When you become a writer, when you devote yourself to all the work it takes to produce a book (or quite a few books), your occupation and the rest of your life become inextricably linked. They feed into each other constantly, and there’s not really any way to stop it, nor do I think you necessarily should stop it. In this post, I’ll outline just a few ways being a writer can influence your “normal” life.
EVERYTHING is a story idea
Y’all writers know what I’m talking about. That little piece of dialogue you overheard while someone was talking on the phone, a vacation site, a line from a movie, even tiny plot points from existing stories (like the fact that King Artaxerxes’ guards wanted to kill him).
Nothing that’s even of mild interest slips your notice, and you’re constantly cramming new ideas into notebooks and journals.
You have notebooks everywhere
By your bed, for those late-night bursts of inspiration; by your computer, for when you see an awesome writing prompt; in your purse, in case inspiration strikes on the go. You take your current notebook on vacation, to sleepovers, to events…. anywhere an idea could appear (and we know that’s ANYWHERE), you take a notebook.
You think of everything in story terms
This one can be helpful or detrimental, depending on the situation. You see people as characters, you sort them into Hogwarts houses just like you would with your characters, you make notes of their flaws and strengths for future character development. You describe your first trip to the beach as if you’re a character in a book so that you can accurately describe the ocean if you need to (true story). You decide who would or wouldn’t survive in your books if they were characters. (And often you know the only reason you’d survive is because you know the story.) You might even narrate your life at times. To you, everything in life is part of a story.
You’re constantly examining the stories of others
Picking apart books (not literally. Please do not dismember books) to find out what makes them work, figuring out where bad books went wrong, pointing out plot holes in TV shows (a personal favorite), making fun of tropey fantasy movies, figuring out why you love the characters you love. Your brain is constantly in critic mode when consuming a story, and sometimes you wish you could turn it off once in a while and enjoy a story just for entertainment’s sake for once. On the bright side, it helps you develop your writing skills to an extent.
You’re also constantly examining your own stories
That one plot point you can’t get right, that one character whose flaw you can’t find, that aspect of your world that doesn’t quite work with the rest of the story… You’re constantly thinking about ways to improve whatever you’re working on, whatever stage it’s in.
You’re often off in dreamland (a.k.a. your storyworld)
Due to constantly thinking about writing (as Eugene Ionesco said, “For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.”), your mind is often off in another world, working out plot kinks, developing characters, etc. Side effects include suddenly jumping up to write something down, or blurting out something totally random that actually has to do with what you were just thinking about, and thus startling anyone who may be nearby.
People don’t always realize you’re working
I don’t have to deal with this one too much, but lately my younger siblings have been calling me lazy for being on my computer all day when I’m actually working on a blog post or editing. I just tell them, “You have no idea,” and keep working, but it’s incredibly annoying. It can be easy for people to see you working on your computer and think you’re not actually doing anything, which has the potential to throw you off completely if you’ve really gotten into the zone.
These are the main things I can think of. How does being a writer affect your life? Which of these is the best/worst? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. :)