Having a writer in your household can be a stressful business, especially if that writer isn’t housebroken. However, if you obey the following guidelines, you and your writer will have years of wonderful companionship and joy.
Respect Their Boundaries
Just like normal people, writers have boundaries. There are some things that they just aren’t comfortable with. For example, if your writer is the sort who refuses to discuss a rough draft, then don’t pester him or her about it. Wait for them to bring up the topic. If your writer is the sort who won’t let those close to them read a work until it’s polished and finished, then don’t try to read a manuscript over their shoulder.
This also extends to personal space. Sometimes, writers need solitude. Set up or help them set up a desk in their own room or their own corner of the house. When the writer is working, leave them alone. These types of writers also tend to prefer silence or their own music. Invest in a good pair of headphones for those music loving writers or noise canceling headphones for those silence lovers.
And never, ever approach a writer while they are working. Sometimes, it’s difficult to pick up a train of thought again and some writers will snap.
Feed and Water Regularly
Sometimes, writers can forget to eat or to drink something other than coffee. It’s important to make sure your writer is receiving a balanced diet. Otherwise, the writer may wilt or develop a bad case of writer’s block. And there’s nothing more miserable than a writer who can’t write!
However, managing a balanced diet can be difficult if your writer is in the middle of an intense time of writing or editing. They don’t want to be bothered. There are a few ways, though, to accomplish this:
- Cook something that smells so good, it lures them out of their corner.
- Leave food by the door if they have their own room or in reach if they work in a more accessible area.
- Hide the coffee and leave bottles of water lying around.
- Find nutritious alternatives for junk food and only allow junk as a reward.
The Dreaded Procrastination Syndrome
It goes something like this:
Writer: I’ve barely worked on my novel! I’m a terrible writer!
Owner: Why don’t you write some this afternoon?
Writer: But I haven’t leveled up in Dragon Age: Origins yet!
Writer: I’m a terrible writer!
No one wants to live with a cranky, self-loathing writer. Well, one who’s being more cranky and self-loathing than usual. Break this syndrome by establishing small daily goals and, when the writer meets those goals, reward them with snacks, playtime with their favorite video games, or allow them television time. What you’re doing is correcting bad behaviors and attitudes while using positive reinforcement. This philosophy also comes in handy for Rage!Editing Syndrome and Dear-Heaven-No-One-is-Reading-My-Novel Angst.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Writers are natural homebodies and don’t find normal social interaction to be easy. Left to their own devices, they will remain hunched over their laptops, favorite books, or PS consoles. And their writing will suffer! Beat this by making sure they get plenty of fresh air and exercise.
Ernest Hemingway’s owner noted that thoughts flowed better when his writer walked. In fact, many writers have been avid walkers. If your writer doesn’t like to walk, then find some other way to get them outside! Introduce them to gardening or bird watching. The key is to get them outside every once in a while.
A Long and Happy Life
If you follow these simple instructions, you and your writer will have a long and happy life ahead of you. Yes, writers can be cantankerous, changeable, and incredibly antisocial. But when they’re happy, they are lovable and make for fantastic companions.