You Know You're a Writer if . . .

The postman knows you have a hole in the seat of your pajamas and you don't.

Romance means finding a way to keep two people apart for at least ten chapters.

If you remember to take the trash out, it's never the right day.

Character describes an ongoing multiple-personality disorder and not your personal ethics.

You feel a deep ambiguity about weird small towns in Maine.

POV does not involve the post office, nor does it call for deodorant.

The bookstore cashier knows your full name and phone number by heart, but you have to show ID to write a check at the grocery store.

Internal Conflict has nothing to do with your parents, and doesn't mean you need a shrink.

External Conflict, once discovered, makes you giddy with excitement.

Standing on a scale makes you wonder if Olympic Swimming might have been a better career choice.

Criticism is something you hope for before publication, and ignore after publication.

Feedback doesn't mean you're holding the microphone wrong, but can be just as painful.

Bad memories are something used to realize your dreams.

Dialogue is the manifestation of all the voices jabbering in your head.

Font has nothing to do with knowledge, but makes you feel technically stupid.

A Galley isn't a place to eat on the high seas, but proof you actually sold a book.

A Hero is a guy you continually try to flaw.

Air, water and food are second to chocolate, caffeine, and a really good pen.

A Heroine is the gal you keep making miserable.

The last conversation you had was with an imaginary person.

A Hook has nothing to do with fishing, and everything to do with sleep deprivation.

A Style Guide is not a measure of how good you look, but how much you don't know.

A muse is not one word.

Plot isn't where the body is buried, but how they died.

Twist is not an old fashioned dance, but it can still make you dizzy.

Tone has nothing, and everything, to do with your voice.

Pacing isn't a nervous habit.

Script isn't what Aunt Sally gets filled at the pharmacy, but your blood, sweat, and tears.

Narrative gives you nightmares about William Shatner.

Outline is not evidence of what size underwear you're wearing.

A Partial might actually help you earn the money to pay your dental bill.

Viewpoint has little to do with what you think, but rather, which head you're in.

You can't remember what you last ate, but the empty plate still isn't washed.

Proof is easier to plant, than it is to do.

Setting has absolutely nothing to do with how many you expect for dinner.

You suddenly break off conversation and begin scribbling on anything handy.

Voice is something you have to discover -- no matter how long you've been able to speak.

Blocks are not the foundation of a fifty story building.

Bed and breakfast describes your office space.

Compliments about your style don't address the last of the clean laundry you're currently wearing.

Your daughter says, "You already said that in six different ways. I didn't want an encyclopedia, I wanted an explanation."

You learn a new term during a dental exam, and ask for the spelling so you can use it in a story.

Your wifely first reader says of a short story, "That bothers me."
You reply, "Good. It's supposed to."

You ask the waiter for extra napkins, and don't intend to use them to clean up a mess.

Whenever you go into a store, you always check to see if they sell paper and pens, even if it's the local grocery, hardware, or liquor store.

While riding on public transit, you find yourself straining to overhear the conversations of perfect strangers. Then peeking at them from the corner of your eye, and deciding what to name the character.

You try to claim your Sy-Fy Channel bill as a tax deductible business expense.

When a dear friend or relative shares about their triumphs and tragedies, you cannot help but consider, what's the story element in this?

You begin to narrate what you're doing all day, to yourself or even aloud.
As in, "She washed her hands quickly, then dashed to see who was at the door."

You get excited over a rejection slip. Some non-writerly type tries to bring you back down to Earth by reminding you that it's a rejection.
"You don't understand," you cry. "The rejection comes from the Editor, and not just the poor, downtrodden wretch who reads the slush."
(Alas, the non-writer fails to understand this level of achievement.)

Credit is due to the unknown early originator(s), then to Laura Underwood and the gang at Yard Dog Press. More points have been added by the folks on the Asimov's magazine discussion board, by yours truly, and most recently by Cori J.

Know of any more? Let Paul Carlson and W2P know at, ewriters /at/ aol /dot/ com, and please make your subject line distinct.

(Note! If you find that these points apply to you, and you're not actually writing stories -- what are you waiting for? Life is short!)

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