5 Signs You're Addicted...to Being a Writer


5 Signs You're Addicted...to Being a Writer

Are you addicted? There are certain troubling signs that we can see. Maybe it's been a while since you talked about anything else, or your friends have started wondering if you ever think about anything else. If you think you might be a writer, read on to see if you exhibit the symptoms.

1) Everything is fodder for your novel. When you look around you, is everyone you see a potential character in the story or novel you're currently writing? That guy on the bus, that kid shuffling down your school's hallway, that grumpy cafeteria lady -- do they exist only as characters? Are you trying to secretly figure out (or invent) their backstory?

2) Everything's a metaphor...for everything else. What about when you look at the sky -- that cloud's shaped like a slice of apple pie, isn't it? And that shade of green is just like the shade of green on a dollar bill? Is your mother's face round as a clock, your dad's nose lumpy as a potato? If you see the world in analogies, in this is just like that, then you might be addicted to writing.

3) Even sad emotions -- are just material. Had a bad breakup, been betrayed by your friend, discovered someone was lying to you, failed on a test? Sure, that's sad...but it's also great material for what you're writing. Have you ever stepped outside of your own emotions and thought distantly about how you might write about this experience, or put it in the mind of a fictional character? That's not normal -- that's the way writers think.

4) Bad storytelling just irritates you. Ever experienced frustration, irritability, and just downright grumpiness when forced to consume low quality storytelling? Ever want to throw things at your television screen when the latest reality tv comes on, or everyone around you is reading this book they're obsessed with that has terrible writing? Ever feel separate from the people around you, happily consuming dreck, when you will just not tolerate it? You might be a writer.

5) You can't -- stop -- writing. The most obvious symptom? You write. Even when you're tired, even when you're riding on the train and have to tap story ideas into the notes app on your phone, even when you've just written a ten page essay for school and can't imagine eking out a creative word -- even then, you write. The stories come welling up from somewhere deep inside you. You want to work and work to create another world. You're delighted by your character's suffering and bored when they're happy. You want to be the god of your own particular tiny universe.

If you recognize these symptoms, then I'm afraid you've got it bad -- you're a writer all right, and there's not much that can be done to help you. The only way to ease the pain is to get out there and write. Writers may be born, not made, but they don't become real writers without the work, the thought, and the effort. So embrace your sickness; it might just be a part of you that will never go away.