Twenty Signs that You are Probably a Writer

You turn down a great opportunity to go out and do something you’ve been dreaming of doing, because everyone else in your house is going, and you can’t wait to be alone with your wip.

You went to the show after all, but you can’t remember it, because you were listening to your characters squabbling in your head.

You see ideas for stories and poems lurking everywhere, but only when you have no way to record them, so you try to remember to bring a pen and notebook with you, no matter where you go.

You’re riding the bus and you think up a perfectly formed plot, but once again, you forgot to bring the pen.

You spend all day with conversations between your characters playing out in your head, and you can’t wait to get home and work on your wip.

When you get home, you rush to the computer before you take off your snowy boots, leaving a trail of slush all over the floor, and then your mind goes as blank as a newly opened Word doc.

When you’re doing the housework, you can’t wait to finish so you can write, and when you are writing, you suddenly can’t think of anything you’d rather do than housework.

You burn the food (again) because you thought up a good line while cooking, but when you went to write it down, it turned into a long poem.

What you like most about Twitter is its usefulness for practicing the art of brevity. All the same, it hurts when you have to type ‘2’ when you really mean ‘too’ or ‘to’.

All the keys on your keyboard are black (or grey, or white); the letters wore off long ago.

People think you are odd because you keep pulling out a notepad to scratch down a few thoughts, then putting it away, then pulling it out again.

People think you have a multiple personality disorder, but really you are just voicing the conversation between your characters to see if it sounds natural.

Your neighbours think you are a magician; you are always mumbling incantations. Really you are just trying not to forget that great turn of phrase you thought up before you can get to a scrap of paper.

Your house is littered with such scraps of paper. In fact there are plot notes on your napkins, character outlines on the backs of your grocery lists, and ideas for future stories on your utility bills.

You sit down for a second to make a note about a possible story line, and suddenly, it’s dark outside, the day has gone by, and you’ve written five thousand words. Your stomach grumbles, but the ideas are flowing, so you ignore it (again) and keep writing.

You check your email constantly for news of all those submissions you’ve sent out.

You alternate between “This piece will never get accepted” and “Maybe I’ll win all five of those literary contests I just entered.”

You receive a rejection and half of you sighs and moves on; the other half can’t believe those jerks didn’t recognize the best piece of writing to grace their desks since < insert name of major literary classic here>.

You spend more time editing, revising and rewriting than you did writing the piece in the first place.

The first thing you think of in the morning is your wip, and the last thing you think about as you are falling asleep is your wip. Your characters invade your dreams in Technicolor.

About Chris Galvin

Chris Galvin is a Canadian writer, editor and photographer dividing her time between Canada and Viet Nam. Her essay Flood Season was a finalist for the 2012 Best of the Net prize, and Discovering Hến Rice in Central Việt Nam won third place (shared) and a Readers’ Choice Award in the 2015 I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest. Her work has appeared in various anthologies and literary journals, including Descant, Asian Cha, PRISM International, Room, and others. She has written in Vietnamese and English for Vietnam Tourism Review/Kham Pha Du Lich Vietnam Magazine, Travellive, and Du Lich Giai Tri. Chris is currently looking for a home for her recently completed manuscript, Breakfast Under the Bodhi Tree, a book about living, eating, and tour-guiding in Viet Nam.
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9 Responses to Twenty Signs that You are Probably a Writer

  1. B. says:

    >You spend more time editing, revising and rewriting than you did writing the piece in the first place.

    😀 So right. Oh man. I can vacillate between using “almost” and “barely” in a text, and choose sequences of words according to syllable numbers and length of word. I always find something to correct or change in rewrites.

    This was a great post! Very accurate and funny. 🙂

    Know what you mean by scraps of paper everywhere. I usually run out to the laptop to turn it on. Next time I buy a pc it’ll be one with a SSD hard drive so it can start up faster. 😀 Before the story/rewrite ideas evaporate.

  2. LOL! Chris this is just too cool. I had a smile on my face as I was reading your post because some of these signs apply to me. For instance, I’m doing the dishes and I come up with my latest plot. I go to bed and before I close my eyes, I think of a possible story, darn it! too late! I’ve already turned off the light. I am hungry but I’m typing like a mad woman so I can’t stop (and I usually don’t say NO to food) 😉
    Thank you! this validates that I am indeed a writer 😉

  3. Lisa Kilian says:

    So much food has been ruined in my house.

  4. DW says:

    Oh boy, does this ever sound familiar! I think I might qualify.

  5. Jingle says:

    divine words…

    eloquently said.

  6. Jingle says:

    Greetings, how are you? hope you well!
    Hope to see you in Poets Rally Week 38,
    Love your poetry talent and looking forward to a profound experience with your input.


  7. Scent of my heart says:

    That was funny, certainly can recognize few of the points … good post!

  8. I laughed so hard I nearly cried. Then I did cry, with joy, realizing I’m not the only one with all these ‘behavior problems.’

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