Terrible Tip Tuesday: Advice for a Writer’s Loved Ones


April 9, 2013 by Kira Lyn Blue

So, your spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend has decided to be a writer? Congratulations and welcome to Hell, <cough> I mean… the glorious opportunity to love and support a creative genius while they work to achieve their dreams of seeing a book in print. You are a lucky man/woman, because not everyone is afforded a chance to live with one of these mercurial, er… whimsical creatures.

6 Things You Should Know about Your Writer:

1) Writers are Territorial– Do not invade the writer’s space while they are working. Doing so can invite bodily harm. Threat index will be significantly elevated if they’re in the middle of revisions or struggling with a certain scene. 

2) Bring Offerings– If you must invade your space writer’s space, bring a fresh cup of coffee or a snack. Such concern for their well-being will remind the writer that you’re there for support and they can’t lob pens at your head if their hands are busy accepting your generous gift.

3) Avoid the Zone-Out– Just because the writer is not typing does not mean the writer is safe to approach. Spending long periods of time staring at a blinking cursor is normal behavior and indicates the writer is deep in thought. Threat index will vary depending on how good of a writing day the writer is having, so best not to risk interruption. Unless you bring offerings.

From cafepress.com.

4) When Asked to Review Your Writer’s Work: Run: This is a trap. There is no way you can win. If you tell your writer it’s fantastically perfect, they will believe you’re merely telling them what they want to hear, not being honest. If you provide honest critique, you will upset your writer with the truth. Either action on your part may result with you being written in as a villain in their story, being treated to weeks of silent treatment coupled with looks of loathing, and being exiled to sleep on the couch.

5) Keep a Spray Bottle Handy– Writers can be distractible and end up Facebooking, looking at funny cat pictures on the interwebs, or answering emails when they’re supposed to be writing. Should you catch your writer exhibiting this behavior, give them a squirt. This negative reinforcement should be as effective for your writer as it is at keeping cats off counters. See also: Body Armor.

6) Prepare to be Ignored– It’s not your imagination, your writer is not paying attention to anything you say. Writers will drift off in the middle of conversations having thought of something to do with their book and you cannot bring them back. They are literally in their own little world. Advice: quietly wander off. Your writer will return to planet Earth once they’ve worked through whatever thought they had and then feel really crappy for ignoring you. You might even get an apology, after they’ve told you all about their fabulous new idea.


20 thoughts on “Terrible Tip Tuesday: Advice for a Writer’s Loved Ones

  1. Very funny because it is all so very true.

  2. K. Jean King says:

    I am going to print out “I may not look busy but…I’m plotting” and making a lanyard for it so I may hang it around my neck. Then perhaps I will stopped being asked, “Oh my god – what ARE you thinking about?”

  3. tracycembor says:

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and YES!!! How did you know? Have you been spying on me?

    I would also add to the list, don’t ask the Writer if he/she is okay when they have a strange look on their face. They are obviously thinking about something extremely writerly and should not be disturbed… or they are having an acute case of appendicitis.

    • The ninja squirrels are everywhere, that’s how I know. And as an addendum to your addendum: you probably really don’t want to know what the writer was thinking anyway. They might even try to drag you into a two hour discussion of a 5 minute scene. (So guilty of this :))

  4. Also? I’d say: “Do not ask how it’s going unless your author is very clearly in an excellent mood and is far away from their writing space/utensils. Otherwise, it is, inevitably, just because the universe knew you were going to ask, probably going spectacularly badly and your beloved writer is frustrated and does not want to have to admit out loud or have such a public reminder of the fact that, in fact, their writing goal for the day/week/month/year/project/lifetime/etc. is now seemingly impossible. Even offerings may not save you at that point. Just be still and quiet and maybe they won’t even know you’re there.”

  5. […] Terrible Tip Tuesday: Advice for a Writer’s Loved Ones. […]

  6. berleykerr says:

    It’s funny because it’s true. 😀

  7. Nick says:

    Three is my killer, though it’s even worse when you’re writing and someone asks you something. NOT WHEN I’M IN THE ZONE!!!

    Sometimes I’ll be lost in a story, and if it’s not the cats wanted to make it known how cute they are, it’s my wife pointing out how cute they’re being.

    • God yes! I sit outside to write (much like right now) because my cats can’t get to my keyboard out here. Take that, pushy furballs!

      Non-writers just don’t get the zone 😦

      • Nick says:

        Nice. I actually try to get out to the park near work to write during my lunch break. Something refreshing about writing outdoors.

  8. Reblogged this on Robin Writes and commented:
    Heh. How to live with a writer….

  9. katemsparkes says:

    Brilliant! Posted on my husband’s facebook page. 🙂

    I do wish I had ONE person to blab to about my work, though.

  10. hopecook says:

    Oh. Yes.

  11. My gosh, what a great piece! The truth can always be approached with such clarity in posts like this. Then our loved ones forget and the training (goes both ways, as you know) beings all over again 😉

  12. Elmarie says:

    This was so good! Thank you for making my day. I just have to post a link on my author page so all those around me will understand.

  13. Touch2Touch says:

    Delightful, funny, true.
    Too true.
    Tip for you re: Point 4 — go with the Fantastically Perfect. Every time.
    Trust me.

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