Writers are weird.
Trust me, that is just a fact. So I’ve decided to share some weird and wonderful truths about most writers.
For the writers who follow/watch/stalk this blog… do you agree with these?
Writers have bad memories, and by that I mean we won’t remember birthdays, anniversaries, doctor appointments and when the car needs to be taxed.
We have to write that shit down in a diary or on a calendar… and sometimes we forget to check the diary and then (if you’re lucky) we will send you a very belated birthday card… maybe.
Unless it means leaving the house… then just no.
Writers also have great memories… for things that aren’t important to anyone else. Firstly, we have hundreds of people in our heads, as well as the worlds we build.
Then if we have been researching, such as the hierarchy of feudal life and the inner architecture of Medieval castles we will remember that shit.
And we are proud of knowing it and we try and bring it up in conversation because we’re excited about knowing it. Yes, we are like children who learnt some random fact and can’t wait to tell people.
We don’t eat.
When writers are in ‘the zone’, food is the last thing on our minds. If we’re lucky we brought something horrendously unhealthy into our writing room, like a packet of cookies, crisps, sweets… otherwise we just ignore any muttered stomach rumbling and charge ahead.
When we HAVE to eat, it’s usually something that literally just takes the edge off – like toast or maybe more cookies… or something that we can heat in the microwave or just by pouring hot water on it.
In regards to the point above, the way we get through not eating is with beverages… and not the healthy option (like water) beverages that keep us hydrated and fresh.
Nope, we aim for the caffeine-filled, sugar-ladened drinks.
So coffee, tea (that’s my choice because coffee is yukky), energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster… Not only does all this liquid convince our stomachs that we’re full… it also keeps our brains active enough to write on and on.
Yes, writers are easily the slovens of the art world. We shun “normal” clothes and instead spend all (or most) of our times in the comfies.
These are PJs, yoga pants, fuzzy jumpers 3 sizes too large, baggy t-shirts, sweatpants, hoodies… (and yes, I AM writing this at 7:30pm wearing my fuzzy PJs).
But in fairness to writers everywhere, we sit on our butts and bleed until the story unravels. I think that entitles us to some damn comfort! :p
To add to this questionable appearance point, we are also not big on spending time on grooming.
So hair is often tied back without seeing a brush, showering becomes an inconvenience put off until the last minute and anything more such as slapping on creams and make-up… forget it.
The artistic temperament runs pretty high in writers. We live so many lives with our characters it’s no surprise that we ride the crazy emotional rollercoaster like it’s coming off the damn tracks.
We will get highly invested… and not just in what is going on in our stories but in other things too.
Like movies and TV programmes and even computer games. Our emotions run hot and cold and right on the surface.
That means we can be weepy, subdued or homicidal all within a few hours. (Makes you appreciate the poor sods who chose to spend their lives with us)
Life becomes an inconvenience
Everything from going to work, going to the shops, going to the mechanic or the dentist or the post office become a huge inconvenience.
In fact, answering the door or the telephone is something we avoid if possible (especially since we’re usually in our PJs remember!) and we really have to be in the right mood to be social.
The problem is that when we feel social, we agree to plans that are in the future then when those days come we are mostly back to feeling anti-social and hateful that we now have to spend time with people.
Yes, we are arseholes and we will bail on plans. The trick is to remember that these social moments don’t last and unless plans are made for things to happen IN those moments…we will regret making those plans in the future.
Whether it is people-watching in the cafe (on one of those social occasions we cornered ourselves into) or listening in to a conversation while on the bus, writers are snoops.
Since we glean ideas all over the place, we are naturally attuned to picking up on the world around us (unless we’re in the writing zone…then the world could be ending and we wouldn’t notice!).
So every possible snippet of conversation or idiosyncrasy a person reveals could wind up in a novel.
We are not generous with our time, in fact, we positively avoid offering our time to people. “You’re moving house and need some help? Sorry, I can’t, I have the pope visiting that day.”
Yes, we are all liars. Although the more hardened a writer the lies stop and you just say things like “Help you move? Nah, I don’t want to put on pants today.”
If you’re lucky you will have friends who understand your quirky and annoying ways.
We are sometimes rude… by that, I mean that in the middle of a conversation we may suddenly “shush” the person talking and scrabble for a pen because an idea just hit us and if we don’t get it down it will move on to the next writer.
It’s not that we want to be rude we are just aware of how fragile an idea can be when it lands.
Many is the time I have rushed into the house and shushed my partner who was kindly asking about my day only to spend 20 minutes typing furiously to get a scene down that attacked me during the drive home.
A Skewed View
We don’t see the world like everyone else. To writers, the world is full of ideas and plot lines and places to hide bodies.
We live the lives of lords and kings, murderers and thieves, heroes and heroines, pirates and wizards.
So we see through the eyes of a thousand different people and we don’t always get the more “normal” things that people talk about or are affected by.
Sometimes we say things that make people look at us funny, sometimes we react to something different because we see it in the way of a story.
To those who dare enter our Fortress of Awesome Writing-ness, they are confronted with The Paper Farm.
Piles of notes, scenes, character profiles are strewn around (unless you are one of those writers who has managed to corral the Paper Farm).
Instead, there are piles of paper, seemingly at random but our craziness understands the order within the chaos and woe betide anyone foolish enough to move even the smallest slip!
We will sometimes carry on random imaginary conversations while we try and discuss (with ourselves) the issue we have come across in our writing.
Unfortunately, this quirk can sometimes follow us into our “normal” lives and we may find the odd looks from people who catch us chatting to no-one as we wander to the post office.
Repressed Homicidal Manics
For every writer that had to deal with a critic – whether it was a family member, friend, beta reader, reviewer, publisher…
There is that part, no matter how “open-minded” you are to their (constructive) criticism that makes you feel the red mist descending when they say something critical about your story or your characters.
Mainly if it’s about a part you love or a character you adore. Be thankful that while we are a little crazy and psychotic, we also have great control… it’s the PJs that do it, they keep us calm(ish).
So, does any of this ring a bell? Or am I alone in my quirks?