Tonight’s post is going to be kinda long, but fun. I was going to write some philosophical and inspiring post on what it means to be a writer… eh. Maybe later. Instead, here are ten signs that you are going crazy.
I mean, here are ten signs that you are a writer…
And what to do if you happen to see one at work. This is not only a great way to diagnose those of our species, but also how to act around them.
- You often lose reality by daydreaming. In other words, you find yourself watching a movie version of random scenarios in your head. You might find yourself writing these down over and over again in the most unconventional of places- napkins, homework assignments, grocery lists, and even your own arms and hands. Anywhere to get the ideas down.
If you see a writer in this stage of creativity, don’t go near them. The tiniest thing that you do could set them off and that would only mean that you would be in their novel… You don’t ever want to have a reason to be in someone’s book. It’s almost always a bad reason.
- You talk more about fictional stories than anything in reality. When other people start talking about real stuff, you turn to the book that you carry around with you at all times and ignore the rest of the world.
If a writer starts to talk to you about their ideas and their writing, never criticize them or shut them down rudely. Most of the time they will stop talking after about an hour, but if you interact with the situation it could last for days.
- You start listening to the voices in your head and start writing down what they say. This isn’t daydreaming as much as giving in to the writer’s instinct. For some, this means that they carry around a notebook and protect it with their life. For others, this means that they scratch snippets of dialogue into their bathroom mirrors for later use. Whichever suits you.
Don’t ever get in the way of the writer and their jotted down ideas. Never replace that mirror or read their notebook full of creepy sketches of their murderer-characters. Just pretend that the crazy side doesn’t exist and it won’t come to haunt you.
- You commonly find yourself looking at a screen for hours at a time without rest. This usually starts in the late hours of the night, the blinds open so you can see the darkness of the sleeping world out the window. The streak of not looking away from the monitor is only broken to close the blinds again at dawn.
My one piece of advice for anyone who comes into contact with a writer at work is not to interrupt them. Don’t push open the blinds to snap them out of it. Don’t talk to them or start tapping on their keyboard. All of this can be detrimental to your health. And never, never pull their computer plug. Never.
- You become nocturnal and hiss at the sting of sunlight. Your sleep cycle flips so that you are only awake in the silence of the nighttime. This is convenient for writers because it makes it even more of an inconvenience to go outside. Also, the middle of the night is all empty space for their mind to fill up with noise.
If you are disturbed by a writer and their nocturnal habits, I would recommend calmly confronting them. Now, this is a worst case scenario. I still always say just to keep your distance. If their constant, loud music is keeping you up all night, by them some nice headphones. Or better yet, get yourself some earplugs. It’s better to avoid contact. It’s like trying to calmly pet a lion. Writers are crazy and dangerous creatures on the inside.
- You are only alive if you are hyped up on coffee, hot chocolate, or (let’s admit it) orange juice. You at least have some kind of caffeinated drink of choice for when you are really getting into a good scene.
Make sure that the fridge is stocked with this drink of choice. If you see that the milk carton is getting low, add it to the grocery list. Maybe get two. These things can run out very quickly during the all-nighter writathons.
- You never sleep. Instead you write because it is more important. You find yourself saying, “Just five more minutes” for both sleep and writing. You want five more minutes in the morning because your five more minutes of writing the night before turned into a few hours.
You can identify this writer by the dark circles under their eyes and common naps during the daylight, emphasizing their nocturnal tendencies. Don’t fret. One of these days they will fall into a deep sleep and not wake up for a day or so. In psychology, this is called REM Rebound.
- You start stashing food (peanut butter jars) next to your computer for writing marathons. You’re desk is usually filled with more dirty plates and cups than a regular kitchen would be and you don’t take them down until there is no more room to set another cup of coffee.
Don’t talk about the stash. Don’t take from the stash. If in any case you should be going near the stash of food, it’s to refill it as a gesture of peace to the unstable person using it. A jar of peanut butter or even just a bag of assorted candy will do.
- You find it difficult to interact with human beings because you’ve been checked out for so long. You find comfort in your five cats, who truly understand you. Though they may claim your keyboard or sit between your line of sight and the monitor, you know they are always going to be there to cheer you on through the tough scenes.
This one is easy. If a writer is showing trouble interacting with other human beings and constantly shows signs of wanting to be alone with their books, leave them be. Let their cats do the work. Don’t give up on them, however, because they’re going to come up for air at some point and someone’s got to tell them what they missed in the last five years.
- You spend months and months typing at your computer with no viable promise of reward for your efforts. You find joy in the chase and thrill of writing rather than the fame or fortune that almost never comes with it unless you are JK Rowling.
Encourage your nerdy and outcasted writers to pursue this goal. If it is something that they like to do, don’t tease them about it or laugh at them. Take interest in what they are writing. Be careful, though. All of the precautions in the world can’t prepare you for acting appropriately around writers. You might as well accept now that you are going to be the villain in their next novel. I wish you good luck and farewell.
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Thank you for reading, and don’t stop writing!