TCWT: “It’s okay, I’m a writer. This is normal.”

TCWT: “It’s okay, I’m a writer. This is normal.”

The Teens Can Write Too! blog chain is back, and this month the prompt is What are your writers’ habits and eccentricities?

This is a pretty hard post for me. I mean, yes, I have a lot of weird habits, and most people would call me eccentric. On the other hand, though, I’m seriously not convinced that they’re a result of being a writer. Many of them I’ve had for years, or have come from parts of my life (e.g, the internet, reading, etc) that aren’t directly related to writing. My aversion to wearing shoes if I can help it, for example. My ability to think of a quote for every situation, usually from Sherlock or Doctor Who. My penchant for walking around in public wearing a dressing gown. All of these are eccentricities, but they’re not to do with writing.

So what do I do as a writer that non-writers think is weird?

Ah, now that makes life easier. If I was trying to think of things other writers would think were weird, that’d be impossible. I’m just like the rest of them. However – non-writers… they’re fazed by most literary behaviour, I think.

SIDENOTE – My sister pointed out the other day that what people now consider ‘rockstar behaviour’ – drugs, alcohol, and the like – used to be considered ‘poet behaviour’. There’s some food for thought.

When I’m writing, I often become very attached to fictional characters. I’ll then kill them off and cry about it. Many people think this is strange as if I liked them that much, why did I kill them? They don’t seem to understand the meaning of ‘major plot point’.

My characters are as real to me as my friends. I’ll complain about them, bemoan their awful fashion sense, generally refer to them in conversation, and sometimes talk to them. I try to do that in private only, though.

I dress up as my characters. Sometimes in public places. A couple of weeks ago, I went to Camden Market (a pretty wacky market in London) dressed as one of my characters, Hettie Jaelin. My friend KM was dressed as Karina Starling, the other main character in this novel we’re writing collaboratively (and slowly, due to the soul-eating monster that is GCSE Art).

SIDENOTE: While we were there, a random guy wearing a red waistcoat asked if he could take a photo with me. I was bemused. To this day I do not know whether he (a) was just pleased to see another cosplayer and wanted a photo for that reason, (b) thought I was cosplaying a character from the same thing as he was, or (c) mistook me for somebody famous. But it was pretty weird anyway. Here’s a photo. If any of you know this guy, let me know which of the three it was, would you?

Anyway… back to the subject. So many random side notes here.

I don’t sit normally on chairs. From the other posts here, I’m not alone in this – I think chairs are just the most uncomfortable thing. I have a swivel chair in my room (though I really want a beanbag!) and I sit cross-legged on it. I’m currently writing this with my laptop on the coffee table in my living room, and I’m cross-legged on the sofa. Sometimes I sit with my legs in a W shape (to those looking at me. To me it’s an M) but I don’t do that so much any more, after the physiotherapist told me off ;)

I write anywhere. You’ll find me attempting to scribble in a notebook on buses … the invention of the smartphone was the best idea ever, I no longer have to try and decipher my handwriting. I’m in the library at lunch, tapping away at one of the computers. I write on holiday and in exams. My only published work so far was written surreptitiously in an Italian exam and folded up and sneaked out under the eagle eye of the invigilators. Last summer, I wrote in a notebook in a hotel in Italy, in a notebook in a tent in Sidcup, in a notebook on a sailing boat in Norfolk (a whole week of that!), on a laptop in France, and in a notebook in France after I killed my laptop. I also wrote on an aeroplane, an overnight coach, and on a ferry. If I have no paper / no phone / no laptop, I’ll write on my arms. I’m not fussy.

I occasionally get inspired in public places. I’ll be sitting there and suddenly I’ll make some exclamation – usually OOH! – and start scribbling furiously. It’s best not to ask questions. Sometimes this happens on buses – see “I’m not a psychopath. Honest.” Many of my friends have learned that when this happens, they should not say anything, because I am in my mind palace* and if they disturb me, I will get lost.

Everything is a novel; every conversation is dialogue. Be careful what you say to me, as you may later find it in the mouth of a character. If an interesting situation arises, rest assured it shall be immortalised in a book some time. And lastly, don’t look particularly unusual or wear interesting clothes in my presence, because I may turn you into a character.

I pick up my characters’ accents. Over the summer, I had a character called Bronwyn, who was Welsh. And I had a lot of trouble with Wyn, as my long-term readers will know, so I really struggled to get inside her head. However, when I eventually managed it, it was with unforeseen consequences – I now speak in a Welsh accent when I’m particularly annoyed or worked up. What the hell happened there, I have no idea…

I’ve really lost the plot, completely and utterly, now, so I’m going to go before I ramble any more.

Go read some of the others, instead!

April 5––Comfy Sweaters, Writing, and Fish

April 6– — The Leaning Tower of Plot

April 7––Lily’s Notes in the Margins

April 8–– From My Head

April 9––This Page Intentionally Left Blank

April 10––The Word Asylum

April 11––Rachel’s Book Reviews

April 12––Novel Journeys

April 13––A Farewell to Sanity

April 14––Sword of Ink

April 15––The Dreamers Adventures

April 16––The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

April 17––Here’s To Us

April 18––Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)

*My brain actually looks somewhat like a computer folder, but you shouldn’t disturb me anyway. You wouldn’t want to corrupt or accidentally delete a vital file, would you?

