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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Writer Care 101

So, shortly after penning and publishing my lovely post on Friday, I remembered what my original post was going to be about. This is more for friends and families of writers than for actual writers, but since a lot of us are both, you might as well keep reading.

Writer Care is what I wanted to discuss with you all. Very similar to Pet Care, but much more taxing at times. For that, us writers are truly sorry. We really don't mean to be so difficult. We just get lost in our own heads sometimes and have trouble finding our way back. Please bear with us. Especially if we're working out a particularly difficult plot point, like what are we supposed to do with a Soul Contract when the signer doesn't really possess a soul? (Yes, I wrote myself into that corner my first time out.) Or, Could a Solar Eclipse have the same effect on the undead as direct sunlight if you argue that the deities in charge of the sun and moon are combining their efforts into the destruction of said creatures? (Astronomy is hard! Justifying astronomical events is harder.)

Anyway, none of that has anything to do with the care of your writer. Since I know you all want me to get to the point so you can make sure your writer survives and thrives, here we go:

1. Feed Your Writer
    Much like a pet, your writer will need food (preferably chocolate, although bacon sandwiches now and then are typically appreciated) and water (flavored strongly with coffee. Or alcohol.) Remember, each writer is different and their dietary needs will also differ. A horror writer will need more meat, cooked rare and dripping, while a romance writer will want chocolates, in a heart shaped box, and glasses of wine. Prepare their food according or it will reflect in their writing, as proved by offerings like BLOODY VALENTINE. No one wants that.

2. Caffeinate Your Writer
     As mentioned above, give your writer lots of caffeine. Otherwise they're likely to fall asleep at the keyboard and end up with manuscripts containing lots of fjaeih;owoiofhd;sofnaskh;fwiehf a. Eventually this might amount to something, but it's not a safe bet.

3. Provide Plenty of Alcohol
     Again, this is mentioned above, but worth mentioning again. Writers need alcoholic drinks of their choice at times to keep up the creative juices. As a matter of fact, it's the main ingredient of Creative Juices. As long as you don't give them any while their editing (writing time only) it will vastly improve their mood and ability.

4. Quiet Time
     Writers need plenty of quiet. They get very antsy around lots of loud noises and may exhibit strange behaviors if exposed to noise for too long. Hair pulling, covering their ears and loud screams of their own may be signs of them not getting enough quiet time. Cover their desk with a darkening cloth and they should settle down.

5. Writing Implements
     This should go without saying, but writers need something to write with. Be sure to keep plenty of pens and paper lying around the house in random places. Writers have been known to be struck with brilliant ideas in the middle of doing something completely random. The easier it is for them to get those ideas on paper, the less agitated they become.

6. Humor Them
     Writers will sometimes get the craziest ideas in their heads. Things like two-headed monkeys taking over the world using tubs of mayonnaise. The best thing for you to do when they start going on and on about one of these is to humor them. Tell them it's an interesting idea and be a sounding board. Ask them how the monkeys will take over the world with mayo. Why do they have two heads? Treat them like little kids in this respect (and only in this respect) so they can work out plot holes before they happen. Plus, it makes them feel smart.

7. Support Them
     This is the last one on the list and most important. Writers can be very fragile creatures at times. They can build up a thick skin to deal with the public and pretend things are fine, but inside is always a little bit of doubt. Am I good enough? Will people read this? What if all those agents/critics/publishers are right and I'm never going to make it? We can lie all we want and put on a good face for our friends, families and devoted fans, but these thoughts linger.
      There are times when your writer will want to give up. The road to publishing isn't an easy one and some may never reach the finish line. Don't let them give up. Encourage them. Help them figure out what might be keeping the agents & publishers from snatching them up.
      And when they really need it, give them a shoulder to cry on. It will only be temporary, but it will be needed. Once they've gotten over that bout of insecurity, your writer will be back to their old self, chatting away about a new plot or story idea that entered their minds. They can't help it. Writing is what they do.

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