I’ll be the first to admit writers aren’t the easiest kind of people to date/marry. We’re quirky – at best. We are interested in the strangest things and many of the emotions we’re dealing with aren’t even our own. Here are some tips if you want to keep your writer S.O:
1) When we zone out, let us stay there. Unless, of course, we’re driving or doing some other very important activity. When we zone out, we’re probably working out a plot point or figuring out something new about one of our characters. Try not to take it as an insult when it happens during conversation. (Think of it this way: you said something that inspired the zoning out, so you’re our muse!)
2) Everything you say/do is game. Especially if it’s something that pisses us off. What do you think we carry those little notebooks around with us for?
3) Books are a necessary expense. Get over it. Trying to stop a writer from buying more books is like trying to stop a politician from lying.
4) If you want us to break up with you, make sure you call our hours of staring off into space and staring at an unmoving cursor “slacking off.”
5) If you want to do something but we say we “need to write,” drop it. Forcing us not to write to spend time with you tells us you don’t support our writing and is the quickest way to relationship troubles.
6) Be prepared to look at things differently. Just the other day I saw a woman walking down the street pushing a stroller. “Do you think she’s the grandma?” I asked without even thinking about it. We’re constantly trying to work out stories and backstories of the people and places around us.
7) Our characters and characters that we love are real to us. We’ll cry when they hurt and talk about them like they’re people we know. Don’t judge.
8) When we’re upset about a rejection, a bad review, or a book that just came out similar to our own, resist the urge to try to “fix” it or give us advice. It’s just something we need to work through and – chances are – your advice will only make us feel worse.
9) If our fingers are typing away at the keyboard, interrupt us only if you enjoy a good maiming. It’s hard enough to get in the zone without interruptions once we’re there.
10) Celebrate every little victory with us. Even if it doesn’t seem like much to you. Even if it doesn’t pay. You may not care that a certain author said they loved our work or that a certain agent recognized us from Twitter, but these are the little victories that keep us going.
I could go on, but really I like lists of 10, don’t you? Any other advice for the poor saps who choose to date a writer?