The Problem Could Be That…..

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Some of us only realised that we were writers when we were already fairly long in the tooth. Whatever that means – I don’t have long teeth – just checked to be sure. I spent most of the years before that wondering what cruel joke the universe had been playing on me by making me pop up on this rock without a clue as to my life’s purpose. I’ve spent my life doing really peculiar things that I tended not to talk about just in case people thought I was weirder than they already did. That’s a problem – having a writerly train of thought without being able to tell people that you are one. These oddities are accepted as normal from creative people, and I must say, that since I finally found that amazingly joyful realisation that my purpose on this go around was to be a scribbler, I absolutely realise that all my guilty secrets are just the norm for my trade.
writer reputation

Youthful me: What do you want to be when you grow up? Um……..


Scholastic me: Totally clued up on the solar system, constantly devouring peculiar information deemed odd by normal people, and spent weeks researching the lives of Darwin and Beethoven – instead of cramming for maths exams. If it didn’t interest me I didn’t do it.


Readerly me: Very particular about what I wanted to read – not keen on most school reading – except for when I ran out of books, then the backs of Harpic bottles and Cornflour boxes suddenly became riveting.


After school me: Have you decided what you want to be when you grow up yet? You’re running out of time here. Um…….


Alright then, whatever, just get a job.


I have to give myself credit for giving my all to everything I tried, even though it bored me senseless, leading to being easily distracted.


Bureau of useless information: Even though I had no clue why, I’ve always properly researched everything that has interested me, and collected a really wild stack of notes on all sorts of things. There’s not a lot in the universe that I don’t find fascinating. I couldn’t help myself, and I still find notes tucked away reminding myself to look up one weird thing or another. Now I get to grin about it, and not wonder why I hadn’t been dealt a full deck upstairs. No information is useless to a scribbler.


Stationery Monster: I’ve always loved anything to do with writing. Over the years I’ve bought thousands of various items of stationery, knowing that I had to have them – needed them! They mostly stayed empty – now they’re all full.


I want to be alone: Writers aren’t very appreciative of company when the muse is on a roll. Unfortunately, while this dark, sultry, moodiness is accepted, and sometimes encouraged in the creative, it is looked on as rude surliness in supposedly normal people, and not a good way to make friends and influence people.


Too much information: Writers soak up information like sponges. They stare boldy (also considered rude for normal people) at the interactions of strangers, peer over walls at their neighbours (ok – that could just be me), and feel irresistible urges to study the histories of anything from the detailed workings of septic toilets to the Kama Sutra. The things we research and find totally acceptable are generally thought of as odd in your normal homo sapiens.

writer research 1

For the scribbler who doesn’t know she’s a scribbler, this means you have no club to truly belong to.

writer excluded

Know it all: All that unconscious researching leads to you knowing a little about everything, and not being shy to share your opinions.

writer before 1

Shocking revelation: Then one day the universe realises that you’re just not going to figure it out, and dumps whole stories into your cranium.

writer fate

Who me?: You just know that you can’t do it – you’ll be laughed right off the planet.

writer hello im awkward

Explosion: Some small thing gets your hand moving, and out it starts coming.

writer discovery

I’m a writer!: There it is.

writer figures it out

Welcome to the club!

writer fame

Now you get to eat like a writer.

writer food

Being a little highly strung goes with the territory.

writer study

You get to share plot lines and advice with your riveted friends now.

writer going own way

You get to know more about the interweb than most teenagers as – mostly – a bonus.

writer research

You know exactly who and what you are now, and make sure that everyone else does too.

writer muscle

46 thoughts on “The Problem Could Be That…..

    The Story Reading Ape said:
    April 18, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's New (to me) Authors Blog and commented:
    Some profound insights into the complex mind of an author – can you add any more for Jo to ponder? 😀


      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 19, 2014 at 1:38 am

      Thanks for sharing Chris! Complex is a very polite way to put it – well said that man! 😀


    John W. Howell said:
    April 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Man Jo, You nailed it. This was laugh out loud funny, but so near to the bone I flinched. Nice job


      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 19, 2014 at 1:37 am

      Thanks John! That’s why we get along so well – we’re just the same down at the core. 🙂


    philipparees said:
    April 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    One to ponder- Yes all grist to the writer’s mill, but tell me why we think anyone should read it? There’s the central problem. Writing ain’t the issue, cept it tends to anticipate a pate…

    Loved the captions! Especially ‘You only live once’


      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 19, 2014 at 1:36 am

      Hiya Philippa. They say that if you write it they will come – they might not stay beyond the third paragraph, and it’s all quantum after that, because once the moving finger begins to write, it just can’t stop. 😀 😉


    Charles Yallowitz said:
    April 18, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Perfectly put. That ‘want to be alone’ part gets me on trouble all the time. I get dubbed anti-social, but joining the group in such a mood makes me ‘negative and anti-social’. Just can’t win among the non-writing savages. :p


      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 19, 2014 at 1:33 am

      Non-writing savages… LOL! I hope this week zooms by for you Charles – I reckon that even the shape and size of non-writer people’s brains are different. Wouldn’t it be so cool if we really did get properly negative and anti-social and push them into Koi ponds. 😀


        Charles Yallowitz said:
        April 19, 2014 at 2:33 am

        It’s dragging along. At this rate, I might have to take next Tuesday off from writing and tackle the next book on Wednesday. Just to relax.


