It’s got to be challenging, sometimes. And most likely no one warned them it was going to be. Writers should come with warning labels.
If you’re thinking about living with a writer, here are eight things you need to know:
1. Want to stick to your budget? Stay away from office supply stores. They’re irresistible to writers. You might think you’re going in there for printer ink, but then you’ll come out with Sharpies, Post-Its, notebooks in all sizes….just a heads-up. Leave your writing friend/spouse at home.
2. We may make many inconsistent statements about our manuscript. We love our book! We hate our book! Yes, it’s the same book. We might even say these things on the same afternoon. The love/hate thing just goes in cycles.
3. If you treasure your time sleeping, hopefully you’re a heavy sleeper. Writers are frequently either up really early in the morning or up really late at night. Sometimes we get ideas in the middle of the night and turn on lights to scribble them down before they disappear. We can be obnoxious to sleep with.
4. Moodiness is an occupational hazard for writers. Nuff said.
5. It’s possible that we might talk to ourselves if we’re working out a plot point or testing out a little dialogue. Please don’t schedule a mental health evaluation for us. It’s all perfectly normal (usually.)
6. Many writers need a special reward to slog through to our daily word goal. It might be some amazing coffee, a bar of gourmet chocolate, or an incredible wine. Don’t raid our stash!
7. Daydreaming and writers go together. Unfortunately, our daydreaming might occasionally coincide with a moment when you’re trying to hold a conversation with us. We really don’t have a lot of control over when characters and plot ideas pop into our heads (and these ideas come all the time.)
8. We can’t be persuaded not to write. Yes, you’re right—our lives would be a lot less stressful if we weren’t unhappily getting rejections from agents, editors, or reviewers…we know that. But it’s sure as heck not going to make us feel better to stop writing altogether just to protect ourselves from these situations.
Do you live with a writer? Are you a writer? What other warnings can you think of for non-writers to be aware of?
Elizabeth - I need to print this out and post it! I love this. Here's one thing my husband has learned about living with a writer:
Be prepared for animated discussions about people and events that don't actually exist. To us, those are very real people and happenings, and we get interested in them. Yes, we know they're not actually real, but they might as well be...
I love #5 and #7. Lucky for me, my husband has similar maladies with his own work. Conversations around here are interesting - especially when of us is talking to ourselves and the other is daydreaming. ;o)
I definitely need to pass this post onto my hubby. He just doesn't understand sometimes, although he often tries really, really hard to understand me!
Not sure if these are by priority, but if they are, I'd move #7 up. I daydream all the time and it leads to missed conversations and occasional post-conversation anger. Caveat: explaining that "I was thinking about my novel" does not cut the mustard with even the most supportive spouse when it comes after an angry tirade by said spouse.
I love this list! My other half would agree with every single one of these!
Luckily for me, when I start randomly talking about plots and characters he jumps right in. Of course, then he usual causes major detours in my work but it's worth it!
Wonderful post today. Love it !
Margot--Oh, I'm not about to tell Lulu, Myrtle, and Beatrice that they don't exist! I think I'd be the next murder victim in my series...
B.E. Sanderson--So he won't even notice if you seem a little off! That's a good thing!
Janel--I'm honestly thinking that they really *can't* understand us. But I guess we can give them points for trying. :)
Matt--Ha! No, I guess we should try to rememeber NOT to daydream during a tirade. But it sure is tempting!
Sarah--So he's a writer wanna-be! Oh, they can be dangerous! At least he has *good* ideas. :) I've heard some really rotten ideas (not so much from my husband, but from well-meaning friends....)
These are great, Elizabeth! Since I was involved in theatre for many years, my family was used to peculiar behaviour. There's not that much difference between being an actor and being a writer!
9. listen well to the introduction to a question "I'm doing research" means "I'm doing research for my story", don't panic when we start talking about the best way to commit suicide or to kill someone. It's just for the story...
(aka, I love having discussions when my SO forgets to listen to the first words and starts getting worried ;) )
*giggles* This was great, Elizabeth--so true. I'm sure had I been writing when HWMNBMOTI and I got together, it might not have gone the way it did.
Love this list! Now to get my husband to read it so he'll understand it's not just me!!
Another must add -- Don't expect the house to be cleaned or proper food cooked when the muse is calling on high!
I was guilty of #7 before I even began writing!
Great post, Elizabeth. I recently published my fifth non-fiction book and have said: 'That's it. No more books.' So the next thing you need to know is that writing is an addiction. We can't not do it!
We may also beg and plead that you read our work and tell us it's brilliant when we really want gentle honesty.
This would be hilarious if it weren't spot on true. Oh my dear. Office supply stores - just love them.
Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Especially number three.
Thanks for the list. I'll share it with my family. They still won't understand -- but at least they will know that others are afflicted by my malady.
So true! I can't go into an office supply store without spending a fortune. There are times when my husband rolls his eyes and just says "writers" and ignores me. He knows how it is, LOL.
Elspeth--Good point! You were smart to get them all acclimated to odd behavior. Ha!
KiaZiShiru--Exactly! I think we scare them sometimes. If my husband gets on my computer and checks the cookies in my internet browser, he'll see a whole bunch of murder-related sites. I don't *think* that worries him, but he might be sleeping with one eye open!
Hart--It might have been a strike against you!
SP Sipal--Oh, the nights when we have grilled cheese sandwiches and canned tomato soup for supper? Ha! I've SO been there.
Alex--Ha! Me too. Maybe that's an early sign of a writer in training?
Kate--Very good point! We *can't* stop.
Diane--Yes! We know our writing isn't Shakespeare, but I love constructive criticism given with love. :)
Karen--I think my office supply store shopping rights have been revoked!
Newbie Author--I think they'll probably *never* understand, but they'll know you're not alone! :)
Janice--Ha! At least he's gotten used to it. :)
Fabulous post Elizabeth! I completely agree. My hubby absolutely HATES going to an office supply store with me :)
Jemi--Ha! It's like the Bermuda Triangle for writers. We go in there...we just don't come back out. :)
I LOVE this post. Guilty on all eight counts.
I'm printing this out for my husband. ;)
Mallory--He'll probably be relieved that you're not the only writer who does these things!
We may say we hate our book, but so help you GOD if you do.
Elizabeth, these are RIGHT ON TARGET! Oh, how funny. I feel bad for my husband because when my mind is full of ideas, I'm jumping up from bed all the time. Thanks for the laughs!
Well, just take away the mystery why dontcha? LOL Now he knows why I act so crazy. I love the turns lights on at inopportune times, very true. But he is a heavy sleeper. haha!
Too funny! And all too true! Thanks for the laugh. :-)
You should've capitalized the second "not" in number: "Writers can not be bribed not to write." True dat.
And the moodiness thing, too, capitalize that while your at it. ;-)
Lillian Curkley--So true! I never hate mine for more than a couple of hours at the most before I just sigh and say, "Well, better start fixing it..." Because we're the ones who messed it up!
Julie--That's the way I am, too. I think I drive my husband batty. There are times when I can't find the reading light and I knock everything off my bedside table. Good times! :)
jesswords10--He's lucky that he is!
Rhonda--Thanks for coming by. :)
Demian--We are moody and unbribable! Ha!
So many true things! I need a copy of this to nail to my writing station wall.
Also to put on my fridge.
And possibly to tack to my front door.
Thanks for a great post!
Jess Witkins sent me to your blog, and I'm now a subscriber after reading this post. :)
I'm emailing this list to my hubby...now, he'll understand my psychotic behavior.
and I like the 4th, 5th and 7th tips too much :) .
Thank you to post.
Wow, there's so much worthwhile information here!
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