A list on reasons to avoid writers is almost superfluous (ooh, fancy word). Do we really need nine? Where’s the challenge? I almost went the other direction with “9 Reasons to Associate with Writers,” but no one would buy that.
I certainly wouldn’t.
Writers have their uses, don’t get me wrong. We wouldn’t have The Day After Tomorrow without them. But of course, we have The Day After Tomorrow because of them. So there’s that.
Just in case that wasn’t enough proof to kick that wordsmith to the curb, here are a few more reasons to avoid the writer in your life.
1. Trust Us, We’re Good for It
The writerly profession is one of solitude, introspection, and dirty, dirty poverty. We like to pretend there’s artistic merit in scrounging dumpsters for unused (oh who are we kidding, we’ll take used) Ramen noodles and apple cores, but we’re professional liars, and if you believe that one I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.
Oh sure, there are some writers that swim in gold bullion like Scrooge McDuck (hello J.K. Rowling), but the reality for most of us is a second job and indentured servitude for our pets. That’s where you, our “friends” come in.
What’s that you say? You want to go see the Avengers? Well, I’m a little short on funds at the moment, but my advance is coming next week and…oh. Are you sure? You don’t mind ? Well, ok, but only if you’re sure. I’ll pay you back. Trust me…I’m good for it.
(SPOILER! I’m not good for it.)
2. The Voices Made Me Do It
Writers are paid to create worlds with believable characters spouting believable dialog. This is why, at any giving moment, you’ll find your local writer sitting in a corner talking to themselves. For hours. When you approach them (slowly, we startle) and ask what they’re doing, they’ll look at you like you’re crazy. They’re having a conversation, obviously. You’re the weird one for asking.
I once had an entire round table discussion on what to get my wife for Valentines Day with two of my main characters and Slippy from Star Fox (cause, you know…why not). When she was less than thrilled with the result, I laid the blame at my characters feet. I absolutely believed it was their fault.
I’m still pissed at that frog.
3. You’ll End Up Robbing a Bank
When you know a writer, everything in your life (really, everything) is up for grabs. We look at our friends as a big pool of public domain soup—to be dipped and ladled at will. If you tell me a funny story, there’s a good chance it will end up in my book. If you have a unique name, I’m probably “borrowing” it (some people might call this stealing, but writers never steal. Only borrow) for my new character.
And God help you if you piss me off, because Taylor Swift isn’t the only one who knows how to make an ex-friend/lover/landlord sweat. Maybe you wouldn’t rob a bank in real life, but in my novel…well, “Steve” is starting to sound like a good name for a villian. (You see, Steve? You should have lent me some money to see The Avengers!)
4. The Social Skills of a Sheltered Hamster
You want to know why there are Writer’s Conventions? Sure, it’s a good excuse to meet agents and editors, get tips from the pros, and connect with readers. But the real reason? It’s because we have the behavioral skills of an eight-year-old on Ritalin.
We’re most comfortable among our own kind, because when we stop the conversation to randomly converse with our
imaginary friend main character in Klingon, another writer will understand. Hell, they may join in (where do you think collaborative novels come from?).
That’s nice for conventions, but it doesn’t fly in the real world. When you’re counting on your writer-friend to help you move, and they never show because they had an idea they had to get on paper, it stings a little. I mean, your writer-friend basically told you a story is more important than your friendship.
Unfortunately, sometimes the story is more important.
If I had better social skills I wouldn’t have told you that.
5. What’s That? I Wasn’t Listening?
You’ve probably figured this out—what with the “voices” and all—but writers aren’t known for their stellar listening skills.
It’s not our fault; our stories are just more interesting than what you’re saying. Or, well…I don’t know. I wasn’t really listening.
Remember that kid in school? The one the teacher was always scolding for day-dreaming? The one walking across the courtyard with his jaw open, eyes unfocused, spittle running down his chin? Yeah. That’s us.
If you’re talking to a writer, odds are we’re only catching 50% of what you’re sayi….
Oh! Maybe Steve works at the bank during the day, but nobody recognizes him because he dresses as a woman! Yeah. That could work.
Sorry. You were saying?
6. You’re Not Doing “Good,” You’re Doing “Well”
Do you love when people correct your grammar? Uh huh. Do you love when they do it all the time. No? Too bad, because there is nothing in the world a writer loves more than correcting grammar (Well…other than free drinks. That’s catnip).
And it’s more than just catching an error—we have to rub your nose in it. We wait in the bushes, looking for that first sign of weakness, that moment of hesitation (“Is it ‘Veteran’s Day,’ or ‘Veterans Day?'”), and then we pounce. We have to show that you’re not only wrong, but somehow a lesser human being because you said “Me and Tom,” instead of “Tom and I.” It’s how we’re hardwired.
I had a friend I used to love correcting. There must have been some kind of genetic predisposition to word-murder in his family, because he couldn’t help destroying the English language with every sentence. I would watch him intently, waiting for the inevitable moment and then…HAH!
“I think you meant ‘fewer’ not ‘less.'”
It got so bad he started flinching every time he saw me smile. This is what writers do…we cause involuntary spasms with the power of our smugness.
7. Bathing is Not On Our Hierarchy of Needs
There are many things a writer needs: pen, paper, computer, smelling salts, brown liquor, clear liquor, orange liquor. But one thing we don’t need? Hygeine.
Yeah, it’s gross.
It doesn’t change the fact, though—writing isn’t an occupation that rewards, or particularly cares, about personal cleanliness. Think about it. A writer is told above all other things to keep their butt in the chair. If they’re successful, it probably means they’ve parked their butt in said chair for a loooooong time. And when their buddies invite them to come a’drinking, they’re usually too busy talking to the voices in their head to remember to shower.
If you insist on associating with a writer, you’d better keep some wet wipes handy.
8. We Care More About Our Blog Hits Than Your Birthday
If you get a “Happy Belated Birthday,” card every year from the same person, chances are she’s a writer.
It probably has something to do with the way we prioritize. See, a normal person’s brain looks something like this:
– God>Family>Friends>Work> School>Cookies> School Plays/Athletics>E.L James>Liquor.
Now here’s a writer’s brain:
(Though cookies still rank pretty high.)
9. You’re Going to Entertain Us…Whether You Want To Or Not
Writers like drama. It’s in our job description. We have a duty to ferret out the inherent drama in nature and ask “What if we introduced some wood-rats?”
But writers get bored like everyone else. And when a writer get’s bored…ouch. Things can get dicey.
See, when you get bored you call a friend and ask about their weekend. Maybe talk about a new movie, or a book you’ve read. A writer is a different creature entirely. Because just talking about the weekend isn’t nearly interesting enough. There’s no drama! And if there’s no drama, then it’s the writer’s job to create some:
“Hey Steve, I’m bored. Let’s build a bunker.”
“Wait! A bunker doesn’t protect against the smart wood-rats, and those are on the way.”
“Steve, try to keep up. We’ll have to get some lumber, but the only place open past midnight is run by an Appalachian refugee who doesn’t take kindly to questions. Now, we’re going to need around fifteen hundred in cash. I’m tapped out because you made me buy that Vampire Hunter’s kit last week…”
“Hold on, I made you buy—”
“Steve, there’s no time. Look, you get the lumber and I’ll take care of the pesticides once the bunker’s built. Trust me…I’m good for it.”