You know you’re a writer when…

In celebration of all sorts of Romaniac milestones, big and small, we thought we’d have a bit of a session on feeling like a real live writing person.
Seeing ourselves in Writers’ Forum in an article about online writers’ groups has gone completely to our heads, and now we’re starting to feel a bit more like the real deal. The hard part is actually saying the words out loud though. When asked what you do, the words ‘Oh, well…I’m a writer’ don’t trip off the tongue as easily as they might.

So to help us to stand up and be counted (and yourselves, if you have the same problem) here are some foolproof Romaniac ways of sorting out the men from the boys. And when you’ve finished reading them, please add your own to our list!

You know you’re a writer when:

Sue : Your children don’t bother asking what’s for tea anymore, they just help themselves to whatever is in the fridge.

Sue : You start having conversations with your characters.

Sue : Your children think the laptop is their new sibling.

Jan : You start proofreading a pizza delivery leaflet.

Jan : 2:00 a.m. becomes the new 10:00 p.m.

Jan: You overhear a juicy conversation and instantly think “there’s a book in that!”

Vanessa: You drool over new pens and notebooks in shops the way you used to drool over new shoes and handbags.

Vanessa: When you wake up excited in the middle of the night, it’s your notebook you reach for, not your husband, because you’ve had a BRILLIANT new story idea…

Vanessa: You make notes in the margins of your five year old’s reading books because there’s too much TELLING and not enough SHOWING.

Laura: I’m laughing so much at the moment because I do ALL of the above. You know you’re a writer when you watch your own operation because one day you might use the experience in a book.

Laura: The only word you can focus on in a very long text from your daughter is ‘definately’, then intent on correcting her spelling, you fail to answer her question, replying instead with, ‘BTW, it’s definitely. Mum x’

Celia: Your desk is your favourite place in the world, even when it’s a tip.

Celia: You look forward to the cat waking you up by vomiting copiously at silly o’clock because it gives you so much more writing time. 

Celia: Your husband has to prize ‘Writers’ Forum’ magazine out of your hands before he switches off the light at night.

Catherine: Talking to yourself becomes the norm, because who else are you going to hold a board meeting with?

Catherine: You laugh out loud in public when you solve a plot problem. I tend to be on the bus when this happens.

Catherine: The most common question you get asked is: ‘Have you finished your book yet?’

Lucie: When a funny/embarrassing situation arises and your friends and family say, ‘that’ll be in Lucie’s next book!’

Lucie: When you no longer write in a text, ‘Ill cu l8r’ and it becomes, ‘I shall see you later on.’

Debbie: When you read a book from a writer’s perspective and not a reader’s.

Debbie: When you start reading up on Dylan Thomas and compare yourself!

Debbie: When the children only recognise the back of you (My eleven year old just saw this and thinks it’s funny!) 

 Over to you…

77 thoughts on “You know you’re a writer when…

  1. I would add: When you weep in public because you have just written a very moving scene in her your head ready to put into your manuscript when you get home!

    • When I first started writing, I wondered whether or not it was ok to laugh and cry at what I’d written – I felt it was a little like laughing at your own joke. Now I realise it’s par for the course and shows how much we invest in our characters and their emotions.
      Thanks for dropping by D.J.
      Laura 🙂

  2. I know when I’m a writer when I meet a guy walking along in public speaking aloud and I don’t think, ‘Oh, he’s got his bluetooth headset on and is holding a phone conversation.’ I think, ‘He’s practising dialogue.’

  3. When you sit in an airport lounge excitedly noting down the conversation of the loud man on his mobile phone talking about his father’s will.

    When you miss your child’s achievements at swimming or sports day because you are too busy writing in your notebook.

    When you wonder how you can adapt your friend’s love life so she won’t quite recognise it as her in your book.

