Friday, January 22, 2016

13 Scary 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. Writer’s 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.

Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including While My Soldier Serves, Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military. She’s also the military family blogger at Her popular blog for writers, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month, and she’s the Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers is a print expansion of her bestselling ebook on social media. She’s the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, and the Senior Editor for Connect on Twitter and Facebook.    


Robin Patchen said...

Great list, though I have to say I did a double-take at the Halloween comment. I mean, time moves faster these days, but that scared me more than the rest!

I agree with all of this, especially the "inspiration isn't quiet" thing. When it hits, you have to get up (and why am I always in bed, trying to fall asleep?) and write it down. The worst is when it seems so very . . . inspired. But half the time, the next day, assuming I can read what I wrote down, I look at it and think, wait, what? That doesn't even make sense.

Robin Mason said...

truly, yes to all of them!! but so very yes to #7, and #12... yeeps! mostly with guest blog posts but some scenes in my storied i just need some affirmation....

Sharee Stover said...

oh my goodness this had me laughing and nodding in appreciation. LOVE it!

Tami said...

I laughed at number four, because it reminded me of a time when my husband and I were discussing what is required to disinter a body. I wasn't sure if the lady at the next table was going to choke on her salad or report us to the police.

Thanks for the great post. I had my husband read it, so that he could see that I'm really quite normal - for a writer.