The Most Telling Signs of Being a Writer

Writers, nod along in painful recognition. Non-writers, send wine and chocolate. You’ll see we are a pretty messed up bunch…

The signs of being a writer:

1. You take a notebook and pen with you to bed just in case inspiration strikes as you’re sleeping. Who am I kidding? It ALWAYS happens at night.

2. You have to get the aforementioned pen surgically removed because you slept on it. Okay, that’s a lie but I’m checking I have your full attention.

3. You can finally get revenge on all the people in your life who have peed you off, through the medium of making them ‘baddies’ in your book. Or killing them. Slowly. Violently.

4. You worry that your mum will recognise herself in your next novel, so you make the character extra specially nice. You want a decent Christmas present after all.

5. You initially join every writing group/community known to social media and then curse the millions of updates you receive every single minute. Usually from just one writer who has a new book out don’t you know?


6. You would rather spend time with your characters than most actual people.

7. Writer’s block strikes and your husband moves out for a few weeks. He thought PMS was bad. He was wrong.

8. Coffee becomes your best friend. Coffee becomes a religion.

9. You encourage other writers whilst simultaneously praying that their fingers will drop off. Or if they manage to find a scribe, that their brain stops functioning too. You like yourself a whole lot less than when you first started writing.

10. You dream in novels and short stories.

11. Your friends begin to freak out at how often you just sit staring at them. You do it more because it’s funny watching them squirm.


12. Your world ends when you read a novel that is incredibly similar to your plot line and main character, knowing that you will never be able to prove that you got there first. Gits.

13. You write the food shopping list according to your protagonist’s needs. Your husband then questions the food delivery driver, because you’ve never been fans of sushi, the food choice of lazy toads who cannot be bothered to cook. Freaks.

14. You have to ban yourself from social media when writing because it is a distraction. You ask your husband to hide all your devices and then spend all your writing time either trying to find them or threatening divorce for spousal abuse.

15. Your search history on Google could get you into some serious trouble one day. Research, honest guv.

16. You are dangerously depleted in Vitamin D, lily white, and with haunted eyes, because you avoid the ‘big bad outside’ that pulls you away from your writing spot.


17. You cannot let go of the words. Editing is tantamount to deciding which of your imaginary children you prefer. Although if there’s a little naughty sod paragraph in the mix, infanticide becomes that much easier.

18. People look at you with pity, criticism or derision. What normal person thinks they can be a writer? The answer to your question is, no normal person does. Welcome to the weirdness.

19. You spend hours writing Facebook posts and Tweets because everyone, and I mean, everyone suddenly becomes a grammar aficionado now that you’re a self-proclaimed writer. Add to this being an ex-English teacher, and you’re royally stuffed.

20. You write blog posts about writing rather than actually writing. But this is writing. I am writing, about writing, as a writer, in a written form. I have also just entered a worm hole.

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

29 comments on “The Most Telling Signs of Being a Writer

  1. Today’s pen color that I woke up to find all over my cheek: purple. I’ll be happy for you when you get your next book finished, but sad for us that we don’t get all your fantastically relatable “lists from the trenches” anymore!

    1. Purple is my favourite colour so I approve!

      I think I’ll be in the trenches for some time to come. After that, I’ll be keeping it real. And weird. And inappropriate…

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    1. Gruesome killings are saved for the people who annoy or upset me. So yeah, many of those.

      As for the mum thing? No comment. She might be reading…

  2. Haha, I love this! I’m in sort of a writers block actually. Everything is inspiring but I have nothing to write about. Hah ugh! I can’t sleep unless I know there is a pin and notebook by my bed, my new boyfriend doesn’t understand.

    1. Pleased you enjoyed it. There is something cathartic about getting revenge on horrible people through writing! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. This list made me laugh. Not all of them hold true for me, but #1 was especially true last night. Spent all day with almost inspiration, then the muse pipes up as I’m brushing my teeth around midnight, “By the way, you can’t sleep yet you need to go write this thing, it’s important.” Next thing I know, it’s 1 am and I really, really need sleep…

    1. Yep, those golden ideas make themselves known at the most inconvenient times! I think it happens at night because we’re not trying to force it then.

  4. Coffee IS my religion! I laughed when I read about the grocery list because when I reread Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck, I could not eat or drink due to the character’s strife and dehydration. My husband thought I was nuts!

  5. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who prefers my characters over most people! I feel terrible about it sometimes. In my defense my characters don’t bore me with small talk about the weather. Just found your blog and so far I’m enjoying it, thank you Lisa.

    1. Thanks Hannah!I’m pleased you’re enjoying what you’ve read so far – phew! I’d like to say, unlike people, characters do what they’re told but we know that’s not true.

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