Monday, August 23, 2010

...I'm a writer




I was sitting in a room full of people the other day and a woman in front of me had a bag. It said:

Don't expect me to act normal. I'm a WRITER.

I thought to myself. Aha! No wonder she's so odd! But then I thought to myself... What do people think about me? Maybe I should ask her where she got her bag.

What do you, as a writer, do that sets you apart from the norm? Here's one of mine.

I do cub scouts. For one of our weekly activities, we went to the police station. For every one question the cub scouts had for Chief Blackburn, I had ten...

If a seventeen-year-old is convicted of murder...? How heavy is a kevlar vest? Can you run fast with a kevlar vest on? Can I try yours on? How close do I have to be to shoot through a kevlar vest? How does your stun gun work? Can I hold it? Shoot it? What does a person look like right after he's shot? Who arrives at a murder scene first...? (Add to this me peering into his car windows, asking for a fingerprint demonstration, fingerprint-dusting demo, handcuff demo...)

So, by the end he was looking at me like I should probably be either on the most wanted list, or in a pshyc ward. And then, blushing, I explained...

I'm a writer.

So, spill. I wanna hear all about your writerly oddness.

28 comments:

Stef said...

Ah, the writerly oddities... of which I have so very, very many.

The most obvious one is probably the "Why do you always have that notebook in your hand? I mean, is it surgically grafted there or something?" "Nope. I'm a writer."

Another one is talking out loud to myself in my car or when I'm walking. A lot of times, just so people don't freak out, I bring my phone up to my ear so that it looks like I'm having a conversation.

And that's just two. I could continue for a while. haha

Stephanie McGee said...

LOL

I went to an Air Force museum a few weeks ago and it was open cockpit day. I think I embarrassed my mom to no end because I reverted to elementary school. I looked like a kid in a candy store. (The MC in my book I'm revising is in the Air Force. And NASA. It was a great day.)

Jamie said...

I definitely do the talk-to-myself-with-my-phone-against-my-ear thing like Stef does! Other than that, I keep my writing to myself - no one else knows (well, except my awesome online writing community)...maybe that's a weird writer habit?

Sarah N Fisk said...

Oh yeah. I ask all kinds of questions on facebook/twitter (which I call "Hivemind"). Most of them are for my books, but some are just because I'm curious. Though, if anyone asks, it's for a book. ;-) I'm pretty sure I'm on a government watchlist from the things I Google and ask on twitter.

Also, I like to write and revise in restaurants. I often read out loud when revising. The servers at my two favorite places are used to it, but the customers look at me oddly.

Annette Lyon said...

Curiosity is probably the most common writerly quirk we share.

I read a lot of medical-type books. A few years ago, a neighbor woman was talking about elements of her mother's serious illness, and I burst out with the name of it and said, "No wonder you're worried."

She gave me an odd look then said, "How do you know what that is? Are you a nurse?"

Um, no. Just a writer. :P

Charity Bradford said...

LOL, if you find out where the bag came from, let us know! I think we need a shirt too.

I loved reading everyone's quirks. A few of mine are: talking to myself, staring, ease dropping on conversations of strangers, polling people at the mall. My poor husband doesn't want to go anywhere with me anymore. :)

Bethany Wiggins said...

Thank you for making me feel so writerly-normal, guys. And thanks for the laughs!

Jen said...

LOL this is brilliant!!! I understand this feeling completely!!!

My husband watches when I find myself in one of the question moods, he thinks it's fascinating all the info I can get. It pays to have that care-free attitude, people tend to want to talk, which is really funny considering their lives may once be scripted.

A man in a elevator had looked winded, like he'd just moved, so I asked if he had, rather than just saying yes he shared about his traveling woes, who he was moving with, when he moved officially, how long they were staying and their overall goal.

After all that he said: I have never shared all that to anyone, especially not in an elevator ride.

Amazing what personalities us writers have to pull out such interesting information.

Indigo said...

Not unlike Sarah, I'm almost positive I'm on a goverment watch list. I've researched quite a few things through the FBI database.

My beta reader has even turned to me after reading something I've written and said, "You scare the crap out of me sometimes." In my defense, that's a good thing. (Hugs)Indigo

Jamie Burch said...

I think I drive my husband crazy by observing and questioning the actions of others around us.

Oh, I definitely space out on others a lot. And I do talk to myself quite a bit.

Enjoyed this post and everyone's answers!

Angie said...

LOL. I know how you feel. I need to get more bold about asking people questions, though. I'm knd of a chicken.

G said...

My co-workers already think I'm strange, so when I approach a few of them to ask questions about the opposite sex, they usually give me an odd look....before answering my question.

The bulk of my fiction is loaded with female MC's and I try to write certain things (clothing, physical appearances, etc.) as accurate as possible, thus I ask rather pointed, personal questions.

DL Hammons said...

I'm thinking of having a T-shirt made. On the back - only a large ?. Printed on the front: GUESS WHAT KIND OF BOOKS I WRITE.

Get it? :)

Elle Strauss said...

I did that recently. I started chatting with a stranger at a coffee shop and found out he was from the area my current wip is set in. He must've thought I was extremely friendly as I asked about all kinds of details about his home!

Laura Pauling said...

Okay, that's pretty hilarious! I'm wondering what the kids were thinking...

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh love this post1 And I so want that bag! Maybe we should print some up and sell them as some sort of fundraiser? :)

Myrna Foster said...

I could relate to almost all of these. When I had my first kiddo, one of the perks was people thought I was talking to her, and sometimes I was. She started talking at a really young age . . . .

Tristi Pinkston said...

I talk to my characters in grocery stores ... :)

Christine Fonseca said...

I take notes on everything - character quircks, etc. Really, it isn't that different than observing people s a psych...not really!

Elana Johnson said...

I'm LOL-ing at the "How close do I have to be to shoot through a kevlar vest?" I bet he really liked that one...

I'm not sure how I'm weird. Maybe just that I notice the ordinary in the world, and hope to turn it into something extraordinary.

Little Ms J said...

I talk to myself in the car too! I carry a notebook and text myself ideas all the time. I haven't approached any cops yet...

Dominique said...

Great story. :)

My writerliness tends to express itself in my pursuing "interesting empirical experiences" in what most people consider life. Once, while thinking about a vampire character, I wanted to give blood to understand what a vampire victim might feel like, if that makes any sense. Most people thought that an "interesting" reasoning.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

OMGoodness...When I got the "special" treatment at the airport, I got out my pen and notebook and quized airport security and took notes. They were realy nice about it once I told them I'm a(n aspiring) writer.

Did you know if you use certain kinds of lotion and soap it can cause the bomb detection kits to indicate you have bomb making material on you? Don't use glycerine soap...

CMOM Productions said...

I love it! My own writer oddness... I asked my father-in-law to drive a certain route & record it for me as I wanted to experience the route that I wanted my character to take in a story.

By the way, did you ask her where she got her bag?

MT said...

My writerly oddness: I think I make people nervous if they catch me staring intently. Oh well!

Bethany Wiggins said...

Must find bags, buy many, and give them away from my blog!!!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

when I first contacted the local police department with questions for the detectives (I emailed my list of questions), I got a call from one detective acting very suspicious. He wanted to know exactly why I was asking these questions. It made me feel very awkward.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Ha ha ha! Great story - In love it! I can so easily picture you asking all those questions! :-)