You Know You’re a Writer if…


I can’t take credit for this list. I found it on the blog of Kaye Dacus, a Christian Fiction writer who writes historical and contemporary Christian romances. Her Ransome trilogy is my favorite of hers so far (seriously, Regency, British navy, and pirates, what isn’t there to love?).

I loved these so much I thought I’d share some of my favorites:

You know you are a writer if…

  • Some of the letters on your keyboard are completely worn off.
  • You would rather write than go out.
  • Your/you’re and their/there/they’re errors send you into an apoplectic fit.
  • You get cranky if you don’t get to write.
  • You’ve ever said, “The voices are getting louder; I must go write.”
  • In the middle of the night, you grab the pen and paper you keep next to your bed to write down a scene to make the voices be quiet so you can get some sleep.
  • Getting the scene finished is more important than food, coffee, or the bathroom.
  • A blank wall becomes the screen where the scene you’re writing takes place right in front of your eyes.
  • You can’t write because you’re mad at one of your characters.
  • You argue with said character.
  • The “sermon notes” section of the Sunday morning bulletin comes home every week filled in with ideas or scenes for your WIP.
  • You–hold on, I have to check my e-mail . . .
  • You do everything you can think of to procrastinate from writing, then turn the light on in the middle of the night and furtively write a few hundred words because you feel guilty for not writing.
  • You can predict the next line or conflict in just about every TV show/movie you watch.
  • You don’t meet “new friends”; you meet “potential characters.”
  • You stay in bed ten minutes after you wake up structuring the details of your dream into a novel synopsis, complete with character descriptions, setting, and costumes.
  • You spend more on “writing stuff” every year than you do on groceries and gas combined.
  • You’re never bored, because your characters are always there to entertain you.
  • You aren’t concerned when someone else talks about “the voices” not leaving them alone—in fact, you ask them about their voices and tell them about your own.
  • You know more than ten verbs to describe the way someone walked into the room.
  • Poorly written novels make you bipolar—elated knowing that you’re a better writer, and depressed because that hack got published and you can’t get past the acquisitions editor.
  • It takes you forever to send a text message on your cell phone because it has to be properly spelled and punctuated.
  • When given an essay/paper assignment in school with a ten-page length requirement, the professor turns and looks at you and says, “That means ONLY ten pages!” Your response is, “Is eight-point font okay?”
  • You live in a constant state of “What if?”
  • You see a hand-drawn employee appreciation poster at the grocery store with one word misspelled and have to avert your eyes every time you walk past it to keep from attacking it with a red Sharpie.
  • Staring off into space with a glazed look in your eyes is considered “working.”
  • You are automatically drawn to the display of journals and fancy notepads/notebooks on the bargain table at every bookstore you enter. And you buy at least two, because you don’t have any in that style yet, even though you have at least fifteen or twenty sitting at home unused.
  • You go into mourning when you kill off a character . . . even if the character deserved to die.
  • You know that “Which of your books is your favorite?” is the second worst question you can be asked. The worst is “Which of your characters is your favorite?”
  • You can never “clear your mind.”
  • You’ve figured out how to write while driving. And have actually missed your exit/turn because you’re so absorbed in your own story.
  • You pat the lid of your laptop after you close it. (Bonus points if you mutter, “Good girl/boy” while patting.)
  • At parties, some people snoop in the medicine cabinet. You sneak peeks at the bookshelves.
  • You read a list of “you know you’re a writer if…” statements and think of twenty others not covered.

Aren’t these awesome! There were so many that Kaye Dacus compiled that I didn’t include them all. There were just my favorites (and no, I’m not going to admit how many I do on a regular basis. If you’re a writer, you can probably guess without being told).

Which ones are your favorite? Did you think of any “You Know You’re a Writer if…” statements to add?

And, lastly, congratulations to Miquel, the winner of the A Time to Die giveaway! You should have received an email this morning. If you didn’t, please contact me. Thanks to everyone who entered!

The U.S. Navy & Corsairs

So why am I writing a post on history when this is a writing-centered blog?

I happen to love history. History is, after all, God’s Story. It is the biggest, most elaborate, craziest Story that has ever been written.

Take, for example, the founding of the U.S. Navy. Did you know our Navy was founded because of…pirates?


In the Revolutionary War, George Washington wanted the Continentals to found a navy to combat Britain’s navy. With the exception of John Paul Jones and a few others, this initial navy was a dismal failure.

After a few years once the U.S. Constitution was written and George Washington became the first president, the United States’ survival was still uncertain. Without the protection of the British navy, the ships and shorelines of the new country were vulnerable.

Cue the Barbary Corsairs.

The Barbary Corsairs were a group of pirates that operated out of the North African states of Tripoli, Algiers, and Morocco. They preyed on European shipping, raiding their ships and taking their crews captive to sell as slaves in Africa. The big powers, like France and Great Britain, paid massive amounts of money to these Barbary states to buy supposedly safe passage for their ships. When the United States had been a colony of Great Britain, their shipping had been protected by this tribute. As a separate country, the ships of the United States were now fair game for the corsairs.

So in 1794 President George Washington brought up the idea of starting a navy for the second time. Chaos ensued.

Finally, someone in Congress got the idea of a compromise. Congress approved the building of six ships as long as a treaty with the Barbary corsairs was also pursued. If a treaty was signed, then the work on the ships would stop. Late in 1794, a treaty with the corsairs was worked out where the United States would pay the corsairs a lot of money as tribute. The amount of tribute was so high it could have built sixty ships.

This treaty kind of worked for a while. The United States struggled to pay the tribute and even gave the corsairs a brand new ship as part of the payment (yes, let’s give the pirates a nice ship so they can attack us more). Work on the six ships the Congress had approved did eventually restart and they were finished in 1797 . The corsairs continued to raid U.S. merchant ships because they knew the U.S. couldn’t do anything about it.

By 1801 Mr. Anti-Navy himself, Thomas Jefferson, was President. Public outcry over the corsairs grew so bad that he declared the U.S. would no longer pay tribute. Tripoli promptly declared war, making them the first foreign power to declare war on the United States. Thomas Jefferson sent the U.S. Navy into its first, official war. While the Barbary War didn’t end the tribute, it did reduce it and give the sailors in the Navy valuable experience.

After the War of 1812 ended in 1814, James Madison decided to end the tribute to the Barbary corsairs once and for all. This time, the Navy had the confidence of surviving a war against Great Britain, the foremost naval power of the world at the time. It could handle a few pirates. By the time the U.S. Navy finished the second (brief) Barbary War, the Barbary States were paying the United States for damages. A few years later, Great Britain and France realized that if the upstart Navy of the United States could handle the Barbary corsairs, then their navies could too. They both attacked the Barbary States, ended their tribute, and basically ended the reign of the Barbary pirates for good.

From then on, the U.S. Navy has been a permanent part of the Federal Government. All because of a bunch of pirates. Crazy, huh?

What do you think? Would you have written a fictional world where a navy was founded because of pirates?