Your Guide to the Writer ;-)

So you’ve decided to adopt a writer. Congratulations! Many people are a little afraid of writers; after all, writers can be a bit eccentric. But the fact is, most writers are friendly and kind. And writers can make great companions. They’ll add adventure to your life, and they have an awful lot of knowledge about lots of different topics. If you ever need to know how long digitalis stays in the body, or what the climate in just about any city is like, all you need to do is ask your new writer companion.

Adopting a writer is rewarding in many ways, but it’s a big responsibility. So, you’ll need to be prepared for what to expect when your writer joins your family. But don’t worry; you don’t have to go it alone. I’m here to help you with

 

Your Guide to the Writer

 

Before You Bring Your Writer Home

Planning ahead of time will save you a lot of work when your writer joins your family. The less you have to do once your writer arrives, the less anxious everyone will be. Here are a few things you’ll need.

  • Writers often don’t feel safe out in public, so you’ll need to provide a special place for your writer. That space should have a computer; a desk and comfortable chair; and a couch, day bed or some other place for occasional naps. Expect your writer to spend quite a bit of time in that safe place.
  • WiFi is an essential for writers. Without it, your writer might become depressed, anxious, and unwilling to communicate. Writers have even been known to throw things when they are having WiFi withdrawal. In order to prevent these problems, it’s highly recommended that you ensure that you have a solid WiFi connection, and that it is as stable as possible.
  • You do not need to provide a large wardrobe for your writer. Bathrobes, yoga pants, sweatshirts, T-shirts, and track pants will be all your writer really needs. Most writers won’t pay much attention to what they’re wearing when they work, anyway.

 

Feeding Your Writer

You’ll need to provide meals and snacks for your writer, of course. And it’s a good idea to know what writers tend to eat, so that you can be prepared. It’s really not difficult.

  • Writers don’t require a complicated diet. As long as your writer has a steady supply of pizza, Chinese food, Indian takeaway, or sandwiches, that should be sufficient. It’s a good idea to keep several delivery menus handy.
  • If you decide to cook at home, be sure your meals don’t require delicate timing. Your writer may not be willing to leave that special place (see above) just when dinner is ready, especially in the middle of writing of an important scene.
  • Writers like treats, just as we all do. So you’ll need a supply of trail mix, chocolate bars, Cadbury Clinkers, Hot Cheetos, or whatever snack your writer prefers. Different writers have different preferences, so find out what your writer likes. Treats may be used as snacks or as training tools (see below).

 

Communicating With Your Writer

You and your writer will have a much better relationship if you understand the way writers communicate. Once you know that, it’s much easier to respond. So pay attention when your writer is sending you a message.

  • Writers are not comfortable with ungrammatical words and sentences. They tend to react negatively and will probably correct you. Don’t let that get to you. Learn the difference between your and you’re. Learn how to use their, they’re, and there. And don’t forget to, two, and too. There are many online resources to help you master these things. Trust me, your writer will be much happier, and is less likely to nag you.
  • You may find that your writer stares blankly into space when you’re trying to have a conversation. There’s no need to worry about this. Your writer is likely plotting a scene from a story, or wondering whether a push from a fourth-floor balcony is enough to kill someone – fictionally, of course!
  • You’ll find that you have the best conversations with your writer when you discuss people and events that don’t even exist. That’s right; writers think a lot about their creations, and those fictional characters can seem more real than living people do. So when your writer starts talking about fictional people, respond with interest. Those characters are quite real to your writer.
  • If your new writer is a crime writer, don’t be put off by conversations about dead bodies, knives, decomposition, or poison. You’re probably not in danger yourself. Probably.

 

Training Your Writer

Like the rest of us, writers need self-discipline. You’ll want to be aware of some of the common issues that arise with writers, so you can prevent them from being problems.

  • Writers can get off track, especially since the Internet is as distracting as it is essential. So, every couple of hours, go to your writer’s safe place to make sure that your writer is actually, well, writing.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of rewards and treats. When the word count’s done for the day, give your writer a piece of chocolate, a bag of Doritos, or whatever your writer really loves. Wine, margaritas, tequila, or beer can also be useful as treats.
  • Make sure your writer gets enough exercise. Walk your writer regularly to the nearest coffee shop. Be sure that your writer’s special place is not near the kitchen. That way, your writer will have to get up and walk to the kitchen. Little things like these will help your writer keep in shape.

 

You see? Adopting a writer is an important decision and a major responsibility. But it’s fun, rewarding, and doesn’t have to be difficult. You’re welcome.

 

Fellow writers, any suggestions to add?

