Guest Post: How to Care for Your Writer, by Natalie

How to Care for Your Writer for Dummies
by Natalie Noel Truitt

Have a writer in your life? No idea how to understand them? Looking for ways to bond with your writer? Well, here are seven ways to make your writer's -- and consequently your -- life easier. Seven easy steps to caring for one of the most confusing organisms on earth: writers.

Step one: Give your writer time to write. This point is crucial. If your writer doesn’t ever get to write, your writer will shut down (see step number five on how to deal with your writer if they shut down). For most writers, working with their characters is equally -- if not more -- important than social interaction.

Step two: Realize that if your writer talks about their character (or to their character) as if they are real, they are not crazy -- well, not very crazy. Your writer is fully away that this is a figment of their imagination. But at the same time, the writer may develop strong feelings for this character and may talk about it/to it as if it were their own child (this may also happen if they are reading a book with a really cute guy in it, but this applies to approximately 90% of female readers).

Step three: Don't be offended if your writer doesn’t want to go somewhere or, well, even see you for a few hours. The writer may even tell a white lie to get out of social interaction. This does not mean that your writer hates you; it means that your writer is overwhelmed and needs a break, or that what you're asking them to do stresses them out. This should be greeted by understanding and telling them that it's okay. If you can make your writer actually believe that you won't hate them if they say no, the writer will become much more open in your relationship.

Step four: Ask your writer about current projects or how characters are doing. This will make your writer very happy. But don’t press for information or say any of the following things: Are you published yet? I might write a book if I find the time. You're good for your age. I didn’t know you had enough money to publish your book! How much are you getting paid? Are you sure it's worth it?

Step five: If your writer shuts down, give them space. And time to write or sleep or whatever they're lacking. (Chocolate, fluffy blankets, and cool music might help also). Symptoms of a writer shutting down may include: odd murmuring, an obsession with a fictional character, crying whenever you mention said character, refusal to get out of bed, hugging a book as if their life depends on it.

Step Six: Don’t ask your writer if you can read their book (until they are totally finished) and NEVER, ever, under any circumstances (during the first draft) try to tell them that they're doing something wrong or need advice on how to fix it. This will make your writer very mad (which may result in death of your favorite character, or using you in their latest torture experiment for that scene they have to write at the end of the book).

Step Seven: Remember that writers sometimes do need a break from their lifestyle, so when they are ready for something new and exciting, try not to hold grudges over any canceled plans, killed characters, or tears over fictional boyfriends (or girlfriends). And remember: you do have feelings too, so if you writer is getting on your nerves or offending you, tell them, because most likely they don’t mean to and will try hard to fix what they have done wrong.


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