If you know any writers (which you must if you’re here), you probably already know that they are usually a bit strange. Well, here’s just a few of the reasons why…
When you’re standing in line at the check out counter or sitting in a restaurant and someone inevitably makes a scene because the line doesn’t move or your waiter has disappeared, most people look away and pretend nothing’s happening.
Not writers. We may not outright stare, but we’re listening closely and catching all the glorious details out of the corner of our eye. Why? Because we love to make our characters lose it. Sometimes over completely silly things like bad food or poor service. Sometimes at the end of a long line of
tragedies. Most writers, however, tend to be introverts, and don’t make a lot of big scenes, so we need inspiration for turning our characters into raving lunatics. Just keep that in mind next time you want to lose your cool in public. There are a lot of writers out there. 😉
Ever been stuck in a conversation where the other person just won’t stop talking about the most random things? Most people politely listen trying to come up with a polite excuse to escape. What do writers do? Pull out a pen and start taking notes! We love random facts, fun tidbits of knowledge, and bizarre happenings. Why? Because you never know when a story might call for knowledge that there’s a guy who’s job it is to roam the world weighing a garden gnome to test the effects of gravity at different heights.
People watching is a lost art for most people. It used to be an actual thing back in the day. Now, it’s a trick just to get people to put their phones away long enough to walk from their car to the front door. Writers may be some of the few groups left who still love to people watch. Not that we go around staring at people all day… well, not usually. Why do we watch people, though? It’s not just to see how they talk and interact with people so we can write more realistic characters and scenes. We might be looking for our next over model too! Be sure to pick your outfits for the day with that in mind.
Conversation skills are important, but writers aren’t always the best at this particular talent. We may write great dialog, but we’re also highly distractible when immersed in a project, and half our conversations with real people end up starting with things like… “I need you to read something for me.” or “How hard do you think it is to drag a body in high heels?” or “Which of these sentences sounds better…”
Speaking of conversations… at least half, probably more, of our conversations take places with people who don’t exist. It’s not just working out dialog, either. True, I’ll repeat pieces of dialog out loud, acting out the voices and intonations to see if I’m getting the right effect, but many writers take it beyond that as well. You get to the point where you find yourself consulting your characters, asking things like, “Would you really do that?” or “How could you do something so awful?” If we zone out while talking to you, don’t take it personally. We probably had at least two other conversations going in our head at the same time and forgot which one was taking place in the real world for a second there.
Writers tend to be contradictory by nature. We have this dual concept of ourselves that on one hand we are creative geniuses to some degree, and on the other hand have this crippling fear that we are utter failures. It’s boggling, even for us, but a tough one to shake. Please forgive us when we jump around like crazy to celebrate a great idea or contract, then have to be drug out from behind out desks to face actually letting someone read our work.
Writers may be the only group of people who are selective perfectionists. Our houses may not get cleaned the week we’re trying to finish those last blasted five chapters, appointments may be missed, and we may have forgotten to shower once or twice that week, but by golly… every freakin’ word in our manuscript will be absolutely perfect! That will likely be the only thing that’s perfect, and even that’s a big delusion, but we’ll certainly work at it until our fingers go numb.
There’s something to be said for becoming an expert on something. It takes a lot of hard work to learn that much about a certain topic. Experts are a writers’ best friend, but most writers are not experts on anything, even writing. Sure, there are some writers who become experts on a specific topic while writing a particular piece, but most writers can really only claim to be semi-experts on about a hundred different topics. Why? Book research. We’ll research anything under sun, but only enough to make what we’re writing believable. We have to get back to writing, after all.
We all know that friend who constantly asks you for advice but doesn’t listen to a single word you say, right? Sorry, but a lot of writers are that friend when it comes to writing. We constantly ask people’s advice about words, phrases, ideas, and concepts. We take in all the comments and suggestions, and then we do whatever the heck we want, which is often exactly what we planned on doing in the first place. It’s not that we don’t value what other people say. Most of the time, we already knew what we wanted to do, but just needed to talk through it from twelve different sides before we’re sure. It’s nothing personal.
There are times when writers really HATE writing. It’s can make us miserable at times, but we still love it. Why? For many writers, it’s simply part of who we are. Writing is like an appendage. Even if it hurts or refuses to work properly, we can no more ditch it than we could an arm. Bear with us when we rant about characters and plot holes and endings that fall flat. We may want to quit at times, but we never will because writing is a part of us.
What are you passionate about that makes you a little crazy?