26 Obvious Signs You’re a Writer

26 Obvious Signs You’re a Writer

Ah, the writing life. You know it so well.

Endless caffeine, a little bit of procrastination, blank Word documents, piles of notebooks, bouts of self-doubt and the satisfying clickety-clack of the keyboard. All things those of us who fancy ourselves writers are intimately familiar with. (OK. Maybe it’s a lot of procrastination, not just a little.)

We took to social media to ask writers all over the world to complete the sentence, “You know you’re a writer when…” The results are hilarious, honest and heartfelt.

You know you’re a writer when…

1. You keep a journal and pen by your bed — you know, for those middle-of-the-night bursts of inspiration.

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2. Every moment when you’re not writing is spent thinking about writing.

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3. You take a sick day from work to stay home and work on your latest project.

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4. You can never have enough coffee to keep you going.

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5. You have a stockpile of 15+ blank notebooks and journals and buy more faster than you fill them.

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6. Your friends, family, and colleagues make you write their important emails, cover letters…and even the inscriptions on greeting cards.

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7. You turn down plans with family and friends so you can keep writing.

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8. You type, type, type away and don’t even care about the time.

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9. Your wrist physically aches.

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10. Every person you see, whether on a bus, at work or out shopping, becomes a potential character for your novel.

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11. You finish reading a novel and you head straight to your laptop to start writing yours!

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12. Your friends and family are a tad sick of hearing about your latest writing project.

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13. You get in a writing groove and just can’t stop.

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14. Word counts only slightly stress you out. OK. They really stress you out.

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15. There’s paper wadded up all over your floor from editing.

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16. You’ve perfected the art of procrastination.

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17. Your computer is filled with half-baked story ideas that you’ll get to one day.

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18. A blank page no longer scares you.

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19. You think “this will make a great story” as you’re in the middle of an experience.

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20. You document your life on the Internet.

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21. You’d rather be reading a book.

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22. You use words like an artist uses paint.

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23. Every part of your life (purse, car, house) is filled with random Post-it Notes and scribbled-on-receipts because you got an idea at a random moment.

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24. Killing off one of your beloved characters gives you real heartbreak.

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25. You finally admit it to yourself.

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26. You write. Simple as that.

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Go on! Add to this list in the comments. You know you’re a writer when…

Thank you to members of the Freelance to Freedom Project, One Woman Shop and The Write Life Facebook communities for contributing to this post!

Filed Under: Craft
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124 comments

  • Janelle says:

    hahaha this is spectacular, especially the Daria AND Love Actually GIFs! And, totally on point.

    The biggest sign for me is that I’m constantly writing something in my head without realizing it, then when I acknowledge it and get it sounding right, I’m all “everyone get out of my way, don’t talk to me, I have to write this down!!” ha 🙂

  • Dana says:

    You know you are a writer when you panic when you cannot find a working pen or sharpened pencil in your purse and you need to write a quote, word or story idea before it is lost. Also if all of the stray receipts and papers on your purse are covered in quotes or ideas because you ran out of paper.

  • hilarious post Jessica 🙂

  • You know you’re a writer when you read a post like this and scroll through ALL the comments while nodding your head, knowing you are not alone in your eccentric oddity.

  • Since I decided to start writing my whole family says I´m totally insane, ´cause I became a hermit, don´t date, I´m always talking to myself and can hear me cursing when I´m typing alone in my locked door bedroom, but boy….I loveeeeeee it!

  • Hi Jessica,
    Well, I admit most of what has been shared here has been my personal experience. I loved the simplicity of its presentation. Thanks for your good thoughts. Hoping I could
    write better as I started to follow you.
    Cecilia

  • Allison says:

    You know you’re a writer when your mind wants to be in the world you’re creating, the same way your mind wants to be at Hogwarts when you read Harry Potter, or on the road to Mordor when you read The Lord of the Rings. You want to be with your characters and see the places, and hear the sounds. But what’s magical is that you have created them, yourself. They’re real to you. *sigh*

    • Ant says:

      Allison: I completely identify. Every time I finish reading Harry Potter (any if the seven) it takes me a while to return to where I know I am NOT supposed to be. 🙂

  • you know you’re a writer when you celebrate the rich tapestry of life, all types of personalities & don’t get edgy when meeting those in life, that live out of the box.

    Your friends may judge these people but you celebrate them. You don’t want a beige life, you are interested in & notice the extraordinary on an everyday street.

    You don’t just write words, you talk them out loud, you experience them on your tongue, even sing them before committing them to paper.

    Words are like children. Your head/mind dictionary surprises even yourself.
    Words arrive, unbidden.

    Nature, the lilac mists, the dead flower bud are all beautiful not just the obvious majestic mountains. She is your muse & you are never alone when you are with her.

    You don’t envy possessions, you envy someone else written word, but not in a bad way. They inspire you & you luxuriate in their poetry, perception & resonance.

    Once given a subject ( this) you could write for hours as thoughts start to tumble before one can type them onto the page.

    I will STOP.

  • Jones Kerrin says:

    Thanks Jessica!

    Was in the denial stage until I saw this article 🙂

    Additional inputs: You know you’re a writer when:
    > you go on vacation with a journal and pen
    > you visit parks with a notebook
    > me time means coffee shop, pen and paper

    Will share this and add more 🙂

  • Ant says:

    Love this blog. All of it is true about me! Got one more to add:

    You know you’re a writer when you skip breakfast after a night without sleep and fix coffee with the dog’s food bowl in one hand, a pencil between your teeth and the kettle in the other hand and then realize that you didn’t boil the kettle yet and the dog’s bowl is filled with what would have been your breakfast…

  • India says:

    When you start going through anxiety while your out because you have tons of writing ideas that just came and you need to go write…lol.

    I thought I was crazy..lol. Great list

    • Andrea Roche says:

      Hi India,
      Perfectly normal. When I began writing my story I was unprepared about how fast and furious my muse would be. I grabbed anything from paper plates to TP just to jot down a key word or quick line to remind me of my thoughts.
      Take care and enjoy writing.

  • Dynasti says:

    When I’m up late at night into the early hours of the morning knowing good and well I have to go to school the next day and I never even started my homework. My parents eventually got fed up and confiscated my notebook, but I had a spare in my locker at school. Now I write under the excuse that I’m doing something for my English 12 class.

  • Anrich says:

    You get way too excited about blank notebooks and fancy pencils.

  • Breck says:

    To elaborate on what someone else said: You know you’re a writer when you’re walking around your dwelling, arguing with your characters, only to stop because your dog (or husband or wife or kids) is staring at you.

    –Or when they don’t because they’re so used to it.

    –Your family/roommates scatter if you can’t find your giant coffee mug with some writer-like message on it. They know you’ll go all Golem on them saying, “MY precious!”

    –You’re on layover in the airport and would rather read the food court menus than nothing at all.

    –You get real events and events that you’ve written or read about mixed up.

  • ML Dumars says:

    You know you are a writer when your favorite chair is the one that gets you closest to your computer.

  • Som Nepal says:

    Really inspiring article.

  • Great post. I do most of these things … your way of writing is fantastic.

    love your wit and insight.

  • Sky says:

    When you type ALL day. Or when you have soooooo many notebooks and don’t even know what’s in them.

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