Writer’s quirks and things not to do to a writer.

There are things that writers do that some people find baffling. There are other things, lets call these ones rules for things you should not do to a writer.

Don’t touch my…(add writing device here!)

There are things that you should not touch, a writer’s pen, laptop and journals being some of these.

  1. My pen. Yes, it does have magical properties and yes again if you touch it someone will be going to the emergency room, and it’s not me.
  2. My laptop. Yes, I am using it to write while I sit in the corner of the lunchroom. I am not using it to -Send Email, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare or any other Social Network. That is what my Smartphone is for.
  3. My journal. Unless I have given you permission to touch this, which doesn’t happen unless you are – A. Spouse of the writer. B. Their Editor. or C. A Beta-Reader. If you are none of the above you will end up in the emergency room like the offender of the pen.

Don’t eat, drink my inspiration.

We hide junk food, liquor, sodas in places only we know about, or at least we hope no one knows about.

  1. Food. I love chocolate covered pretzels. To the point of it being somewhat unhealthy. My wife and son know that if they find a bag of these lying around they should check to make sure they’re not mine. Every writer has a stash of some kind. Whether it is cookies, chocolates, cake or chocolate covered pretzels.
  2. Liquor. This follows that cliché that all writers are alcoholics and drink more than anyone else. If you see a bottle of scotch lying around anywhere near a writer’s desk, it best not to touch it or you may end up like those who touched the journal and the pen.
  3. Drinks (Non-Alcoholic). When I was growing up we had one rule in the house. Don’t drink the last coke, it’s dad’s. Breaking this rule may cause traumatic consequences that may cause you to hate coke, pepsi or fertilizer for long periods of time.

Don’t say, “oh you’re just a writer that’s not a real job!”

Those of us who write in their free time in the hope that one day we will be published, work hard at what we do. We don’t need someone to doubt why we’re writing, we do that enough already.

  1. Don’t ask about what we’re writing! If we wanted you to know and if you are one of the people listed in the Journal section above, please wait for us to give you the okay to tell everyone what we are writing.
  2. Never tell us we’re lazy when we’re spacing out. We are not spacing out, we are thinking about the dialogue or scene we wrote earlier and trying to make sense of it.
  3. Don’t judge us for doing something you can’t. In life there are people that go after their dreams and there are people who think about what they want to do and are afraid to act for fear of being called any of the above. A writer is hard enough on themselves, they don’t need someone else telling us we should be doing something else.

Never bother a writer when they are working unless the house/building is on fire.

  1. We stop writing! It is not because we are done, we’re never done. We are merely contemplating the demise of a character or a big plot piece. Interrupting a writer in mid stream is like talking to a golfer in their back swing. The golfer may throw their club at you. We may throw an entire computer tower.
  2. We look like we are talking to someone that is not there.  We are, our characters! We are trying to run the dialogue or scene through our heads and make sure it makes sense.
  3. We look like we are going to cry. We have either killed a character that we really liked or we are stuck and want to scream, but can’t.

These are the ones I have come up with. I’m sure there are more. Please leave suggestions in the comments section.

I hope you enjoyed this list and will follow it when you meet a writer and decide not to borrow their pen.


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9 Responses to Writer’s quirks and things not to do to a writer.

  1. Great article! Had some points I hadn’t previously thought on, but that made me laugh out loud (in a good way) when i read them.

    Respectfully, I wish to disagree on one point though

    By all means, ask me what I’m writing.

    * It shows interest in me and my obsession, which is polite;
    * If I’m not ready to share yet, I’ll snarl dramatically, which adds a bit of color to the day;
    * If I am ready to share, talking/explaining things can give me new insight into my story or article;
    * If you don’t get it, that shows me I need a re-write;
    * And talking about it to as many folks as possible not only increases the internal pressure to actually finish the work, but also might help me build a platform of people who might want to buy it when it’s done (It did for my first book, and looks like it’s headed that way with the second)

    Different strokes for different folks. But that’s one point where I see some value on the other side of the fence.

    Happy writing
    Catherine Kane
    author of “Adventures in Palmistry”

    • BB_Baker says:

      Every time I tell someone about my current WiP it throws me off my game. I’m not sure why, but explaining the story and letting someone know what I am writing always throws me off. I do understand the getting feedback though. Feedback on what you’re writing is always good, regardless of whether it is negative feedback or not. Every little bit of feedback on a story helps with the story. A snarky response can add color to your day. Especially if you are not ready to share. It lets them know you’re not ready. Thanks for your comments.

      • Different strokes for different folks. It’s good that you know what works for you and what doesn’t.

        I don’t always want to stop actually writing to talk about what I’m writing; but, on beyond feedback (which is often, but not always, helpful), I sometimes find that the act of talking about what I’m writing actually reveals new aspects of it to me that I hadn’t thought of initially, and that’s helpful.

        Sometimes I need feedback, but sometimes I just need a sounding board to bounce my thoughts off of. Sounds a bit narcissistic, but actually works.

        My husband, while not a writer, is very good at both of these roles 🙂

        Catherine Kane

      • BB_Baker says:

        My wife works in an industry where she edits grammar, punctuation and sentence structure and I use her a lot for that! Thanks for your comment.

  2. Also don’t say, when asked to read part of writers writing – “I’ll read it when you get it published.” – especially when all you want is an opinion. I like this post, I have felt each one of these – except the keep the hands off my chocolate. No one seems to take me seriously with this request. Nice work and thanks.

    • BB_Baker says:

      Oooh, I forgot about that one. I have a friend that already has three books published and another coming in March and she keeps her stash in the top drawer of her writing desk, easy access. Thanks again for your comments.

  3. This is brilliant! I think everyone in my house has broken these rules at some point.

    • BB_Baker says:

      They used to break these rules at home. I worry about the people at my day job, they always want to borrow my fancy pens or use my laptop, not to mention the chocolate covered pretzels I have stashed in my bag. Thanks for your comments.

  4. You’re welcome.

    A good sounding board is a jewel above price, and being married to one is a blessing indeed

    Catherine Kane

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