    I could go on. Great post made me laugh on a Monday morning! Mx

    • Hi Morton – ah, the truth’s coming out now 😉
      Love your tips, especially the one about adapting your friend’s love life – made me laugh out loud. It’s not the friend, it’s the husband we have to hide it from!
      Laura 🙂

  4. I know I’m a writer because:
    Years and years ago when I first decided I wanted to be a writer, I started reading books by writers on writing and how to write etc. No ways, I thought, these people are completely crazy! Of course now I know we’re not, we’re perfectly sane and sensible 😉

    • Yes, Gina. We are perfectly sane and sensible.
      Just need to convince the rest of the world…
      Thanks for popping in.
      Laura 🙂

  5. I know I’m a writer because: I bargain with my husband to be allowed to weed the garden rather than watch the kids, because that’s where my characters speak to me the loudest.

    • Hello Laurel
      Ah – the serenity of our gardens – I get that. I’m not convinced about the weeding part, though 😉
      Enjoy the sunny weather. Hopefully this equates to many conversations with your characters.
      Laura 🙂

  6. You know you are a writers husband when:

    You have an indepth understanding of the lives of several other families who share your house and wonder why you are not allowed to enter their details on the census paperwork or class them as dependants.

    This weeks shopping list includes birthday cards for characters in the WIP.

    You start receiving junk mail for said families.

  7. You have no idea what day it is – you’ve been at your desk since …….
    You find it difficult to stand up straight
    Your skin is an unhealthy shade of grey – through lack of daylight and fresh air
    Great post Romaniacs but I must get back to the WIP (those letters will be scribbled on my gravestone) xx

    • Hi Emily – I only know it’s Monday because we’re running a group blog… I haven’t reached any shade of grey yet – is that what that book is about?
      Thanks for dropping in.
      Laura x

    • 😀 Good one, Hazel. I was talking to a friend who’s the breadwinner in her household, her husband doing the ‘house husband’ thing. When I’d asked about five questions I saw the penny drop in her mind, ‘I don’t want to be a research subject!’ And she changed the subject.

    • Hello Hazel
      Thank you for visiting. I take it you always assume your friend’s question is rhetorical?
      Laura 🙂

    • Oh, Hazel, I can definitely identify with you on this one. Many a time, friends or family have commented mid-conv: “I bet she gets her notebook out in a minute!” As if… 😉

      Jan x

    • You will, you will, you will…sorry, turned into Mrs Doyle there for a moment.

      celia x

    • Haha Hazel! Some of my friends do stop by from time to time to make sure i’m not writing about them! As if I would tell them….

  8. I know I’m a writer when, in my head, a character tells me something about him/herself that I didn’t know. I relay the information to my husband and watch the OMG-she’s-finally-flipped expression appear on his face.

    • Liz – I’d ask your husband to hold that look, grab your notebook and pen and take detailed notes as to how his features have formed such an expression.
      And then use it in a book.
      Laura 🙂

    • Yes, I can definitely recognize this one too, Liz. I remember being in a restaurant once with Mr B and suddenly thinking of a good “put down” line for one of my characters. My face must have taken on that “Huh! I’ll show you, buddy..!” expression because the waiter hovering over us looked like he was about to duck.

      Never under-estimate the facial features of a writer in full internal dialogue flow, eh?! 😉 Thanks for your comment.

      Jan x

      • That’s so true Jan, yesterday I had the following conversation with my daughter:-
        Daughter : Mum, are you all right?
        Me : Yes, why?
        Daughter : You’re pulling a really weird face
        Me [to myself] Character was just trying to work out whether she should kiss hot hero or not.

        I am now slightly concerned about this and wonder if I have ever pulled *that* face in real life.


      • Sue, I can picture that scene so clearly. Mr B often accuses me of gurning at the most inappropriate moments. – cheeeeeeeeeek! 😉

        Jan x

  9. I know I am a writer when I value showers, car driving time and solo trips to the supermarket, which give me time to talk to the characters in my head, rather than talk to my children! My husband already thinks I am mad because I laugh out loud when writing, and the other day I burst into tears! (sad scene, not frustrated anger). Great post! Must dash, have rare child free morning, planning to get some serious words in!