22 thoughts on “TCWT: “It’s okay, I’m a writer. This is normal.”

  1. Hehehehe, I has a beanbag and, ironically, I love spinny chairs…

    Talking to characters? Hehe, me too! Though I’m usually yelling at them … and then calling them names … and getting weird looks from anyone who’s listening xD

    Awesome post! I like your costume – I reckon that’s grounds enough for someone wanting a photo with you! xD

  2. I have kids who are used to me bursting into tears or standing in the kitchen speaking out loud to no one inparticularly. Though I believe my eccentricities have been a bit of a learning curve for everyone here — it has taken awhile, but I think they now see this as normal — for me anyway.

    1. Ha ha, yes indeed. I go slightly crazy when I have a deadline (NaNo or a submission or something), but my parents don’t notice the difference as I’m always slightly mental.

  3. Hi there are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any html coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

    1. You don’t need to know anything at all, although it makes it easier when you’re trying to embed videos and stuff as you can see where to put the code :) WordPress is VERY easy, very intuitive. I’ve been using it about three years now and I really like it. Good luck!

  4. That’s really cool about the Welsh accent. And about dressing up as a character. (That guy in the red has a great look… I’d give anything for a vest like that. Personally, though, I’d do away with the frilly stuff. And he needs a hat…)
    I wish I did half the stuff you mentioned here…

  5. I must agree with Liam’s comment above on two counts–developing a Welsh accent is very cool, and the random guy in the red vest has a great sense of style. As for the quirks I share with you, I have a tendency to complain about my characters, too, and I can write nearly anywhere. Great post!

    1. Heh, it’s funny you guys calling it a vest. Waistcoat. It’s a waistcoat. Vests go UNDER the shirt. Sigh… Americans…. :D
      The Welsh accent is not cool as my dad makes fun of me every – single – time I say ‘massive’, ever. Because apparently it sounds Welsh and he finds that amusing.

      1. I suppose I should have known. I apologize. To most Americans, a vest is any sleeveless upper body covering. Waistcoats qualify, as do normal vests (which, in America, normally go *over* the shirt, as in a sleeveless coat). At least, that’s how I’ve known it all my life.
        If I ever hope to be an Englishman, I’m going to have to learn this stuff.

        1. I see. I wasn’t aware that vest applied to more than just waistcoats.
          In England a vest is a … umm, I think it’s called a tank top? But, like, there are vests for men too. And it goes under your shirt, to keep you warm. Don’t know what you call that over there. And then a vest-top is a t-shirt with straps instead of sleeves. A tank top I think. So yeah.
          Language barriers, pah.

      2. I know. I wish language barriers were tangible, and that someone would go attack it with a sledgehammer. It isn’t like we’re speaking different languages, after all; it’s just different vocabulary. And it’s so unfair how cool your vocabulary is, and how dull ours is. I wish there was some sort of “American-British” dictionary, as if it was “English-German”. I might look for a book on that… “How to speak English strangely.” (That book would be different depending on which country you were in.)

        1. Ha ha ha, yes indeed.
          What’s so cool about ours that’s not cool about yours? I mean, admittedly we can spell, but… what do we have that’s cooler, as words go?

          1. Hmmm… I’ll have to think about that one. Mostly, I like the accents. As for words… Well, I’m not sure of many differences between our vocabularies, but everything sounds better with a British accent. You can’t walk around in Victorian era clothing, speaking with a Boston accent, now can you?

          2. I don’t know, I’ve never head a Boston accent, or at least not known that what I was hearing was a Boston accent (American accents all sound the same to us). Just like there is no such thing as a ‘British’ accent. I’m a Londoner. I have friends in the North and I can’t understand them. Wales is a part of Great Britain, but Welsh accents are different from English, and there are different types of Welsh accents. Mine is sort of Cardiff area, or so I’ve been told. The phrase ‘British accents’ is an inaccurate as ‘American accents’.

      3. I’ve been told that. Regional accents and all… They’re really hard to describe. I tried describing a Boston accent and ended up describing what I think was a Long Island accent. I suppose there is no such thing as a British accent, then. In America, “British accents” are stereotyped. I suppose it’s the other way around in Great Britain… I need to visit you guys (“you guys” being England as a whole).

  6. I also talk to my characters, or have them suddenly say something to me like – “I like this Mal guy” (Rachel about the Captain of Serenity) or “See that’s what I am” (rachael again, only this time it was Diary of a Nymphomaniac) – Stuff I really want to get out and tell someone, but sadly my hubby deosn’t really get it so I try to keep silent until I explod it all in e-mails with Charely or in covnersation on her and your blog. :}

    I can only wonder what my Kids think of me…

    I’d love to dress as Sarah and go somewhere. Someday I will. I have designed the latest fashions of Vervell. :}

  7. I talk about my characters as if they really exist too. This one “friend” of mine thinks I’m insane. Whatever. He doesn’t have worlds walking around in his head.
    I actually had a similar photo taking experience. There’s this festival I went to called the Feast of the Hunters Moon, (it’s held at the site of a battle that happened during…some war, in the 1750s), and a friend, my sister, and I all made time period appropriate costumes and wore them to the festival. While we were there, several people asked to take our pictures, and there was this trio of ladies who wanted pictures with us. It was kinda weird.
    I’m glad I’m not the only one who goes around quoting Doctor Who!

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