“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”
I was all set to blog today about finishing the first draft of my manuscript earlier this month (!!) and diving into edits this week, but then something happened. The neighbors across the street decided it’d be a great time to have their house bulldozed. Okay, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, that’s what the clanking of the ginormous construction vehicles sounded like at 7:23AM this morning. It turns out they were having their driveway replaced, and it also turns out that the process requires an exorbitant, incessant amount of noise that can drive a writer crazy if she listens to it for too long. I lasted about ten minutes before wanting to throw something across the room, so I relocated in the interest of preserving my sanity. Six hours and eighty pages later, I finally took a break, and was greeted with the wondrous, magical, beautiful sound of silence. Here’s hoping that means the driveway-crashers are finished. There will be other distractions, though. There always are. So, I present to you (all in good fun!) some guidelines to help better communicate with the writer in your life:
-If we’re working with our faces three inches away from the computer screen and our hands are flying furiously across the keys, chances are it’s not the best moment to interrupt.
-If it sounds like we’re talking to ourselves, we’re not. We’re probably just talking to our characters. Or thinking out loud. Or muttering about the lawn mower/hammering/bouncing basketball/blaring radio that’s trying oh-so-hard to break our train of thought.
-That whole writing notebook idea? It’s not just a cliche or something you see in movies. We treasure our journals and treat them like golden nuggets of inspiration. Maybe because they are.
-Don’t be surprised if we suddenly – and seemingly randomly – jump up from what we’re doing and run to scribble, scrawl, or blast out a sentence, paragraph, or scene. It’s a Writer’s version of Murphy’s Law that starbursts of insight ALWAYS occur at the most inopportune times. Like when driving. Or showering. Or trying to fall asleep.
-Speaking of sleep, don’t be surprised if the writer in your life doesn’t get much of it. Characters don’t just keep us on our toes during the day. They stick around even after the sun’s gone down, and sometimes it’s in those quiet times that we realize most what their journeys are all about.
-Don’t laugh at us when we back up our books, queries, synopses, and agent databases on an external hard drive, flash drive, and by emailing it to ourselves on two different email accounts. You may call it paranoid, but we call it protective.
-All the time we spend on Facebook, Twitter, and reading blogs? It’s not fruitless or a waste of time. The writing community is A-MA-ZING, and we are all enriched for being part of it.
-Whether it’s to celebrate an incredible writing day or to console ourselves after a tough pass from an agent, milkshakes are always appropriate. Especially if they’re chocolate.
-We are all different. Some of us write best in the morning and some at night. Some of us write chronologically and some of us skip around. Some of us outline first, some dive right in, some let the characters lead the way, and some use a combination. What we have in common? We are all driven by a pure passion for the craft, the worlds it opens up, and the stories it gives us the joy of telling.
-We don’t enjoy being woken up by birds before the first sunbeams have begun to bounce down from the sky. Oh wait, that’s just me. (Anyone else? Please?)
-Our characters become like our friends and our manuscripts like our babies. They mean more to us than words can describe (ironic, right?) and it brings us immeasurable joy to share them with you. So … thank you, thank you, thank you for the unwavering support. We say it often, but it’s worth repeating: it’s deeply, deeply appreciated.
There you have it, a friendly PSA to help understand writers better. There’s so much more I could have included here, so authors and fellow writers, please chime in. What would you include on this list? And who wants to tell me what the best kind of noise-canceling headphones are for the next time someone on my street decides to make a racket?