started to recognize certain patterns in the way they (okay, yeah, we...) act or think.  I've decided to post them so that anybody can recognize the writers in their life.

# 5 Playing The License Plate Game

This game may not be something that everybody knows, but the rules are you take the three letters in a license plate and figure out a word from them.  All three letters need to be used in the same word, and in the order they appear on the plate.  Technically the person who says something first wins, but I've also played where you keep going until someone can't figure out another word.

# 4 Perfect Punctuation in Texts or Private Messages

Most people tend to type in chat speak or the like.  Little things like brb or imo.  Most writers can't stand chat speak.  And to go beyond that, they tend to write in proper punctuation and capitalization.  It doesn't matter how few characters allowed in the text/tweet or whatever.  Making sure it's written correctly is more important than anything.

# 3 Fascination With Stationary

This means more than just notebooks or paper (though, trust me, there's quite a bit of that as well.)  I'm talking pens, notebooks, pencils, graph paper, day timers.  Really anything that can be looked at as stationary becomes like crack to writers.  The highlight of any given week can be going to a local Staples (or any office supply store, really) and most will spend more money than they really should have.

# 2 Disappearing Acts

Inspiration can strike at any moment.  Some of them are well timed, but more often than not, it couldn't be worse.  That's why most writers tend to carry some kind of notebook with them wherever they go.  This is so that, should an idea happen to occur to them, they have somewhere to record it so that it doesn't get forgotten.  When this happens, generally they'll disappear for a few minutes to write it down.  Don't worry, they'll come back.

# 1 Talking About Characters As If They Were Real

This is the most important one of all.  Writers tend to look at their characters as less things they've created in their heads for a book and more as real people.  For the record, yes we do understand that they're not actually real, but we also understand that things we make us should not have the capacity to lie to us, and therefore we make sure to be cautious.  If you know a writer, you will be expected to recognize the names, and maybe even know who they are.  I promise you that your writer knows how crazy this sounds, but remember: Crazy is a prerequisite for writing.

Well, there you have it.  The top five ways to recognize if you have a writer in your life.  Remember, not all writers will have all of these symptoms.  Some may even have none.  Be diligent.  Writers require the help of 'normals' in order to keep them from being hermits who type away at their computers in the dingy basement muttering to themselves and shunning humanity for not 'understanding' their work.  Take pity on your writer today.  Make sure they get enough sun and something to eat.  The kindness will be appreciated when the novel is done.

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