Four Signs You are a Writer…by K.M. MacKinnon

Dec 18, 2013 by

imagesYou’re a writer.  You are haunted by words, by syllables, by expressions of thoughts and feelings.  In fact, if you’re a writer you’ve just dissected my first sentence and figured out three to five ways it could have been written better.  Cheers!  Perhaps you are unduly obsessed with Scrabble or Words with Friends?  Convincing yourself the time is well spent as you discover new words?  Well, here’s to you and to us my friend.  Four signs you are undeniably a wordsmith:

When you are a writer you’re consumed with words the way other mere mortals are consumed with air.  Everything comes back to words. Did the lady in the grocery check out lane just mention purple papaya skin?  You’re a writer if your ears immediately pricked up at the alliteration echoing across the aisles.  Do you have a dictionary near you at all times (online or old school big monstrosity)? Does it make absolute sense for you to spend hours searching for the precise missing word for the perfect thank you note? And of course the surest sign: do you think people read your emails with as much excitement as they read your novels?

2) EDITING, Editing, editing…
If you’re a writer you’ll be able to make an educated guess as to how many times I’ve edited this post thus far. In fact you’ll be able to guess how many times I’ve edited this sentence as yet (3x but we’re early in aren’t we?)  Editing to the writer is like ‘closing up’ to the surgeon: the ‘I can take a breath now yes?’ moment.  If you are a successful-by-any-means writer you will be graced with a professional editor who looks over, cuts and slashes your work as Michelangelo chopped away at a block of stone to reveal a masterpiece. If you are still struggling to buy groceries each month you are perhaps your very own editor and must take on the dissociative task of cutting off your own toes.  I’d write more here but I already see a lot of words that need to go…..

3) Sitting as exercise
As a writer you spend copious amounts of time in front of a computer, notepad, or that special piece of paper inside your mind.  Most of those times are sitting unless you are oddly adept at writing while standing.  Regardless, as a writer you will spend hours upon hours upon your butt.  You will likely have perfected the favored one-leg-on-a-chair-in-front-of-you lift, the ankle-under-the-butt stretch, and of course my favorite: the two-knuckle-fist-lift as you rearrange your various parts on the seat of choice while pretending to do some kind of odd arm exercise.

4) You publish under different names
You can’t stop writing.  You write good stuff, mediocre stuff, excellent stuff, so-so stuff, way-ahead-of-its-time-or-so-you-tell-yourself-stuff, stuff that sells and stuff that lingers undiscovered.  Nonetheless, you keep writing because that’s what you do. Words flow out of you like selfies flow from the Kardashians. It’s who you are.  And sometimes you pay the bills by being a ghost writer. And sometimes you simply publish under a different name.  And sometimes you pen monstrous best sellers. And regardless, you just keep writing.  The world could end tomorrow and you’d say “Fine, sec… just need to finish this chapter….”

I’d love to stay and chat with you but I have to get back to my novel. I’ve left a dangling modifier which woke me this morning at 4:00am like a fire siren.  I know you understand.

K.M. MacKinnon

(thanks MaggieMack for letting me post….)





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