That sentence can be finished off a thousand different ways. When did you figure out you were a writer?
For me, it happened early. Once I started reading, my imagination wanted to create its own stories and I found these stories took me beyond the small town where I grew up and allowed me think what could be possible.
I had a magical playground with a beach that appeared and disappeared on command, unsolvable mysteries that only my heroine could crack, then the next day travel to distant galaxies. I was never without a journal, paper or pencils. I collected bookmarks. I took my stories and bound them between cut out cardboard and illustrated the covers.
Once you become a writer youâre changed forever. Itâs a mindset really, youâre going along and BAM, thereâs two ancient ladies walking along a busy stretch of road, arm in arm and your mind has to give them a story. You crave learning because you can use the experience and knowledge for your characters. You get 2 hours alone and instead of taking a nap, you write blog posts about writing.
A few years ago, I picked up a cute book titled You Know Youâre a Writer When… by Adair Lara. Inside are truisms for the writerâs life and it lets me know Iâm not alone. Thatâs the thing with writing; for the most part it is not a group activity. Youâre all by yourself with only your characters to talk to.
I know Iâm a writer when Iâm writing, but also when I quiz people on their life stories or jot notes about strangers and what theyâre wearing. Some time back, while driving from Charlotte to Raleigh, NC I noticed a man jogging the paved paths in a cemetery. That was too good not to work into a story.
Here are a few ways I can finish the sentence:
You know youâre a writer when….
â¢ You stalk people in public and use them for character descriptions.
â¢ You rewrite EVERYTHING you read including the cereal box.
â¢ Your genealogy research turns into a plot line.
â¢ You read Beowulf for real (unlike high school) and discover the movie Alien was a complete rip-off.
â¢ You have sentimental attachment to old pencils.
How do you know youâre a writer? Just know that youâre not alone, there are a lot of us out here talking to ourselves and making up words.
You Know Youâre a Writer When… by Adair Lara | 2007 Chronicle Books, San Francisco, USA
Recommended reading for writers feeling lonely; especially pages 16, 54, #4 on p 21, oh heck, just read the whole thing, it’s really entertaining.