    Jack Eason said:
    April 18, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Another great article Jo.
    There are a few people (not you and I may I add) who seriously need to reassess their reasons for why they want to write. Judging by the threads on sites like Linkedin’s Books and Writers at:, I am convinced that the only reason some individuals feel the need to announce to the world that they are writers is purely as a social climbing tool. You know the ones I’m talking about, those who feel the need to use the word author as part of their name on sites like Facebook for instance.
    As for the charlatans who offer courses/seminars on writing, or in some case have become small publishers, if you dig deep enough, you will find that a lot of them tried to write and failed miserably. So,to make a living they charge the gullible, offering bad advice plus their personal insights and prejudices. We are all far better off to go it alone, making our own mistakes and learning by them… 🙂


      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 19, 2014 at 1:30 am

      Thanks Jack! I couldn’t see the threads on that LinkdIn group without joining it, but I totally understand what you mean. There are some properly pompous prats around and about, blowing hot air on everyone. I’ve never taken part in any writers forum on there or Amazon or Goodreads, but I’ve eyeballed a lot of them. You’re so right though – some spend a lot of time shouting about how magnificent they are, in between trying to relieve people of their money. Not us though – we wobble bravely forward with each other – and that is awesome. 🙂


    russtowne said:
    April 18, 2014 at 6:29 pm



    Mark Fine said:
    April 18, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    All the trials and tribulations you so well documented gave me a chuckle, but there’s still one persistent challenge I face when writing: the task never seems to end, there’s the constant tweaking here and there, and every where in the manuscript–so the hamster on the proverbial wheel is unfortunately the image I most relate to.


      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 19, 2014 at 1:23 am

      By the time the twentieth read through comes around, there is a definite understanding of certain scribblers absinthe habits. 😀 Still – love it all.


    M T McGuire said:
    April 18, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    I so get the bit about being interested in weird stuff. My memory is pretty much photographic if the thing interests me. If it doesn’t….. So I’ve not passed a maths exam since I was nine years old and I went to university because I knew it would give me another three years to decide what I wanted to do. I wrote all my life but came to the realisation that I wanted to write books fairly late considering how obvious it was.




      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 19, 2014 at 1:21 am

      It’s like – whack me on the chin with a wet sardine, and I still don’t get that I’m a penguin. 😀 I’m the same – if it doesn’t interest me, I’m not going to waste concentration on it, but I’m really pleased that your focus ended up on your authoring and not the pi stuff because the world would be a much poorer place without Kbarthian.


        M T McGuire said:
        April 19, 2014 at 6:55 pm

        Ah you flatter me ambassador. I’m so glad you like it. I’m pathetically happy when anyone does.




    ghostmmnc said:
    April 19, 2014 at 2:25 am

    hahaha these are all so true! The one that says our people have keyboards, we stay indoors, we have darkness…yes, yes, and yes! Loved this post!


    Cynthia Reyes said:
    April 19, 2014 at 3:41 am

    This is great, Jo. Gave me a big smile!


    Forget the Viagra...Pass me a Carrot! said:
    April 19, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Reblogged this on Forget the Viagra, Pass Me a Carrot and commented:
    I have thoroughly enjoyed my travels through Australian blogs but I would not want to miss out on any of my more established blog forages. Jo Robinson is a writer that I enjoy. I have just finished African Me + Satellite TV and had a wonderfully absorbed time.


    Vashti Quiroz-Vega said:
    April 21, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Hi Jo! Ha,ha! Loved this! It’s funny how true it is! Working in the medical field I’ve actually done the spit (hair and a variety of food) in the microscope thing *shamefaced*. Anyway, I’m so glad I know I’m a writer now. Phew! 😉


      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 22, 2014 at 11:34 am

      LMAO! Ha haaa – Vashti! I love the way your mind works! I love that we’re all so similar, and that we can get away with so much on the grounds that we’re scribblers. 😀


    Sherri said:
    April 22, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Oh Jo, I absolutely love this! I’m just now catching up with you after taking a break over Easter – hope you had a lovely one by the way! – and always look forward so much to reading your posts. This says it all, especially as I definitely came to writing when very ‘long in the tooth’, lol 🙂
    I’ve never felt I belonged anywhere or that I was doing what I was meant to do until I came to writing (other than being a mum, which I’m proud to say is my true calling!) but like you, I was fascinated with so many things, especially the solar system! I had dreams of being an astronomer, an archeologist, and an explorer. Obviously I didn’t do any of those things!
    But the way you write this post and with all the great video clips (how do you do that? You’re amazing!) describes what it’s like to be a writer so perfectly. I feel like I’ve lost friends since I started writing because the get sick of me (or I think they do!) wanting to talk about writing all the time but they don’t understand do they?
    I don’t have a writer’s group or attend any writing anything. My writing circle is right here, in blogland. This is it! Soooooo glad I met you here dear Jo, thanks a billion, you are the best and I mean that…lots of love from me to you, have a wonderful week my dear friend… 🙂 xoxoxoxoxoxoox 🙂 xxxxxxxxx