    • Rachel – I hear you about the lone car trips – it’s ‘Me Time’ I look forward to leaving for school pick-up knowing I’ll have thirty uninterrupted minutes in my alternative office (the car) when I can write. And the shower is my thinking place – plotlines and twist have dripped into me whilst under the water.
      Thanks for dropping by.
      Laura 🙂

  10. When something really bad happens and you’re in tears and feeling so stressed out and then it suddenly occurs to you mid-sob that this would make a great scene and at least now you know how your character will really be feeling.
    When you come downstairs with a big smile on your face and your family ask what’s making you so happy and you reply that you’ve just read the first draft of your novel that you did months ago and it was so awful compared with the version you now have that at last you believe you’re improving!

    • I’m chuckling, Sharon – I think we all know exactly what you mean about the lightbulb moment mid sob, or as you reach for the sick bowl. Well, if nothing else, it makes a rotten moment purposeful.
      Thanks for calling by.
      Laura 🙂

  11. Thanks for a great post reassuring me I’m not alone in doing all that stuff 🙂
    I’ll add you know you’re a writer when you take a despairing look at the pile of clothes needing folding and then forget about that plus the dust motes the moment you switch on the laptop.
    Oh and you make lists about housework and never get around to tick them off.
    Kids become resigned that you’re never going to answer at first call.
    When you curtail kids tv time not because they’ve been watching too long but because you can’t hear yourself think. And allow them extra time on ipad games so they’ll stay out of your hair.
    Listen patiently so conversation can be done and you can get back to plotting.
    Thanks again for this, Romaniacs 😉

    • Hi Ruchita. Thank you for leaving a comment.
      I confess, I do all of the above. The up side is I have two very independent children and a capable husband who is excellent at ironing.
      Laura 🙂

  12. Ha! Coming out in unison with Gajitman, Mr B has just added his two’penneth : You know you’re a writer’s husband when you come in from work, find your wife openly googling images of messrs Beckham, Penry-Jones & Farrell and, without question, think “hero research material!”

    And I, of course, totally agree with him… 😉

  13. You know you’re a writer when you’ve been talking to your character all day and then discover that you’ve made two cups of tea instead of one

    • Ah, now that is so kind – even looking after your characters’ needs! Do they get biscuits?

      Celia x

  14. What a fabulous post! Lovely way to start the week. Love it guys – thank you!
    You know you are a writer
    When your husband feels obliged to make excuses for you in public
    When he goes to tell you about his day, but starts with, ‘Off the record’
    When your five year old asks if you’ve told people what you do. When he’s not satisfied with the answer, he shouts out the cat flap to tell the chicken, ‘My mummy is a writer.’

    • Love the ‘off the record’ plea! And how does the chicken feel about your career, Mrs T? See you soon,

      Celia xx

    • Thanks Vikki – the more blogging, the merrier! Thanks for commenting,

      Celia xx

  15. I would love to call myself a writer. I always say that I’m playing at writing a new book. My characters are alive in my head… all I know is the way that I write. I would love to know how other people build their story. How they build plot, create characters and sub-plot.? Does anyone have any advise.?

    • It sometimes helps to start with a giant piece of paper and make a flow chart of where your characters link to each other (bit like a random family tree) then cut out pictures from magazines that remind you of them, and make a story board. I sometimes do brief character studies next.

      Think everyone approaches it differently – Sue Moorcroft has written lots of great articles that help with structure and planinng,

      Good luck!

      Celia xx

      • Thanks for the mention, Celia! 🙂

        I think writers are like snow flakes, no two the same. So some of us plan and plot, some of us just write into the mists. I used to be the latter but now am kind of the former – but a messy and chaotic version. I need to know only the big points: where the story’s going, what kind of hero I’ve put with what kind of heroine, what gets them together, what keeps them apart. If I can make the conflict of one conflict with the conflict of the other, it’s even better. For example, in Dream a Little Dream, which I’m editing now, Dominic and Liza both need to make a big change in their lives. They both need specific business premises to enable that. The premises turn out to be the same place … So if Liza realises her dream it means that Dominic can’t and if Dominic realises his dream it means that Liza can’t. That’s it, really …

        Sue x

      • ps: Just ordered Sue’s book ‘LOVE WRITING’… for the tips of course… but also as a thank you for the advice xxxxx

  16. When you see words on a page in front of you, that you’ve arranged into paragraphs, that aren’t headed with ‘Hi,…!’ or ‘Dear …’.

