I’ve always identified myself as a writer.
I loved to type out stories on my parents’ computer from the time I was ten years old. I entered every writing contest, and I got an A on every paper. I was a writer. And along the way, being a writer, I developed some unique writing habits.
Using the Word Press app, for example. I have the Word Press app on my phone, which I find incredibly helpful in chronicling my thoughts and my ideas. Ever since college, I’ve carried around a writing notebook – a journal where I can scribble ideas throughout the day when they pop into my head. My mother would get extremely irritated with me – I’d be sitting at our kitchen table, sipping coffee, talking to her, and then I’d suddenly grab my writing notebook, scribble a few words, and then stash it away again. She felt (understandably) that this was rude. She also worried (irrationally) that I was going to write a memoir and blame all my problems on her someday.
The WP app serves the same purpose my writing notebook does; I can type things into my phone at any moment and save it into a draft on Word Press. The other day, running around Druid Lake in Baltimore, ideas for new posts or stories kept popping into my head. Whenever an idea struck me, I’d switch from running to walking and I’d quickly type the idea into a draft.
This habit – it’s not that weird. Others running by probably thought I was texting, or just taking a walk while scanning my Facebook news feed. So – not very weird at all.
Some of my writer’s habits, however, are incredibly weird. So weird that I only reveal them to people who’ve earned my trust. And, you know – the internet.
- I always carry a giant handbag. A huge purse. A heavy, chock-full-of-who-knows-what pocketbook. I’ve often been teased about this.
The reason why my purse is so heavy is that I always have at least three books with me – a book I’m reading (Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, currently), my planner, and my writing notebook. I started carrying my notebook everywhere with me because it helped me to always have an outlet for creativity, no matter where I was or what was going on at the moment. I could be waiting in line at the grocery store, and I could take out my book and write down an idea for a character that jumped into my head.
- I purchase special pens online from Staples on a semi-monthly basis.
Having a really good pen is important to me. It doesn’t have to be fancy; in fact, it’s often better if it’s not. (I mean, I’m definitely going to lose it.) The pens I order are Pilot Fine Point Easy Touch – absolutely perfect. Holding this pen makes me itch to do some journaling. And they don’t keep them stocked anywhere reliably, so I always end up having them shipped to my local Staples store. And then I get really weird and awkward when people ask to borrow my pen. (“My pen? Yeah – sure… But, just, you know, don’t lend it to anyone else. Or lose it. How many words do you need to write before you give it back to me, approximately?”)
- I am a natural storyteller in the worst way.
I make up stories about what other people think of me. I make up stories about what’s going to happen in my life. I make up stories with no actual factual basis in reality – and then I get all caught up in my stories, leading to anxiety and disappointment. This can be fun. It can also make life really difficult. (See my adoption wait post on storytelling here.)
- When I feel overwhelmed or stressed, I buy myself a new journal or planner. Even if the one I’m currently using still has plenty more pages. It helps me feel like I am getting a fresh new start, even though it makes absolutely no practical or financial sense to do this.
- My typing skills are eerily, creepily impressive.
I took a typing class when I was in 6th Grade, but I started typing stories on my family’s computer long before that. So my highest number of words typed per minute comes from my original method – two fingers, hunting and pecking, quickly. I can type about ninety words per minute this way, and I can attract the stares of everyone in the room. It’s loud – I can picture my seven-year-old self, banging around on the keys – and it’s fast, and it’s weird. One time, at a computer lab in Barcelona, I was typing an e-mail to a friend at home when all of a sudden, the guy next to me said, “I can’t take this anymore!” and stormed over to a computer across the room. I looked up and everyone in the room, friends and strangers included, was looking at me with laughing eyes or bewildered expressions.
Whatever. I got up at six, when I don’t need to be up until 7:15, so that I could have some playtime on heartsoulmindbody before the day begins. That’s where I’ll be – writing away.