Do you think us writers are just a little bit weird? You wouldn’t be the first. We spend hours behind a keyboard figuring out how best to torture dozens of people who don’t actually exist. It’s no wonder that many writers turn to alcohol to cope with the horrors they’ve put on the page.
But don’t worry about me, alcohol is not my problem. Like many sober authors, I’m addicted to story. And there’s no denying that God made me this way. So here are some helpful hints for dealing with the writers that you know or happen to meet on the street.
Helpful hint #1: Watch what you tell a writer, because everything is fair game for a book. But no worries, we usually change the names to protect those who gossip.
Helpful hint #2: Keep a list of all the weird/somewhat insightful phrases your writer friend says, and you just might have the beginnings of a T-shirt business.
Helpful hint #3: This hint is in case of an emergency. When a writer is going over the edge into a downward spiral of insecurity, do not bring up the good books you’ve read this week. We are in a constant sword battle with the green monster of envy. But do feel free to bring chocolate or strong coffee.
Helpful hint #4: Specifically for fiction writers, do not assume everything we’ve ever written is autobiographical. We’re in the business of making fun/scary things up, but in reality we sit at the computer most of the time. I’ve never watched someone die in a gold mining accident (Crevice) or been lost in the dense jungle (Created)—thankfully. I’m glad I don’t have to experience the entire range of emotion that I put my characters through in order to write about them. Otherwise, I’d be just like the characters in Scooby-Doo, wondering why everywhere I go there seems to be a new villain.
Helpful hint #5: Don’t ask to see what I’ve just written. It won’t be good. You’ll have to lie to keep from seeing my I’m-a-complete-failure face. No matter how much I might beg you to read it, say no way. Give me sixteen revisions, and then we’re good to go.
Helpful hint #6: The writer will not usually know where their keys are or what day the Visa bill is due. Please understand, we try to keep our brains down here on earth, but it’s so hard to fight off the temptation to play in our heads. Please just let us play for a while.
I hope these hints will help you when dealing with any writer (and a writer is someone who writes, not necessarily someone who is published). But when all else fails, just remember that God wired the writer’s brain differently—there’s no changing what He put into place.
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