5 tell-tale warning signs that you may be a writer

Warning: you may be a writer!

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 9.00.45 AM

WHAT IS A WRITER? The screen shot above has some suggestions: writers are crazy, forgetful and always selling someone out.

Now, I’m a writer and I must object to this libel. I am not “always” selling someone out. Tuesday to Friday I write, Saturday I do laundry, and Sunday morning I take a long walk in the park. That leaves, at most, Sunday afternoon and all of Monday for selling people out.

Google auto-fill is based on actual searches, so there must be a lot of people with these misconceptions. Crazy and forgetful? Listen, I sold out my uncle Martin for over three hundred dollars. Does that sound crazy to you? Of course not: it’s awesome!

As for being forgetful, I read a study that smashes this idea to bits. Or maybe it was a TV show. Come to think of it, I also could have dreamed this. Whatever it was, I found it convincing.

One way to put this slander to rest is to identify the actual characteristics of a writer. Craziness is not one of them.

Well, okay—it is. However, non-writers can also be crazy. Here, then, are my scientific slander-slaughtering…

Tell-tale warning signs that you may be a writer!

1. You’ll do anything to avoid writing. It’s amazing how good writers are at not writing. They’ll alphabetize the dishes, feng shui the stuff in their fridge, and buy new pens (that they don’t need) at the neighbourhood Staples. Writers are so creative at not-writing that every one of them could run a professional-quality workshop called How to Take Your Not-Writing to a Whole New Level. Then the writers who came for this workshop would not be in the workshop: they would be outside people-watching, avoiding their not-writing at the how to not-write workshop.

Writers call their time-wasting “research.” If you came to this website doing “research,” you are most likely a writer.

2. You suspect the FBI is watching you on Google. I mean, your Google searches are scary. Remember that story you were writing and you needed to know what humans smell like when they cook? Yeah, there’s 100% for-certain a file on you. At this very moment, someone in Washington is talking to his boss about this super weird cannibal who is into late-Byzantine fashion. In their minds, you spend your evenings in a lavender variegated weft yarn divetesion, eating the legs of your neighbours.

3. This is your DNA.

4. You have weird fetishes. Paper, pens, blank books, ink. You stare at a public sign because you want that ampersand. You know the name of the font they used for the burger menu. When you were eleven you fell in love for the first time, and it was with a 1958 Groma Kolibri typewriter. You would rather have a Cavallini than a Ferrari.

5. Everything to you is material. You’re curious about everything. You have a need to know the obscure and the trivial. You are interested in the behaviour of ants, that food court conversation at the next table, food labels, the names of ancient Egyptian cafés, things that trans-gendered Martians from the future find funny, what Jesus carried in his pockets, exactly what a dog learns sniffing another dog’s butt. (I’m guessing it’s something like, “Hey, you like dog food too!”)

You believe that there is a purpose and a place for everything, and if you are a writer then you’re right. The day arrives in 2014 when that research you did in 1992 is just what you need. You store words in your head that you have never had an occasion to use, but you know that one day you will. Abacination. Spuffle. Lopeskonce. Words, for you, are tactile and fascinating and delicious.

And that is because you are a certifiable lunatic.




Find me on Twitter and, also, here is my new book.


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