I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, February 4, 2011

You Might Be A Writer...With Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy

I came to writing rather late in life--at the age of thirty-five. That's when these people moved into my head and wouldn't go away until I wrote their stories. And I remember wondering when I could call myself a writer. Have you ever thought about how writers really know they're writers? Here are a few of my thoughts on the matter.

You might be a writer…

• If you’re sitting in a family restaurant interviewing a police captain on how murderers get away with their crimes while the diners closest to you edge away…

• If you’re walking down the grocery aisle and people are staring at you and you realize you’ve been working out your latest plot line…out loud

• If you pray for jury duty so you can know what it's like to be a juror…

• If you take pottery lessons for the same reason…

• If this makes sense to you: “I got a request for a proposal from (fill in the blank). They want three chapters and a synopsis, and you know how I hate to write a synopsis. And I’m not sure if I want to resolve the romantic conflict or save it for the next book…

• If you keep a notebook by your bed so you can write the brilliant conversations that come to you in the middle of the night…

• If you’ve ever gotten someone to tie your hands behind your back so you can see how long it takes to get loose…

• If you walked around the house blindfolded to see if your other senses really become heightened…

• If you put the time your Aunt Louise tried to shoot her second husband in your book, disguised of course, and convince yourself that none of the family will recognize her...

• If someone comes up to you and a writer friend in a restaurant and says, “I heard you talking and finally figured it out—you two must be writers. All that stuff you were talking about couldn’t happen for real. Not in this town…”

• If you get depressed because you can’t keep your character from making a really dumb mistake…

• If you spend more money on writing aids and retreats and conferences than you’ve received for your stories…

If you answer yes to any of these ifs, then no question about it, you’re a writer.

Leave a comment with one of your own you know you're a writer if... and I'll enter you in a drawing for a $10 iTunes gift card to be announced Monday. Mention the word ponder, and you'll be entered twice.

Pat Trainum
I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write

Photo from unkown source


  1. Haha!! LOVE it, Pat!

    We're a Jeff Foxworthy family, always quoting his material in some form or other.

    Another one I'd add is "You might be a writer if you want to clean the house in order to work out that scene problem." I ponder best when I'm cleaning.

  2. You might be a writer if you know that WIP, MS, POV RUE, GMC are writers' terms that mean: work in progress, manuscript, point of view, resist the urge to explain, and goals/motivation/conflict--and not some governmental gobbledygook!!
    Pondering who thought these acronyms up!

  3. Nice to begin the day with a smile & ponder how I know I'm a writer.

    You might be a writer if you receive mail addressed to one of the characters in your novel.

  4. Toni Wilbarger2/4/11, 8:51 AM

    Great insight! Also, you might be a writer if people look at you with pity because the main character in your novel was physically abused (so naturally, you were, too!). It's a good mental exercise to ponder this question.

  5. IF I cleaned, Lisa, it probably would be a good way to work out problems. ;>)

  6. Okay, Beth, I'm dame bread today. What's RUE? The other's registered. lol

  7. Brenday, glad I made you smile and I see you slipped ponder in your comment. lol

  8. Sorry about that typo, Brenda

  9. Yes, Toni! I write murder mysteries/suspense and sometimes comment about that in classrooms and the students look at me and ask, "Have you ever killed anyone?"
    To which I reply, "Not yet. We'll see how the day goes."

  10. I'm w/ you, Pat. I ponder better other ways, except for the time I wrote a poem over the washing machine.
    A true experience I'll add is: If you walk down an empty university hall and descend the ornate staircase laughing loudly at what your main character just said, until met by a classmate coming up the stairs, staring at you, pondering your sanity while you helplessly try to explain . . . well, then, you might be a writer.

  11. Mary Russell2/4/11, 9:12 AM

    Yep, those definitely indicate a writer.

    You might add this: You know you're a writer if you ponder this long enough to come up with a new one!

    Or this: You know you're a writer if you cut your shower short, throw on a robe, and race to the computer to write the perfect final chapter to your book.

  12. Dee and Mary, absolutely right! We are not normal. But what's wrong with that. ;>)

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  14. I just thought of another one! So I'll comment on my own post.

    You know you're a writer if when you're away from the computer, you wish you were home writing, but when you're home, you come up with every excuse in the book not to write.

    Pondering if this makes me eligible for the gift card?

    And I deleted the original comment because...too many typos. lol

  15. RUE: Resist the Urge to Explain, which means: Don't over explain everything your character is doing.
    Did I explain too much, Pat?

  16. I've pondered this several times and these have both happened to me. You might be a writer if you want to write a note and all your pens are red.
    And you might be a writer if you jump out of bed and rush to the computer to write that brilliant scene you awoke with, then you work a little more, then you look up and it's 3 PM and you're still in your jammies.

