Tuesday, January 10, 2012

That's not my pen and other quirks that come with being a writer . . .

Writers can be strange creatures. We tend to be in our own world. Creative minds combined with lack of sleep from late night editing can make for some interesting conversations and scenarios.

Here are a few that I've noticed in myself:

Pen Thief

This happens on accident. There is that moment of panic and wonder when I glance to the pen in my hand and realize I don't own it. Then, with my head down in shame, I must go back to the person and return the item my subconscious, sticky-fingered writer-brain took. I'm pretty sure I'm the reason banks have their pens on chains . . .
While I would never commit thievery on purpose, sometimes when I borrow someone's pen and it writes so smooth and fits so perfectly balanced in my fingers, I want to. But I exercise restraint. Unless I'm in subconscious, sticky-fingered writer-brain mode . . .

The Love Affair with Pens and Notebooks

Back to school sales are my favorite. There is nothing like a fresh notebook and a brand new packet of pens to lose.
Currently in my couch there is probably five pens. They seem to migrate there like geese flying to Florida. I don't mind because I know where to find them. I've lost so many pens in my life that it is actually a relief I've found a secure place for them.
Note to pen thieves: I have a guard dog. That's where she sleeps. (And ironically where she “buries” her chewy bones and dog treats).

Pets named after Characters

All of my pets are named after characters I adore. There's Lucy the chihuahua named after Lucy Ricardo on I Love Lucy. My last cat named Siri after a character in Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker. And my newest kitten Nico named after a character in the Shamer Chronicles by Lene Kaaberbol.
I don't think I could name a pet a normal non-character name. Characters mean too much to me and so do my pets.

Talks to self

I am very much guilty of this. Sometimes I need to work a plot or dialog issue. Other times, it's just me talking to myself. But hey with all the character's conversations going on and editing in my head, it's the only way I can get a word in edgewise. Besides, its all good—I've never lost an argument with myself.

Turn any event into a plot point

Sometimes life throws you hiccups. Whether it's being forgotten at the airport or the cat falling into the toilet (both true stories), as a writer my first thought is wondering if it could be used in a story. (Well, my first thought is to laugh, especially when the cat walks out of the bathroom shaking water from her paws and flicking her tail indignantly after the big splash.) Any event in life can be turned into a story. The key is finding them.

What about you? What are some of your favorite writer's quirks?


  1. LOL @ stealing pens. I'm the opposite... I don't steal pens (often) but I usually invest good money into my pens so I get teary eyes when one of them disappear. I thought I was the only one obsessed with a good pen. Last time I got some good pens, I bought about twenty of them, so when one disappears I don't fall into a deep depression.

    I guess one of my quirks was when my boss asked how many books I read last year. "Around 30, I think" (and I'm a slow reader) Then he asked how many of them were actually published. "Around 20, I guess." He thought that was pretty weird.

    I don't think talking to one self is left only to those who write. I've been guilty of that my entire life. Since getting more serious about writing it actually seems to have gone down. Now I "talk things out" on sprint writers. LOL. Of course I get sad when I *NEED* to talk something out and the chat room is empty.

  2. I like your thoughts about writers. For myself, I find that people I meet could make great characters in my books.

  3. I name my animals after characters too. lol My littlest dog is Shandae after Ember Shandae in my own books. I'm obsessed with a specific pen--it's the only one I'll write with--and paper too. And office furniture. I am always checking out the "perfect" desk at the nearest office superstore. lol

  4. I find myself looking for characters, It's kind of a people watching thing. I also eavesdrop on conversations to hear dialogue (I'm so bad). People crack me up. They say the weirdest things. Especially little kids. Kids are the best. Maybe thats why I like to write for kids.

  5. No, no, no! We don't talk to ourselves. We think aloud.

    We are not crazy!

    Of course, I do tend to talk back since I'm working through dialogue, so perhaps that could be classified as being nuts.

    And what better place to seek inspiration than through our own drama? Or that of those around us.

  6. Yes, we all have those quirks, I think. And staring off into space at random moment when some new plot point occurs to us. =)

  7. oh man you guys thought of some great ones! This is why I love being a writer.

  8. Dude, I have a very unhealthy love of pens and notebooks. So I have this disease, and I feel your pain.

  9. Me too. The pen and notebook thing. Last week, I had a coupon for Staples, so I ordered a bunch of stuff, and I had to tell everyone I could what a fantastic deal I got. Then I realized they didn't care. But I'm still excited!

  10. Very true! I always talk to myself :-)

  11. For me it's more journals and blank books than notebooks (though notebooks and I had a love affair for a long time... now I try to stick to just one, though!) I love journals so much that I learned how to make them! I haven't actually used one I've made, though... I've decided to burrow through the large stack of bought ones I already had first. Considering I have a backpack full of them... it might take some time.