“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” — George Eliot
You very well might be a writer if…
- There are no innocent bystanders in your life. Everybody becomes a character in your writing, warts and all. Especially the warts.
- You read the same piece you’ve written over and over again and your inner critic vacillates between: “I can’t believe I wrote something so beautiful” and “What the hell was I thinking? That’s it! I’m done! Never again! It’s back to planespotting for me!”
- You lose your mind if anyone attempts to organize that untidy mound of paper on your floor beside your desk, because you know exactly where every piece of writing and research is located in the pile.
- You can’t read your old writing from the periods when you actually believed with all your heart and soul that you were a naturally gifted writer, especially during your teen years. You just can’t. It’s too cringe-inducing.
- Writers block is as real to you as one of your annoying family members, only this one lives inside your head, taking up valuable space, and refuses to pick up after itself, pitch in with the chores or pay its fair share of the rent.
- You casually insert words you’ve invented into conversation and totally ignore the “Wait… what?” expression on your friends’ faces.
- The slightest noise from the outside world, the off-tune ice cream truck jingle, kids playing in the street, dogs barking, pushes you off the precipice of sanity in a Tell Tale Heart manner.
- A telephone book or an office directory is your character name generator.
- The blank page is your personal version of the First Gate of Hell and the cursor taunts you by blinking in Morse code: “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate” and despite your fear, you’re slightly pleased with yourself because you know that translates as, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
- You call a pen without ink a dead soldier.
- Writers block makes you the most active person on the planet. Clean the fridge? No problem. Clear the leaves out of the rain gutter? Sure thing. Solve Goldbach’s conjecture (you know, every even integer greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two primes)? I’m on it. Spend quality time with the mother-in-law? Um, I think I might try my hand at writing, if you don’t mind.
- You hate the phrase, “Well, you’re the writer” whenever someone has to take notes or minutes or make a shopping list. Okay, maybe not the shopping list. It is a list, after all.
- You become a human spellcheck and thesaurus for your friends, family and co-workers.
- You’ve stubbed your toe or banged your shin in the dark, scrounging for a pen and piece of paper to jot down the absolutely brilliant idea that blindsided you in the middle of the night.
- You collect stories on the odd ways people have accidentally met their maker or have been murdered. For research purposes only, of course.
- You automatically rewrite the endings to disappointing movies or TV series in your head.
- You own more than ten novels that contain your own personal annotations and notes, but you don’t stop there. You also annotate .PDF files and have broken the cardinal sin of making notes in a borrowed book (shame on you).
- You own a box that contains old hotel card keys, movie, theater and airline ticket stubs, assorted restaurant and bar sundries (bar coasters, swizzel sticks, fruity drink umbrellas, menus), receipts, and the like, not only for future reference but for the tactile memories associated with each item.
- You hate your most embarrassing moments because they play over and over in the movie theater of your mind but revel in the fact that they’ll make great material for a future story.
- And finally, you very well might be a writer if writing is the beast that terrifies you to the very core of your being, yet you love it with all your heart, anyway.
Sally forth and be writeful.
— Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys