Here’s a blast from the past. . . a blog post I wrote in 2013 that’s as true today as it was back then.
I wasn’t that odd as a child, not really, although if you ask my father he’d probably disagree. I was sensitive to my surroundings (especially to the undercurrents of conversations and what wasn’t being said); I was prone to storytelling (others referred to this as exaggeration); and I had three special (imaginary-to-everyone-else) friends. I played with them, had conversations (and arguments) with them and I ate meals with them too. This did not please my rational father. He didn’t realize he had a writer-in-the-making in the house.
How do you know you’re a writer? You know you’re a writer when –
You had imaginary friends as a child only they were real to you.
You are prone to wild imaginings that can literally make your heart race.
Conflict makes you smile.
You don’t get non-readers.
You laugh out loud at conversations in your head.
Some of the letters on your keyboard are worn off.
You have pens in every room of your house, including the bathroom and beside your bed.
A song on the radio sparks a story idea.
You stare at random people and memorize their quirks.
You can predict the conflict or turning points in movies, and your family has made you promise to keep quiet until it’s over.
You get excited by Scrivener.
Eavesdropping is second nature.
You love bookstores (but hate them if they don’t carry your books).
You live in a constant state of ‘what now?’ closely followed by ‘what if?’
Twist is not a cinnamon stick.
You have scribbled an idea, a word, or a piece of dialogue on a restaurant napkin, boarding pass, old envelope, school newsletter, or empty toilet roll.
You find those odd bits of paper – sometimes indecipherable – in pockets, wallets, purses, drawers, stuffed between the pages of a book, and you save them.
Pacing is a concept not an activity.
You found it easier to write when you first started.
You have missed a turn, an exit ramp or possibly a plane because you were so absorbed in your story.
You weren’t comfortable as a journalist because you always wanted to change the end of the story.
Proofreading is automatic.
Character is not about your personal ethics.
A hero must be flawed. But sexy as hell.
You gather ideas, thoughts, bits of trivia and snatches of dialogue like black pants gather lint.
You visit a cemetery and take notes.
People you barely know ask you to read their book, their article, their life story. Or ask you to write it.
You have a weird combination of insecurity and confidence.
Finishing the scene is more important than answering the phone.
The Muse is an intimate.
And, finally, you will read anything.