Care and Feeding of Your Local Writer
I keep seeing these posts and lists pop up that spell out jokingly how you should take care of your "Writer". I have all kinds of issues with these things, most of them are tongue in cheek but they make it seem like every writer is an introvert, closeted away somewhere with no social skills.
So, I decided to start my own list.
1. Talk to you writer. Share funny stories and sit down together over dinner or coffee and hash out crazy characters and plot lines. Make it a game. It’s fun for everyone and will get your writer participating in the conversation and not mentally agonizing over their latest plotting issues.
2. Tea, Coffee, and Chocolate is always appreciated. I have a love/hate relationship with caffeine but hot beverages are always a must when you are spending hours working on scenes and the ten minutes breaks to make a new cup are great when your eye sight starts to futz from staring at a page for too long.
3. Gifts of writing supplies are always welcome. Journals, pens, notebooks, office products. (beware the picky lefty writer however, they tend to have very specific needs when it comes to pens and notebooks due to ink smearing issues and a hatred of spiral bound notebooks.)
4. Be careful what you tell a write since everything is fare game for story inspiration. This is both true and not. I know that bits and pieces of myself and everyone I know very well tend to go into my novels but unless you are really looking for it, it’s hard to pin point exact people and scenarios since they get mixed and matched with fiction, TV, music and all the other media and visual inspiration that the writer is exposed to. I have had several people point out characters that they think are named for them or based on them. 99% of the time they are not.
5. Never ask when the book is going to be published or press that the next book MUST come out this year (before you die)… (Yeah, I have relatives saying they will die before they see me at the next holiday or get to read the next book.) Honestly, this stresses me out. Yeah, let me remind YOU of the massive project you have been working on for months that is STILL NOT COMPLETE every single time I see you.
6. Rejection letters can suck, resulting in night spent with alcohol and moody time spent on the couch tucked into the smallest ball possible. Commiserate with your writer. Cuddles are always appreciated and spending time mocking really bad movies can help boost the writers spirits.
7. Dialog sometimes needs to be said out loud. You writer has not lost it or cracked if they start wandering around the house talking to themselves. They are just working through a sticky patch of dialog. It will pass.
8. A writer suddenly having to pull out paper and jot down ideas or bits of dialog from a conversation you are having with them is normal. When inspiration strikes, the writer must write.
9. Sudden changes in conversation are common. A writer’s mind jumps from topic to topic, pursuing the most interesting thought at the time whether it is what the actual conversation was about or not.
10. Writers are human, just like everyone else. When a character dies in a novel they are reading or writing they can be overwhelmed with sadness and grieve the loss of their mental companion. Give them time to recover from the shock.