Friday, September 23, 2016

Writers Are A Strange Lot

We writers are an odd lot.
by Lori Hatcher  @LoriHatcher2


My husband puts up with a lot.

He’ll be the first to tell you that living with a writer is, shall we say, different. He knows writers are a strange lot. We can be physically present but mentally light years (or centuries) away. While it may appear that we’re talking to ourselves, if you ask us, we’ll deny it.

“Oh no, I’m not talking to myself. It’s the characters in my head who are talking. I’m just moderating the discussion.” Uh, yeah, I think there’s medication for that.

My husband knows I’m always collecting material, and no one is exempt. My friends, family, and even my dental patients occasionally show up in one of my devotions or blog posts. Even difficult people (whose names have been changed, of course), can be material for the next inspiration. One of my author friends has a t-shirt that says, Be nice to me or I’ll kill you in my next book.

I can’t wear that shirt, because I’m a non-fiction writer. My t-shirt would say, I’ll tell you how to kill the character in your next book in five easy steps. Uh, yeah, I think there’s jail time for that.

Writers ask for strange gifts.
(The Mercedes I want most is a typewriter.)
Writers ask for strange gifts for their birthdays and Christmas. Money to go toward the next writers’ conference. Another journal. An Amazon gift card so they can buy their writer friends’ latest books. One year I asked my husband for a three-day personal retreat at The Cove in Asheville. “Who would you like to go with?” he asked.

“No one.” I responded. “That would spoil all the fun.” Besides, I carry my friends in my head, remember?

I don’t know how many times I’ve been in the middle of a crisis, and in the back of my mind I’m thinking, oh boy, this is going to make a killer blog post. My husband’s used to it. I was sharing something the Lord’s been teaching me during his recent unemployment. “Have you written about it yet?” he asked.

“Not yet,” I replied, “but I will.” And I will. It’s how writers process things. How we make sense of what doesn’t make sense. How we filter life through our fingers.

And then there’s our house. Bookshelves aren’t the most stylish piece of furniture, but there must be a minimum one in every room. When they get full, we add new ones. My husband knows not to ever suggest I get rid of any of my books. The one (and only) time he did, I stared at him, aghast, as if he’d suggested I dump a puppy on the side of the interstate.

Oh, and did I mention the Post It notes everywhere? And the scraps of paper with weird notes like God is like an editor—He has the final say or Research how long it takes a person to die of thirst.

My husband has learned to fall asleep to the
sound of my fingers on the keyboard.
My husband has learned to fall asleep to the sound of my fingers on the keyboard and to stay asleep when I switch on the light at three a.m. because a sudden inspiration has seized me. He keeps a mental Rolodex of my writer friends he’s never met. They have names like Edie from Blue Ridge and Cindy from Boot Camp. When Betty the Editor or Eddie the Publisher calls, he knows to come get me immediately.

But living with a writer has its upside, too. My husband always knows where to find me (chained to my desk). I write a great Christmas letter (unless I’m on deadline, and then it might be a Fourth of July letter). I supply him with a plethora of useless information (please put me on Jeopardy), and I can spell (and define) just about any word he throws at me.  

Quirks and idiosyncrasies notwithstanding, after almost 32 years, I think he’s going to keep me.

What about you? What are some of the quirky things you do as a writer? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

TWEETABLE
Writers are a strange lot - @LoriHatcher2 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of two devotional books, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women and  Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. A blogger, writing instructor, and women’s ministry speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . Connect with her on FacebookTwitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

20 comments:

  1. Thank you for the chuckles! Loved this post, Lori. Our spouses are gaining many jewels in their crowns. :)

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  2. Enjoyed this post immensely. Once I had someone tie my hands behind my back and then leave so I could see how my character was going to get out of her predicament. :-) And that scene ended up getting cut!

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    1. Wow, Pat, that's dedication. You got in your character's head in a literal way. No doubt that scene was amazingly realistic:)

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  3. Thank you, Lori. I'm not sure I have any different quirks, but do share some of yours. My wife is constantly suggesting I get rid of books. During our recent move, I parted with twenty file boxes full of books and it felt like I was farming out my children. However, I still had twenty two file boxes full that I moved with us. And my wife is often asking if I'm talking to her or "them." While we writers are a quirky bunch, we do share some commonalities. Thanks for the laughs.

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    1. Oh, Bruce, I feel your pain. We moved in April after 29 years in our home. Not only are we readers and writers, we were also homeschoolers. Our book boxes filled up 1/4 of our storage POD. I told hubby we might have to buy a new bed if it didn't fit in because of the books, cause I sure wasn't getting rid of them to make room. Thankfully, we squeezed it all in, but it was close. Whew!

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  4. My husband is a captive audience this morning as we are on a road trip so I took the opportunity to share your post with him. He told me I could have written it. I'm sure he thinks one of my quirks is reading him stuff he is not really interested in!

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    1. And do you also use him as a sounding board for the final read aloud edit? I don't think my husband has ever read any of my work in print. He says he doesn't need to--he's already heard it all!

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    1. You're welcome, Martha. Blessings to you!

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    1. So glad to have shared a smile with you, Robin. Thanks for your kind words.

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  7. Great post, Lori. You're on target once again.
    Write on!

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    1. I see your writer's head nodding and smiling, Carolyn :) Blessings to you.

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  8. I will be reading this to my husband tonight. I can see him rolling his eyes and nodding. And he knows one hand raised toward him and one hand typing means "I have to capture this thought"! Great post!

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    1. Oh yes--the writer's universal sign. Never interrupt a brilliant moment. It may vanish away forever... :)

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  9. Thanks for this post, Lori. Sometimes it's nice to hear another author confess to these habits too. LOL. My family always says, "I can't do ANYTHING without getting put in something." because I am a writer, and my brother is a preacher. ;D

    I almost always write to soundtrack music. My family will know I'm "writing" but when they see me spending half the time staring out the window making weird faces, they question the truth of it.

    BTW, personally, I think bookshelves are very fashionable furniture pieces. And I refuse to back down on that. ;)

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    1. Oh Amber, my husband's a preacher, too, and we often confer on whether we can change the names and the details of an event enough to use it in our ministry or we have to set it aside. Some of my "best" stories will never be told. Discretion. Discretion. Always err on the side of discretion!

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  10. Husband let me have a library. Like, an actual library room of our house. Had to rearrange so I could do the day job from home just this spring and he caved and helped me move all the bookcases (except the two full of cookbooks) up into the spare bedroom and now I have a library. He has yet to resign himself to my habit of getting up at 430 so I can write for an hour or so before work, but he'll live. And yes, post it notes EVERYWHERE. Add to that the fact that I'm into the visual arts and well, an so have my easy and sketchbooks lying around and take massive numbers of photos everywhere I go, and he's pretty much doomed :)

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    1. Wow, what a hubby, Robin! He really gets you. And kudos to you for getting up reeeeeeealy early to write. Serious writers do what it takes, even when it's inconvenient. My husband used to leave for work at 5:30 am, and I found that rather than going back to bed, if I stayed up and wrote, it was the most productive time for me. After all, no one is calling, texting, or messaging you at that God-awful hour. Write on!

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