Are you (slightly) weird?
I don’t mean that in a pejorative sense; just that maybe you have a couple of traits that set you aside from some of your friends?
These could be positive traits; things that mean you are a writer.
Writers are wired differently, there’s no denying it. You have an urge to write — to capture what you are thinking — or maybe even to help you figure out what you’re thinking. The writing is part of what we do.
You have a gift. You can weave a story, or to capture the essence of an idea in a few simple sentences.
And your medium is the written word.
Sure, video’s is all very well — periscope and blab and hanging out. But… writing is the best way to communicate your ideas and your experience.
It doesn’t matter that you might appear to be a little distracted sometimes or that you just, you know, hope your friend will arrive late so you can finish your chapter.
And it doesn’t that we can occasionally come across as anti-social.
It’s not that we’re crazy, it’s just that often, our minds are… elsewhere.
If you’ve ever felt the odd one out in a crowd due to any of these reasons, be assured that you’re not alone. Far from it. You’re part of a tribe of very special people.
And we’ve compiled these 20 tell-tale signs so that you can self-identify as one of the unique little breed that we like to call writers.
1. You read. A lot.
No, not as in
I enjoy reading on a Sunday afternoon.
More like you devour books for breakfast, lunch and supper. You read on your kindle in the supermarket queue; you miss your bus or tube stop because you’re so engrossed in what you’re reading – and you don’t even care.
It isn’t something that you question but, if you did, you’d say that a healthy reading habit is key to a healthy writing habit. And being a reader is where a lot of your ideas come from.
2. You talk to yourself
Not in a crazy way, of course. You’re not that kind of weird.
You talk to yourself in the car, waiting at school, in the office, in the doctor’s office – you sometimes find yourself muttering under your breath.
Mumbling the first line of an email or a note to yourself so that you can capture your idea before pressing send – you don’t just write, you rehearse it out loud.
Well, OK, maybe it’s slightly crazy.
But it’s OK. Just know that you’re not alone and that talking to yourself is simply a way to process your thoughts so that you can get them on paper efficiently.
3. You go into book stores just ‘because’
A bookshop is your equivalent of a toy shop to a child: you go in for the pure enjoyment of looking, of reading extracts, of sniffing the freshly printed pages.
It’s something we all share – the covers are an art form, the blurbs are a tantalising promise of pleasures to come, and if other people don’t understand or share your enjoyment, well, that’s too bad.
4. You write down your ideas
And you write them down as soon as they come — on whatever is available.
(If your partner didn’t want you to scribble all over his work diary, then he shouldn’t have left it next to the bed.)
It’s not that you always do anything with those ideas, but it’s an essential part of your thinking process.
And maybe there’s a slight obsession with never letting anything go?
5. Every story you tell is ‘slightly’ embellished
You don’t read the glossies (other than in a dentist’s waiting room) or watch the soaps but you understand how they work, and you know the power of a well-told tale to retain the audience’s attention and convey the moral of a story.
And so, you sometimes experiment on your friends and family. Just a little.
6. You have a stack of unused notebooks and yet, you continue to buy more
It’s like an addiction.
OK, let’s face it, it is an addiction.
But they all have their place, you tell yourself,
A beautiful notebook makes the writing easier.
But really it doesn’t help with the writing, it’s just part of the joy of being a writer.
7. You read. Everything.
Again, no – not just everything in your bookshelf and kindle list. But everything.
You read the ingredients list on the pickle jar, you read the descriptions on DVD boxes, headlines on the latest glossies.
You can’t help yourself ‘seeing’ the words as something separate from the meaning.
8. People call you a grammar Nazi…
Which is such a bad thing to say because…
9. …you’re a word nerd
And you just don’t understand #8.
A preference for grammatical correctness and an aversion to incorrectly placed or mis-used words do not make you a supporter of one of the most hated ideological movements of the twentieth century.
Hmmm, what are people thinking?
10. You run (or swim) not for fitness, but for the head space
Although you do appreciate the cardio benefits that come with your chosen sport, you probably prefer a solitary sport. One that allows you to be alone with your thoughts.
Or alone with the meditation that comes from movement.
The fitness is great, and you appreciate the mind-body connection.
Mostly, though, you do it for the idea-time.
11. They frown on you at the local library
Although you love and respect books, you desire to make notes on them.
Which means your own books are covered in post-it notes, highlighter and dog-eared pages.
You do still visit the library, put up with the jokes or the mild scorn, but it’s mainly to work in the company of like-minded bibliophiles.
12. Your phone is always on silent
When you talk to someone, you’ve usually made an appointment, on your terms, and at a time that suits you. Interruptions aren’t welcome.
You find yourself asking,
Why couldn’t they just email? Or Facebook message?
Isn’t everything better in writing?
13. You turn your day into a listicle
It soothes you to write out what you plan to do that day.
Perhaps you have a journal, or perhaps it’s the trusty post-it note (again)?
It’s not OCD to write everything down – it helps you focus to have your priorities laid out before you in a clearly structured and concise manner.
And then you can pick the top one and get going.
14. You’re constantly searching for ‘why’
Asking ‘why’ is much more interesting to you than asking ‘how’. To you anyway.
And if you can’t find the answer, you will read and research, and ideas will start to make sense and connect. You see patterns.
And then you might write it down. Somewhere.
Maybe you will write that book someday?
15. You write in your sleep (sometimes)
It’s really not uncommon for you to wake up in the middle of the night with a line buzzing around your head. Or a connection you need to explore tomorrow.
And you think nothing of firing up your laptop at 3am to check it out.
Our advice (especially if you don’t sleep alone) is to get a notebook and a small torch and just write it down so that you can go back to sleep as quickly as possible.
16. Your friends think you’re constantly emailing or texting
You’re on your phone and your friends think you’re being anti-social (there it is again).
Don’t they understand about notes? Or Evernote? Or one of the writing apps?
You can easily get down a couple of thousand words between a morning meeting and lunch.
17. You’re impervious to bad reviews
It’s a rare writer who can say she doesn’t read the bad reviews and actually mean it.
What’s much more likely is that she doesn’t actually post the scathing reply she spent the whole night drafting. (Back to that muttering we talked about in #2.)
18. You’re impervious to good reviews
You just said that you don’t read reviews!
Well… you only send out flowers and gift boxes to the really special people, the ones who appreciate your books.
19. You can write anywhere, anytime
You don’t have to be in the mood, or in the flow, or in a particular environment.
If an idea comes to you, it’s out with the smartphone, the voice recorder or the plain old-fashioned notebook.
If, on the other hand, someone interrupts your everyday writing routine… Well, let’s just say they should have emailed first.
20. You find inspiration everywhere
It doesn’t matter if it’s the pattern of the trees in the park near your house, the old man at the coffee shop every morning, or the last line of your favourite podcast — you find inspiration everywhere without looking for it.
So much so that it starts to seem like synchronicity, you’re wondering what kind of challenges people have that might be relevant to your next book and, lo and behold, someone posts their challenge on Facebook.
There’s nothing magical really, it’s just your reticular activating system that blanks out the white noise and helps you pay attention to the things that are important in that moment.
You don’t care though. You’re grateful for the inspiration wherever it comes from: from the smallest things to the life changing moments.
Because that’s what fires you up and inspires you to sit down and share your story with the world.
And that’s what makes a writer so special.
Can you associate with any of these? Or do you have other traits that make you a writer? Let us know on social media.