Dating a Writer

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People often have questions about a person who calls him or herself a writer. Some of them are outlandish, like, “When is your book going to be in theaters?” or, “Wow, I’m not going to wind up a character in your novel, am I?” Then people ask things like, “Would you please stop asking me for spare change?”

In any case, writers are often misunderstood, even by the people who know them best. For example, if you’ve ever dated a writer you’ve probably compiled a mental list of infuriating quirks that simply seem to defy all logic. Well, that’s what we’re hoping to help explain to you today. We’ve compiled a list of the Top 12 quirks anyone interested in dating a writer ought to be aware of before they take the plunge into that bubbling inkwell of love.

12 Quirks of a Writer You Should Know

1. Solitude Is Productive

When we spend hours at a time locked away in our office (or laundry closet), staring at our computer screens, we assure you, we are not just playing Angry Birds or looking at porn. Sure, we do that too, but the ratio is approximately 10 minutes of work to 1 minute of screwing around, not the other way around. However, the likelihood of you walking in on us during this 1 minute of screwing around is always 100%.

2. Genius Strikes at Random Times

Sometimes when you’re talking, we’ll smile and nod and have nothing better to offer than a supportive grunt. It’s not because we don’t care. It’s because, at that precise moment in time, we’ve just discovered that the creation of a space-time rift by Szechuan Beef bandits is precisely what we need to close a plot loophole in our intergalactic space opera, Genghis Khan’s Mongolian Starship.

3. Drinking is Romantic

It’s only “alcoholism” if our court-appointed lawyer deems it a good defense.

4. I’m Not Rich

No one ever understands how the publishing industry works, which means you’ll get to share this frustration with us when your friends or family or coworkers inquire about our profession. No, the day after we write a novel, you won’t be able to pick it up at Walmart. No, selling a book doesn’t make us millionaires or even hundred-thousandaires. No, the movie will not be coming out soon, and I have no way of reaching out to Bradley Cooper to make sure he stars as the book’s hero. So, have fun explaining this to everyone you know; we’ve had to explain this to everyone we know for years.

5. Our Diets Vary

Coffee is indeed an acceptable food group.

6. Leave Now, Please

We can’t write while in your company, and no, that’s not a personal attack against you. We can’t write around anybody. Writing is something that must be done alone. It’s intimate. It’s personal. It requires a lot of focus and attention to detail. Imagine if you wanted to do that embarrassing DVD workout where you put your legs behind your head one moment and then punch and kick like Steven Seagal the next, looking like a sweaty, dancing hobo in your living room. Well, while you do that, we’re just gonna sit on the floor next to you reading a book. Don’t mind us, just focus on your workout. What’s that, you can’t? Well, writing is kinda like that.

7. Social Graces

Not all of us are socially challenged. A lot of us, but not all of us.

8. The Zone

If we eat nothing but Ramen noodles for a week straight because we’re really in the zone, feed us an orange or something, please. Scurvy’s a real bitch, and we can easily neglect that whole “nutrition” thing when we’re on a hot streak.

9. We Work, Hard

We’re not lazy. Nor do we fear gainful employment. We just understand that the monotony that accompanies a typical 9-5 office job is enough to drive a creative mind to suicide. “I need some new inspiration for a novel, so I’d better join the work force and find a nice, cozy cubicle to settle into,” said no successful writer ever.

10. Grab a Hold of What Works

We write only when we feel like writing, and sometimes we can only write in certain places. I know that sounds extremely diva-ish, but inspiration comes in doses and only at certain times, and we need to take full advantage of this if we want to create something magical. So if you sit us down and tell us we can only write from 8-10 on Mondays and Wednesdays and only in the spare bedroom full of Grandma’s old muumuus that was half-assedly turned into an “office,” well, we’re probably going to write something that even Stephenie Meyer would look at and go, “Wow, this is bad.” Let us write on our own time, and let us choose where to write. We’ll still spend plenty of time with you, and we’ll be happier when we do because of all of the good writing we’ve accomplished. A happy writer is a happy lover, and a distracted writer is a distracted lover.

11. We Do Care

Yes, you’re extremely interesting. That’s why we’re dating you or married to you. Yes, parts of who you are might become essences of the characters we write. But unless we want to never have sex again, no, you are not the evil villain or villainess we just described in our new novel, who has gnashing jaws, a pot belly, and acts like a complete asshole. We’re creative, but we’re not cruel. And frankly, if you read about that kind of character and see yourself being described, please seek out a licensed therapist.

12. Screw ‘Em

It’s okay if your parents don’t approve of what we do and think we’re just lazy bums without any real ambition; our parents have thought the same thing for years.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. They may seem logically questionable, but those are some of the quirks that we as writers live by. We hope the list helped you better understand us. If it didn’t, well, sorry. We’d love to explain it in further, clearer detail but unfortunately it’s time to go play some Angry Birds.