Being friends with a writer comes with a certain set of caveats, or rules if you will, that you simply must accept if you're going to really appreciate the relationship you have with your writer friend. I've gathered a handy list of those rules for you here, all together in one place, so you can easily refer to them whenever you're not sure how to handle something.
Because I have an amazing group of writer friends I have asked many of them to contribute to this post!
- Sometimes your writer friend will space out, or stare off into space while you're talking. You cannot take offense to this, she's not ignoring you or bored by your story (okay, in fairness she might be bored by your story I don't know for sure) but more likely she's daydreaming a new story she wants to write, or a scene she wants to create, or even a blog post she's dying to write.
- If you're going to tell your writer friend a story you must proceed the story by saying "You can/cannot use this..."if you don't specify, then we will assume that it's up for grabs and you may see your story in a future blog post, or story that we create. When we write it, we might not even remember that we got the idea from you, so you really need to tell us whether it's on or off limits. The responsibility is all on you, are we clear here?
- Accept that I may want to write about you all the time. Or never at all. Or a combination of both, at completely random and unexpected times. I can't predict it, why should you be able to?
- You should understand that while I may seem to be listening to you intently, really I'm mentally recording this entire conversation in my memory so that I can use it later for my own creative purposes.
- Understand that while I appreciate your helpful ideas, I might not be able to use them all in my writing. It doesn't mean they aren't great ideas (Okay, again it might mean they're not great I don't know...) but it just means I can't make it work for what's sparking my creativity at the moment. Don't take offense, it's not you, it's my muse!
- If I tell you that I'm unable to do something because I'm writing it doesn't mean that I don't want to do what you're asking me to do, it just means that I am writing! Writing isn't like a job where you clock in and clock out. Sometimes if I put it aside, when I come back the spark, the idea, the inspiration is gone like a puff of steam on a cool night. If the story is coming now, then now is when I have to write it!
- Yes, by all means you can tell me something in confidence! Tell me about your sex life, what color your poop was, and that crazy embarrassing thing that happened to you...just realize that I am going to use it all in my writing at some point and there is nothing you can do about it. Once it's in the writer's imagination, there's no erasing it.
- Just like a Facebook status you see, not everything I write is about you. Don't assume that it is, it's probably not. It's probably about something completely unrelated to you, if you're not sure, or you are curious, just ask me!
- Whether I'm getting paid for it or not, writing is my job. I treat it like one, and so should you.
- I can't teach you to write, so stop asking me.
- I am a writer because I absolutely love words. I love how a certain word can completely change the meaning of a sentence, of a conversation, or of a story. If you are talking to me you should think about every word you're saying, because I'm going to and if you use one that hurts my feelings I will store that information away for a very long time and study it in my mind.
- When a writer isn't writing, when a writer cannot write for whatever reason, it causes a very physical and extremely emotional response in that writer. Writing is my therapy and my demon, all at the same time. If the writing is bottling up inside of me, then there's a problem. I will be moody, I will be emotional, I may even be downright bitchy, I don't mean it so don't hold it against me, I just need to write and then I will feel better!
- At a party, or any large gathering, I might choose to sit off to the side and simply watch what's happening. It absolutely does not mean I'm not having a good time, or that I want to leave. As a writer I am always studying people, painting the scene in my mind so I can retell it later in my writing and save it, retell it to someone who hasn't seen what I have seen. As a writer, I'm an observer and that's where I am the happiest!
- I write about a lot of things (everything) and I share it on the Internet for the entire world to see, but please if you're going to share something I've written pick a good post about something of substance, not just a random post about nothing?
Thanks to all my friends -- both writer and non writers! -- for putting up with my craziness! Especially huge thanks to writers who added their rules to my list!