Most people go about their day normally. They see things, say “Huh, that’s nice,” and move on. They watch a movie and go, “That wasn’t bad.”
Generally, though, that’s not what writers do. What do they do? Everything they see, they file away in their memory for use at a later date. (Some of those things will have to wait a long, long time… for the sake of the author, since people don’t always appreciate their mass absurdities turning up in best-selling novels. Unless you’re clever about it, of course, and they don’t know where you came up with such excellent stuff.) Everything they read, they analyze. What works? What doesn’t? What makes it good? What makes it bad?
Movies and television shows are not immune. Writers don’t kick back and enjoy, they critique. How come that absurdly modern bit of dialogue just popped up in Dickens’ England? What was this writer thinking when he/she went with that cliché? How romantic can a proposal made in the rain really be?
But mostly… they can’t stop writing. They couldn’t even if you forbid it. In such cases, they would resort to scribbling on the backs of grocery sacks or their bedroom wall, or maybe on the arm of a passing child or two.
If you wake up and you can’t wait to write something, you’re a writer. If you’ve tried to stop and can’t for more than a short amount of time, you’re a writer. If you are slightly demented when it comes to protecting other literary creations, as if they were “real” people and their character is being defaced… you’re a writer.
Or maybe you’re just me.
Because that’s what I am: a writer.
And I’m entering Jeff’s contest. You should too. But hurry up, the deadline’s tomorrow!