You’ve got superior powers of storytelling and mind travel, but how do you know if you’re a writer? Here are eight telltale signs to look for. No actual cures or treatments exist, by the way.
You suffer from sleepless nights and a cornucopia of creativity. There is a direct correlation between both. The sooner you admit that you are a born writer, the sooner you should join Insomniacs Anonymous, discover the futility of natural sleep aids like a warm cup of milk and cookies, don’t call the plumber to fix that incessantly leaking stream of consciousness, and get used to those raccoon circles under your eyes.
You use pets and family members as characters in your literary endeavours. Maybe even protagonists (or depending on the warmth and/or physical proximity of your relationship with them) or antagonists. Fido may not mind, but your mother-in-law as a diabolical alien queen will not win any PR battles on the in-law front for you.
You greatly accelerate the working lifecycle of your laptop, and increase the subsequent usage of pen and paper. You can only hit the File > Save and Save As commands so many times until the hard drive is beyond defragmentary redemption. It doesn’t matter if you have (wisely) invested in external hard drives, or have (properly) set up a RAID 1 configuration for your system of storage. Sooner or later (sooner), you will need to get a new laptop, unless the thought of taking it in for servicing appeals to you.
Mundane events, like the crushing a can of pop or the sound of coffee percolating, inspire you beyond the obvious onomatopoeia. Your eureka moments also happen at the most inopportune moments. Hopefully while you are not sitting on the throne, though.
You talk to anyone and anything in the hopes of developing that pivotal character. This includes babies who can’t even crawl yet, the butterfly and mushrooms in your garden, and even the cat who leaves a special offering on your front lawn. All are entities that can’t really offer you much in terms of constructive feedback (so you have to play that part as well), but maybe that’s just what you want. Should you be in the habit of holding these one-sided conversations unwittingly in the presence of others who have not be forewarned, a call to the people who will take you away in a straitjacket is a strong possibility.
To set the right mood for your writing, you even talk to yourself in the third person. Constantly. But look on the bright side. You have an understanding family, although they may suddenly be giving you a wide berth. You’re not turning into the wretched was-Hobbit Smeagol from Lord of the Rings, forsaking all genetic and civilized ties to your original species, nor have you existed for more than 500 years. Or have you? Be concerned, however, if your significant other tells you you do it in your sleep, too.
You make nonsense words up. Especially if you are writing a fantasy or sci fi novel, the genre dictates a specific lingua. Maybe even one that hasn’t been invented yet. So you take it upon yourself to concoct one. At least, that’s what you tell others. Everyone will be convinced that you’re finally losing your marbles.
You shun the light of day. Nighttime and daybreak are when you operate best. Any other time of the day is plagued with distractions, like a boiling kettle, a pesky pooch, the mail carrier who needs you to sign for a package, a spouse who asks questions you don’t know the answer to, and/or children who need you to drive them to soccer practice. Your complexion becomes pasty. The kitchen looks like an army has just been fed there, with dirty dishes piled up high and rather acrobatically in both sinks, while the dishwasher, which is full of more unwashed dishes and plates, should have been turned on three days ago.
And this is all happening, even before you have secured a literary agent or publisher.