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Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Proper Care and Feeding of a Writer: Some of the Basics


Caution: you might have one of these strange creatures living in your house. But wait! Before you grab your bug spray, consider the following. Do you know somebody who intentionally writes in the morning, writes in the afternoon, writes in the evening, writes when everybody else is asleep, writes during lunch breaks, or builds a time machine to have more writing time? If you answered yes to one or more of these, this strange organism is a writer.

Tip: Sometimes it's impossible to
tell whether this is a writer on a
good day or a bad one.
You may find these odd creatures flocking like pigeons to coffee shops or curled up in a dark corner like a recluse, weaving a plot or two. No two writers are alike. Sometimes they say peculiar things when they finally defeat writers block. Or maybe they collect silly phrases, like what just came out of your mouth (beware: writers will collect such things).
 
If you happen to have a writer friend, here are some things you might want to keep in mind:
 

Yes, writers may be weird, but that’s okay.

If you had the read the same story over and over and over, and it changed with each reading, you might go crazy too! Many writers will even do strange things in the name of research (skydiving, self-defense classes, climbing through windows, staring out the window, etc…). Just let them be. Unless, of course, they’re doing something illegal or something that might cause self-harm.
 

Writers are readers too.

That means they also have feelings. So before you completely butcher a writer’s story or attack a writer for killing off your favorite character, remember they’ve read their share of heartbreaking books. Besides, if you and the writer wanted a “happily ever after” ending, you both would have picked a different genre. Right?
 

Writers are hoarders.

They will collect everything you say. Everything you don’t say. Everything you do. Everything you don’t do. So stop avoiding the inevitable. Just be yourself. A writer’s best work comes from copying real life not playacting.

Tip: Cats aren’t the only ones plotting
world domination. Shhh, it’s a secret!

Writers blame things on their characters.

This is perfectly normal. You can blame things on the writer of his/her subconscious all you want. But don’t try to break writers’ abilities to give their characters realistic attributes. Sometimes this means writers allow their characters to make their own choices. Don’t try to debate it!
 

Sometimes writers need people to or talk at.

If a writer asks to discuss a plot point or character with you, this is great! Some days writers want feedback. Other days they just need to voice their story problems aloud. Even if their ramblings don’t make any sense to you, merely bouncing ideas off you can help them. If you’re not sure whether your writer friends want to talk with or at you, just ask. Writers spend a lot of time inside their own heads, so talking aloud can help them gain a new perspective.

Every writer is different.

There is no one-technique fits all. One writer may like coffee (like me!) while another might like tea (*cough* Faith *cough*). Some writers may find motivation in chocolate, and others may prefer sauerkraut. Hey, it’s possible! Get to know your writer friends. Ask them questions. And stick around for “The Proper Care and Feeding of a Writer: Part 2” coming next month for what not to ask!

Writers, do any of these points describe you? What would you add to this list?
Readers, how crazy do writers really seem? Or is this craziness news to you?

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