Monday, May 05, 2008

You Know You're a Writer

By C. Lynn Beck
© 2008

You know how they say good things come in small packages? It's true. My friend, Nichole Giles, gave me a book titled, You Know You're a Writer When .... Its dimensions are slightly bigger than a large index card and it contains 95 pages, some of which have only one sentence.

In the introduction, author Adair Lara says, "If you're a writer, chances are you'll recognize yourself in this book."

Really? Naw, writers aren't that easily classified and categorized. We're unique and mysterious, I thought. However, by the time I read the first several pages, I found myself laughing and nodding my head, because she nailed me—along with all the other writers of the world.

Since I enjoyed it so much, I thought you might like to read a few of the selections. So, here are a smattering of passages for your enjoyment, along with a peek or two into your own psyche:

"You know you're a writer when ..."
  • You'll never forgive your parents for your happy childhood.
  • People still talk about your letters from camp, or the navy, or jail.
  • You wonder if there's another word for "thesaurus."
  • You know more than ten synonyms for "blue."
  • The doctor tells you that you have terminal cancer and you think, "I can use this."
  • Writing is the only thing you do that doesn't make you feel as if you should be doing something else.
  • A cop gives you a ticket and you realize he's sort of a writer, too, and want to say to him, "Can I just say your work really has an impact on me?"
  • You are shipwrecked on a deserted island but can't send the rescue note off in the bottle because you have no access to spell-check.
  • When driving alone on a stormy night past wind-tossed trees, you think, She swerved to avoid the deer but its hooves shattered the windshield into a cobweb of cracks, and then the car tumbled down the cliff. It rolled several times and came to rest at the bottom of the canyon. She was still alive.

That last one makes me laugh every time I read it. Only a writer could take a potentially terrifying experience and turn it into a novel in his/her head. And that's what I love best about being a writer—everything is a story.

C. Lynn’s other work:
Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers, "Horse on Lap"
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann, "Priming the Pump, pg. 79
Newspaper Column
Ensign Magazine, Dec 2007-Q&A
2007 League of Utah Writer's Award-Historical Fiction

What books C. Lynn recommends:
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)
Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction by Jon Franklin
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Browne & Dave King


Annette Lyon said...

That's priceless. We writer are a weird bunch, but in some ways we're a lot alike. I don't know how many times I've thought, "I could use this." And then HAVE used it. I guess one bit of good news is that no bad experience is lost on a writer--it's all fodder.

Rachelle Christensen said...

Love this! I was laughing, we are kind of crazy. It makes me glad people can't read my thoughts!

Anna Maria Junus said...

When I was writing a humor column I would sometimes find myself in difficult predicaments. Stranded on the side of the road, a son with scary stories of things happening to him, etc.

Each time I thought "this will make a great column."

I sure miss writing that column. Funny things don't seem to happen anymore.

C. LaRene Hall said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cindy Beck, author said...


Yes, writers as a bunch are strange ... well, maybe not strange, but unique and creative:) And we have a different outlook on life, which is why we can trip, fall in the manure pile and come out with a good story.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Cindy Beck, author said...


I'm with you about being glad people can't read my thoughts! My husband and I sit in a restaurant, and the next thing you know we're making up stories about the people and the events happening around us. It makes for great fun, even if we do put the people in some odd situations. :)

Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Cindy Beck, author said...

Anna Maria,

It's interesting how we find humor when we're looking for it. Maybe that's the trick to getting through life ... pretending we're writing a humor column when things go haywire.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

C. Michelle Jefferies said...

LOL i love all of them however the last one made me laugh the hardest. I was looking for some ideas for my new romance. and my husband had a bird strike in his airplane, and i rolled my DH's truck. at that point I said okay, no more real life experiences.

Brian N. Moore said...

My son once asked why I carry a small notebook around. I said to write. When he asked what writers write, I was actually dumbfounded for a moment but ended up saying,"any and everything they can if and whenever they can." He wrote a two page diary entry that night and it covered everything from the choice of t shirt for school to the last bristle swipe of his toothbrush. In the end, I liked his writing more than many of the things that I write. He will grow up to write and have fun filling a notebook full of life. I have to find this book, it looks great..