 

 

 

 


26 thoughts on “Your Guide to the Writer ;-)

    1. Yes, of course, Cat! Animals! Writers need confidants; dogs, cats, guinea pigs and ferrets can keep secrets. And they’re a lot of fun, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yet another benefit of animals, Cat! I know my dogs are not shy at all when they’re ready to go out. It’s good for me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that perk, too, Rachel! That and the dress code… 😉 I’ve had fictional vengeance on people, myself. It’s cathartic, isn’t it? Glad you like the mug. That’s my official morning coffee mug.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well done Margot. Very clever.

    I have learned writers are special people. If I may, I have suggestions on a delicate matter for those adopting a writer.

    Do your best to screen reviews before your writer can find them. Be aware of the mood swings of Writer Review Syndrome.

    You need to caution your writer not to take negative reviews personally. Despite what I understand is a widespread belief in the writing world reviewers are not out to gut writers. Be ready to reassure your writer that the blood, sweat and tears they put into their work are not diminished by a bad review.

    At the same time be alert to giddy reactions to a positive review. While appreciating with your writer a review praising the writer as a literary marvel, it is a good idea to remind your writer the review may not make their masterpiece a best seller.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bill. I’m really glad you enjoyed the post.

      And thank you for your suggestion about reviews. Writer Review Syndrome can be a very difficult challenge for anyone who adopts a writer. On the one hand, as you say, writers can be devastated by a bad review. And they do tend to take reviews quite personally. On the other, a good review can prompt a manic reaction, which in the long run isn’t a healthy approach to writing. Now, some people believe in hiding reviews from their writer. The problem with this approach is that it may leave the writer terribly upset (e.g. ‘Why isn’t anyone reviewing my book?’). So it’s best to provide the writer with a carefully curated set of reviews that are positive enough to keep the writer going, and that motivate the writer to keep going. As you say, it’s all very delicate, but it’s an important part of adopting a writer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha, all very sound advice! May I suggest also that someone adopting a writer for the first time makes sure that all poisons and knives are securely locked away, in case of accidents while the writer is absentmindedly working out a tricky plot point?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha!!! Yes, that would be a very good idea, FictionFan. Most writers are very nice people who would never do such a thing intentionally. But writers do get distracted and deeply involved in their work. You never do know what may happen…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Fabulous advice. I’ve adopted me in lockdown. Now I know what to look out for and what to avoid. Me and I should survive with such sound advice. I will try to put it into practice right away. Eternally grateful.

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    1. So glad you found this useful, Jane. I’m very happy you’ve adopted you, and I wish you many good years together. Happy to hear that you found these tips helpful!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahahahaha. All excellent points, Margot! I especially loved “You’re probably not in danger yourself. Probably.” *snort*

    Okay, I’ll play: If your writer wears headphones, please do NOT wave your arms to get her attention for “one quick sec.” Breaking a writer’s concentration could result in bodily injury. Better to stay away till your writer emerges from her cave.

    One last tip: At some point you may hear your writer complain that she’s lost her writing mojo. Translation: she’ll never be able to top her last book. Try to remain supportive. Spilling a little emotional blood is part of the writing process, and will pass as the WIP progresses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you liked these ideas, Sue. I have to admit, I had fun putting them together!

      Your own suggestions are excellent. Little is more annoying to a writer than to have to break concentration right in the middle of the key scene. Headphones = ‘Leave. Me. Alone.’ No jury would convict a writer of assault and battery or GBH with that as a mitigating circumstance! And you’re so right about the ups and downs of writing. It is an emotional roller coaster, and that can be hard to accept when you’ve just adopted a writer. It gets easier as one gets accustomed to it, and yes, being supportive is essential.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. You forgot one little thing. I mean, computers are all well and good, but we still need paper (preferably college ruled) and pens or pencils–everybody’s got their own favorite…and of course, typing or printer paper and crayons, maybe coloring books, when you suddenly realize YOU’RE the one who wrote that garbage!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, Kelle! The I Wrote That Garbage syndrome! Crayon therapy can certainly help with that. And there are lots of great versions out there, so it’s easy to find one that fits any given writer. You make a good point about paper and pens/pencils. A lot of writers do like to brainstorm that way, and I even know some writers who write complete stories in longhand before putting them into the computer. Writing supplies should definitely be on the list for anyone planning to adopt a writer.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah yes, Margot. Fortunately I was married to a writer, so staring into space at the dinner table was par for the course and Peter got used to questions like, ‘If you wanted to dispose of a body . . .’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! I think you and Peter were very fortunate to both have writers as companions, Christine. There’s so much that another writer just… groks. And I can well imagine your conversations about dead bodies, poisons, and all sorts of other interesting topics…

      Liked by 1 person

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