  17. Loved this, Pat, and all the other "You might be a writer if...." comments. :) I loved reading them. :) I'm pondering other ways to know if you're a writer.

    I'll add one of my own. You might be a writer if.....your main characters have a fight while you're in closing prayer at church, and you have to look up and write it down. :) Have a great weekend everyone!

  18. Carrie, I know exactly what you're talking about. Sometimes I get into the story and forget to eat lunch, then when I go to prepare it, there's my bowl of cereal from breakfast still waiting for the milk.

  19. Angela Bell2/4/11, 2:39 PM

    LOL! :-) This is so much fun, Pat. Okay here's mine. You know you're a writer if . . .

    a) You've spent hours pondering unique, painful ways to kill someone.

    b) In church you start using the sermon to map out your character's inner journey.

    c) While watching a movie your brain automatically recognizes different story elements such as The Inciting Incident, Black Moment, etc.

    Okay, that was more than one. I couldn't stop! :D

  20. I've got one to add to the list. You know you are the daughter of a writer when your mother uses something that has happened at a recent horse show as a murder prospect for her novel. Ponder that one!!!!

  21. I LOVED THIS POST!!! Well done, Pat.

    And Angela, I do 'B' ALL the time!

    ...if when you find something new out about your character, you share it with your friends as if they were their friends too.

    Great job :)

  22. I'm with Ginger. I loved this post and I'm guilty of applying the sermon to my characters.

    ...if you call your writer friends and talk about your characters instead of your children.

  23. Agree with Ginger...well done, Pat.

    ...if your heart skips a beat when you find grammatical errors in published documents.

    ...now that's nothing to say how the adrenalin courses through my body when I've proofread (and marked up) my husband's resume'...and he just stares at me when I fling it on his desk and run.

    I've learned a lot from this one post, Pat.

  24. Okay Carole, no more telling family secrets!

  25. Angela, Ginger and Roxanne! The sermons--I didn't know anyone else did that! Really. Great comments.

  26. Hey, Pat! It's Jenny...I'm putting my name because I don't have a profile and I'm going to try to post. I can't think of a good one, but I'm wondering if you've ever walked around your house blindfolded! Hope you have had a good, productive day!

  27. I'm trying to post again. This was such a cute post and so true! You might be a writer if you love Staples.....LOL

  28. You might be a writer if your girlfriend who's gone through an ugly breakup asks you to write a nasty parody of her ex into your current WIP and kill him off.

  29. And, you might be a writer if you and your husband talk about your characters as if they're family members.

  30. My personal favorite: You might be a writer if you notice folks looking at you strangely at the grocery store and realize you were running through dialogue again...out loud.

  31. These comments are hysterical Renee, your comment about a friend asking you to write a nasty parody of her ex . . . hilarious!

  32. Jenny, actually I have. And tied my hands behind my back to see if I could get loose. That was hard! At least my heroine was under 30 and very flexible. lol

  33. Rene, ROTF! Did you write the parody?

  34. Angela Bell2/4/11, 8:30 PM

    Pat, Ginger, & Roxanne: LOL! :D I'm glad that I'm not the only person who thinks of my characters during sermons. Now I don't feel so guilty.

  35. Cheryl, you and TEE would make great buddies! And haven't you learned not to critique your husband's resume?????? lol

  36. Chris Potash2/4/11, 11:37 PM

    These are so funny! Here is mine to ponder: You know you are writer if you keep kids' bath crayons in the shower to write down plot ideas and dialogue on the shower wall so you won't forget them!

  37. Patricia...definitely true. I can spend hours in Staples!

    Chris...Great idea--that one I'll have to try.

  38. I loved this post! One might be a writer if...one constantly begs their husband to dress up like a swashbuckling pirate, or a Civil War Captain, or a wagonmaster (fill in the blank...hoot!) and then draws enormous inspiration from the deed.



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  40. Cindy, I can just see your husband in his gray uniform. Oh, wait...I think I did a few years back, lol

  41. Fun post! I didn't know there was such a thing as this blog, I'll have to visit again. :)

    I know I'm a writer when I hear a phrase, or an image and go...that a story! (then tell my mom about it :) I will occasionally ponder what in the world they must think of such statements from me. :)


  42. Good, Casey! Don't worry about what anyone thinks. You know writers aren't normal, anyway,

  43. I absolutely LOVE this question and have been so enjoying reading all the comments and nodding my head in agreement :) Ok, here's my contribution -I know I'm a writer when I find myself thanking the Lord that I get to spend time with my imaginary friends everyday LOL!