26 telltale signs that you’re a writer

Who needs business cards? These physical conditions, personality quirks and persistent habits say it all. You transform words into stories just as bees turn pollen into honey.

Ah, the writing life. You know it so well.

Endless caffeine, a little bit of procrastination, blank Word documents, piles of notebooks, bouts of self-doubt and the satisfying clickety-clack of the keyboard. All things those of us who fancy ourselves writers are intimately familiar with. (OK. Maybe it’s a lot of procrastination, not just a little.)

We took to social media to ask writers all over the world to complete the sentence, “You know you’re a writer when…” The results are hilarious, honest and heartfelt.

You know you’re a writer when…

1. You keep a journal and pen by your bed-you know, for those middle-of-the-night bursts of inspiration.

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2. Every moment when you’re not writing is spent thinking about writing.

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3. You take a sick day from work to stay home and work on your latest project.

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4. You can never have enough coffee to keep you going.

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5. You have a stockpile of 15-plus blank notebooks and journals, and you keep buying more—faster than you fill them.

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6. Your friends, family, and colleagues make you write their important emails, cover letters and even the inscriptions on greeting cards.

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7. You turn down plans with family and friends so you can keep writing.

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8. You type, type, type away and don’t even care about the time.

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9. Your wrist aches.

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10. Every person you see, whether on a bus, at work or out shopping, becomes a potential character for your novel.

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11. You finish reading a novel and you head straight to your laptop to start writing yours.

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12. Your friends and family are a tad sick of hearing about your latest writing project.

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13. You get in a writing groove and just can’t stop.

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14. Word counts only slightly stress you out. OK, they really stress you out.

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15. There’s wadded-up paper all over your floor from editing.

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16. You’ve perfected the art of procrastination.

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17. Your computer is filled with half-baked story ideas that you’ll get to one day.

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18. A blank page no longer scares you.

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19. You think “this will make a great story” as you’re in the middle of an experience.

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20. You document your life on the Internet.

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21. You’d rather be reading a book.

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22. You use words the way an artist uses paint.

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23. Every part of your life (purse, car, house) is filled with random Post-it notes and scribbled-on receipts because you got an idea at a random moment.

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24. Killing off one of your beloved characters gives you real heartbreak.

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25. You finally admit it to yourself.

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26. You write. Simple as that.

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Go on. Add to this list in the comments. You know you’re a writer when…

Thank you to members of the Freelance to Freedom Project, One Woman Shop and The Write Life Facebook communities for contributing to this post.

After six years in the corporate PR world, Jessica Lawlor left her job to run her own communications agency, blog/brand and teach yoga. She is a writer and blogs at JessicaLawlor.com. Find her on Twitter @jesslaw. A version of this article originally appeared on The Write Life.

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