(This post was originally a guest post on Living for the Books )
When I was in high school, I told the career counselor I wanted to be a novelist. She looked at me and let out a huge sigh. “A writer? Of fiction?” she said in a toxic tone. “How about psychology? ”
It was good advice. That first year at university I delved into Psychology 101 and discovered how insane I was to want to be a writer. It’s the one career that’s rife with rejection, sprinkled with self-doubt and constant criticism. Even so, I kept on writing.
Call me mentally disturbed.
But I am far from alone. There are many of us out there. Are you one of them?
You know you are a writer if:
1. You carry a pen with you everywhere and you are seriously possessive about it. When someone asks to borrow it, you hesitate before allowing them to use it and you don’t let them out of your sight.
2. You can see the silver lining in dramatic break-ups, major accidents and family disputes. They make for good stories. In fact, there are times you complain that nothing bad enough ever happens to you.
3. You rewrite everything. From birthday wishes to text messages to grocery lists.
4. This rewriting is especially true for your creative writing. You write, rip apart, write some more, and rearrange — constantly aiming to fill plot holes, write smoother sentences, and create deeper characters. Unfortunately, it is only after your novel is published that you’ll know exactly how to fix it.
5. Your thesaurus is more beat up and dog eared than a 13 year-old-boy’s Playboy magazine.
6. Your butt is wider than your shoulders because you are sitting all the time.
7. Coffee is your best friend.
8. In fact, you have very few friends because most of them are avoiding you after reading your short story about the rabid werewolves who started a colony on Mars. Yeah, you know the one.
9. You are still in a state of shock from finding out that there are people who don’t read books. Like ever.
10. Your best memory is actually from a novel.