    Liz X

    • And what a good feeling this is! Never get tired of it.

      Thanks for dropping in, Liz,

      Celia x

  17. When you see a situation and think, ‘hmm, that would be an interesting way to murder someone.’ Yes, I am having a go at writing my second cosy crime novella…..

    • Your friends and family must be feeling a tad nervous after reading this…

      Happy stabbing/poisoning/throttling Cara!

      Celia xxx

  18. I know I’m a writer when I ask a (perfectly valid) question at work and they look at me and say ‘is this for you, or for a book?’ I usually say it’s for a book, especially the explosion-and-killing-people questions…

    • Yes, wise move – I’ve noticed that job opportunities are limited for people who like to explode things.

      Is your fab trophy still in one piece? Oo er, that sounds a bit Carry On Film…

      Celia x

  19. When I’ve written a sexy scene in a cafe and I find myself blushing a deep puce because I’m convinced everyone in the cafe knows what I’ve just written! Oh, and when my kids find me staring blankly into space and automatically ask ‘Mummy, are you thinking about your story…?’ Loved this post, thanks. xx

    • Can feel the heat radiating from your cafe blushing incidents! My daughters don’t appreciate steamy scenes at all, may need a pen name soon…wishful thinking again. Thanks for your kind comments, Annette

      Celia x

  20. I concur with Mr B. There have been several times when the first words I’ve heard on coming home have been “It’s nothing to worry about, It’s just research, I still love you”.

  21. When there’s a football tournament on and no-one wants to talk to you for two weeks and all you think is ‘hurrah’…
    When you’re trying to remember which friend told you about something and then you realise it was your main character…
    When you’re desperate to get back to work after a holiday…

    Great post as ever Ladies, thank you 🙂
    Elle xx

  22. When you scream, ‘but they’ve stole my idea!’. When you blubber over a rejection,’you’re murdering people. Don’t you see, they’re real!’. When you cuddle your character and soothe him with soft words because he did get rejected. When you tell him, I won’t let go of you ever, I promise. When they cart you off in a straightjacket… Haw, haw. Love it! Well done, guys! 🙂 xx

    • It’s a wonder we’re sane isn’t it? *wanders off to find the men in white coats*

      Celia xxx

      • Celia – you’re looking for a man in a white coat for all the wrong reasons! Come here and let me explain …


      • Celia, the only way to prove your sanity is to have your release papers from a mental institution.

    • Hi Sheryl, I thought it was me who only did that. I’ve told my hero that there’s no way I’m leaving him or letting him leave me. I’m seriously wondering whether I’m going to become my hero’s stalker!


      • Gajitaman, how very rude. I will use someone else to plan my travel routes if you don’t write out 100 times ‘I shall be nice to the underdog in future’.

        Celia x

  23. Great post! I think you’ve covered just about everything and I found myself nodding at every comment – so glad it’s not just me! It’s lovely that we’re all in this together 🙂

  24. I was just thinking, we could make our own You Know You’re A Writer calendar with a selection of comments on each month…or how about a comic strip?
    Laura 😉 x

  25. Ha ha! Some of those are good – and so true!

    I have trouble with definitely though. Usually rely on spell checker to correct me. And I hate ‘text speak’ and will only use it with the likes of Twitter when I’ve run out of characters. lol!

    You know you’re a writer when people are begging to be put into your next book!

  26. For me it’s the fact that the dog knows the difference between “sleeps,” “cuddles,” and “writing cuddles.”

    One involves heading to bed for the night, the next involves curling up and reading or just snuggling, and the third involves a battle between the dog and the computer. Who will get my lap this time?

  27. You know you’re a writer when you leap to your feet in the middle of a movie and shout “That’s what I was going to write!”
    And; When you ask your wife: ‘You know when guys kiss you…?’ Yes, I’m writing from a female POV.
    And; You curse evolution for saddling humans with pointless stuff – like the need to sleep!

    Love the post and LMAO at the replies – I can see myself in most of them.

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