      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 22, 2014 at 11:30 am

      You’re awesome my lovely Sherri! I reckon you’re right about people really not understanding what being a writer feels like – you can see it it their blank looks when we get all excited about any form of scribbling, and some of our research would probably attract the interest of major security operations around the world – ha haaaaaaa! Until they see what we are, then they get it. I felt just like you before I started writing – now I get all warm and fuzzy doing what I do, and I don’t regret all that came before now, because it was all just research. 🙂 This is the best kind of group this blog family – happy or cross or upside down, there is always a friend right here who understands exactly what’s happening. Writers rock, and so do you! HUGS and LOVES to you! 🙂 XXXXXXXXXXXXX


        Sherri said:
        April 22, 2014 at 3:07 pm

        Yeah baby…let’s rock!! 🙂 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 🙂


    Seumas Gallacher said:
    April 22, 2014 at 1:07 pm



    Carol Balawyder said:
    May 6, 2014 at 3:08 am

    What an amusing “thesis” on being a writer.


    M. C. Dulac said:
    May 12, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Wonderful post! I recognise quite a few of those things!


      jorobinson176 responded:
      May 13, 2014 at 5:26 am

      Thank you! It’s amazing how similar writers are – I love them all!


    WeaverGrace said:
    May 14, 2014 at 11:04 am

    “These oddities are accepted as normal from creative people” This was an alluring beginning to a loaded post.

    ” notes tucked away reminding myself to look up one weird thing or another” I have accumulated folders full of such, in case I ever need ideas. In the meantime, I get painful emails that promote classes for “writers” to help them to write. If I ever encounter writer’s block, I am likely to suffocate.

    Becoming a “writer” suddenly gave me a thread of continuity in my life.


      jorobinson176 responded:
      May 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      I’m with you – everyone seems to know what to tell you to do, and often these “rules” are supposed to be written in stone too – boring! Some of us have way to many thoughts coming in at the same time, and writing is the only medicine for me when that happens. Starting to write was the same for me – if it’s what you were meant to do you really know it. 🙂


        WeaverGrace said:
        May 17, 2014 at 1:33 am

        When I worked as a career counselor, I was partly motivated to stick with it when I heard others tell job hunters to go for the careers that were in the highest demand. I got my people to focus on what they enjoyed, what they chose to do, what made them feel energized.

        Becoming a “writer” took me forever because I love to do everything 🙂 Yet, I was always a “writer”; I just didn’t know it.


    ghostbusterbev said:
    May 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Jo, you gave me my chuckle for the day with your great gift of humour!


    Jim Hilton said:
    May 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    You sound like an interesting person. Wanna start meeting for coffee, every day for 20 years or so? Just kidding a little – I’m not really a stalker 🙂


      jorobinson176 responded:
      May 27, 2014 at 10:37 am

      LOLOLOL! That’s a deal Jim – see you every twenty years for sure! 😀


        Jim Hilton said:
        May 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

        At La Samaritaine bistro, in Paris 🙂


          jorobinson176 responded:
          May 27, 2014 at 11:16 am

          Now that would really be lovely – send over the plane James! 🙂


    Jean Reinhardt said:
    May 29, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Jo, I have just read my life story in your post. I had to laugh at the bit about writers knowing all sort of strange and wonderful bits of information. That’s me, and one of my children is just the same. I left it till I was in my mid fifties to write my first book, I hope he doesn’t wait that long. I’m sending him this link to read.


      jorobinson176 responded:
      May 31, 2014 at 8:45 am

      The wonderful thing about writers who start when they’re a bit older, is that they have so much stashed between their ears by that time, they generally have to write like crazy to get all the stories out. I hope your son gets started sooner too – just imagine what you can scribble in a whole lifetime! 🙂 X


    Jean Reinhardt said:
    May 29, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Reblogged this on The Writers' Workshop Blog and commented:
    I just know that I’m not the only one reading this brilliant post by Jo Robinson identifying with so much of what she says. Most writers will see themselves in it. I always felt a bit different or out of kilter with everyone around me when I was younger. I thought it was because I liked to read so much but now I realize that it wasn’t the reading but more what my head was doing with it that affected me.


      jorobinson176 responded:
      May 31, 2014 at 8:36 am

      Thank you for sharing Jean! Finding out you’re actually from planet scribbler is wonderful, because you realise that you are totally normal, and indeed a splendid example of your species. 😉 X


    jjspina said:
    July 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Such a fun and clever blog! Love the pictures too. You are an extraordinary writer, Jo! I always enjoy your work! Xo


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