Friday, October 31, 2014

BOO! 13 Scariest Things About Living with a Writer

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson

There are a lot of scary things about living with a writer. My husband and family know this only too well. Unfortunately, they’ve been subjected to just about everything on the list. And yet they still love me—even more than that they appear to enjoy my career choice at times.

Still, if you’re not expecting some of these things, they can be frightening. So since it’s Halloween I thought I’d give those unsuspecting family members a sneak peak at what they’re in for with the 13 scariest things about living with a writer.

1. Going out in public can turn into a foray into the art and craft of eavesdropping. As writers—whether we writer fiction or nonfiction—we’re always looking for a good story. And I’ve found a lot of good stories by eavesdropping. For some reason this tendency makes my husband and family nervous.

2. Sometimes family members are drafted as impromptu actors when the resident writer is trying to accurately portray a scene. I'll just let your imagination run wild on this one. Trust me, it won't come close to the reality. 'nough said.

3. Normal dinner conversation can be off-putting for unsuspecting meal-time guests. For some reason people don’t like to discuss gory details during dinner—go figure.

4. Normal dinner conversation held at a restaurant can make those around you nervous. I remember the odd looks my husband and I got once while we were out. I was discussing different ways to kill people without leaving a trace. The looks from other diners were comical, to say the least.

5. Writer’s block is felt by the entire family. Ever hear the saying, if momma ain’t happy then nobody’s happy? Well if momma is a writer, then that’s doubly true of writer’s block.

6. Normal hours aren’t so normal. Writers write when inspiration hits. Hopefully that’s during daylight hours. But if the muse works the graveyard shift, so does the writer. Beyond that, if inspiration strikes at night, experienced writers know to write it down because it won't stick around until morning. It's the writing it down part that can cause family members difficulty. Imagine lights snapped on at 2am, loud exclamations as sleep-fogged writer tries to find a pen that works and something to write on. You get the idea. Inspiration isn't quiet.

7. Writers have an insatiable curiosity. I believe that trait is one of the reasons many of us are so successful. We go through life with a goal of finding out who, what, when, where, why and how. My husband refers to this as being nosy, but I think it’s a trait that’s stood me in good stead with my chosen career.

8. Writers don’t just write books, they also collect them. For some reason reading and writing go hand in hand. This means stacks of books everywhere. If you live with a writer, just get used to it. This is one battle you’ll never win.

9. Family situation frequently end up in print. Oh don’t worry too much, we’re careful to change the names. But the tendency of writers to write what we know, can almost always leave a trail back home.

10. Writers have a love/hate relationship with technology, especially computers. We all have our favorite brands and are fiercely loyal (can anyone say Apple?). But we also are the first ones to rail against the necessity of relying on such temperamental beasts.

11. Writers wear their hearts on their sleeves. A good review puts us over the moon. A bad review makes us vow to give up writing altogether. Just get ready for it, we’re an emotional bunch.

12. And along that line, writers are insecure. No matter how many good comments we get, it’s the one bad one that we’ll remember. We’ll dissect it, analyze it, and agonize over it for weeks.


13. We’re always afraid our last book (article, devotion, blog post, etc) was the last one we have in us. We’re certain we’ve reached the pinnacle of our career and the rest won’t be worth reading.

This is my list of the scariest things about living with a writer. I'd love to know what you'd add to the list. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don't forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLES

18 comments:

  1. Love these, Edie - especially the one about the dinner conversation. You know of course, to never question a writer's browsing history. We aren't planning to embezzle money or commit murder.

    Happy Halloween!

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    1. Joan, I've got to add browsing history! Thanks for sharing, Blessings, E

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  2. Oh, so true, Edie! I believe my family has finally accepted the fact that I'm a writer...and writers are weird. :-)

    I love been weird with you!

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    1. Vonda, that's so true. I think at times I've become the weird aunt in the attack. Life with me is always good fodder for stories. I've loved being weird with you, too! Blessings, E

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  3. Like Vonda's, my family has experienced all these with me and come to tolerate, if not accept them. One trait my wife had to learn to accept was my characters and I having conversations. Out loud. Another was learning about all these people who live in my head now. I love her for learning who they are and accepting them into our life. Now, if we could only claim them as dependents on our income tax.

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    1. Henry, that's another great one to add - voices with people others can't see. Thanks so much for sharing! Blessings, E

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  4. Great (and oh so scary) post, Edie! Brian knows that when I whip out my pen and mini-moleskin I need silence to jot down the thoughts running rampant through my mind. :)

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    1. Cathy, Kirk is pretty well trained too. All I have to do is hold up a hand and he knows I'm listening to worlds and voices he can't see or hear. Thanks so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  5. I'm a writer. I wander the house at all hours of the night ... some call it insomnia and think it's just me leaving the lights on. But I know it's me and my characters, sipping tea together and wrestling with a troublesome scene . ;)

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    1. Beth, that's definitely another one to add. I'm a house-prowler too. Thanks so much for adding your thoughts! Blessings, E

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  6. Sat in a nice restaurant one time with a police captain discussing the ways people get away with murder. Loved the expressions on the family seated next to us. Yep, we writers do strange things.

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    1. Oh Pat! I love that story! Thanks so much for sharing, Blessings, E

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  7. I find it difficult to carry on normal conversations with people. They start telling me something and it sparks and idea and before I know it I'm in the middle of a new plot. My eyes glaze over and I have no idea what they're saying. Only friends and family who "get it" aren't offended. They should consider themselves appreciated--for giving me a great idea.

    Regarding browsing history--I discussed this subject with a friend recently (also a writer). We are convinced that if anything happens to our husbands, we're in trouble. That also applies to our chats on facebook and texts on our phones.

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  8. You hit the nail on the head! Definitely sharing this!

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  9. This is GREAT! You are right on the nose! GREAT GREAT article! THANK YOU!

    At least, my family can see that it's NOT just me! ROTFL!

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  10. I often brainstorm with my husband while we walk around the neighborhood. We live in a somewhat quiet area, so voices travel. :) When people are out in their yards I often will get funny looks and I am always sure to include the words "my character" or "in that scene" or something bookish, so my neighbors don't get the wrong idea. J

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  11. Oh here's a scary thing for you...

    Two writers living in the same house - fiercely loyal to two different computer systems, writing different genres, one very literally minded - the other very abstract in her thinking, with two very different writing, research and work styles.

    NOT husband and wife... mother and daughter.

    It gets interesting around here... that's for sure!

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  12. This is a great find. I just texted my ex husband this link. His father was a professor whose novels were not discovered until after his death, and his cousin on the same side of the family is also a writer. But having to survive as an introvert who was married to one of those more curious types for almost 2 decades, outgoing with an unabashed disregard for appropriate dinner conversation and business hours, I am actually surprised he didn't want hazard pay. It's disarming when I have been set up on the charity dates of my own family and acquaintances once I have to tell a man what I do for a living and then the response is along the lines of "I wonder if you are going to put me in a book someday?" almost wistfully. I feel like a little bit snobby and a little bit merciful because be careful what you wish for, and if my personality is a real indicator of my writing style and subjects, do you want to be asking about this one? I'm bookmarking this post for damned sure. It's 2 years old but it's not dated, and that's what makes it quality! Thank you!

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