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11 Things to Remember If You Love a Writer

11 Things to Remember If You Love a Writer

Puzzling, isn’t it?

At times your loved one seems sullen, withdrawn, and devoid of communication. At other times, his obsessive drive is unstoppable, and you wouldn’t even think to try to tame his compulsion to write.

Refusing to communicate with you one minute and yet sharing thousands of words with readers can be frustrating.

Welcome to the personality of a writer.

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While seemingly paradoxical, there are ways to understand them.

Here are 11 tips to understanding (and loving) a writer.

1. They are driven to write daily.

Writing is not a conscious choice. It is a need, as strong a need as any passion. Others are compelled to exercise daily. Writers share the beauty of the written word with others.

2. They are observant.

They see the beauty in things others don’t find interesting at all. For example, they are always on the lookout for an interesting photo to accompany their writing, or a new life lesson to write about.

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3. They don’t listen to critics.

Instead, they listen to their inner sweetheart who encourages them to pursue their passion, to share the love of the written word with others. Their confidence that they have a voice that needs to be heard outweighs their inner critic, or any other critics. Criticizing them will only get you frustrated.The voice of their inner sweetheart is louder.

4. They are well-read.

By reading a variety of authors, they get a variety of ideas and writing styles. They might, inexplicably to you, be in the middle of many books or articles at once.

5. They embrace rejection as a learning experience.

Their craft requires them to face the possibility of rejection on a regular basis. The best writers learn to use rejection as an opportunity to grow and improve.

6. They challenge themselves.

According to Lifehack’s Kevin Kaiser, “Highly creative people wake up every morning fully aware of the need to grow and push themselves.” According to author and blogger Jeff Goins, writers don’t just talk about writing, they take action. If they need to get up two hours earlier than usual to write, they will do it.

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7. They are artists.

Writers express themselves creatively just like artists do. This means writers are artists. Be proud of your artist!

8. They are inspired.

Inspiration may not always strike them at a fortuitous time. If an idea comes into their head while doing something you consider more important, try to be understanding that they may stop your preferred activity to take notes before the idea passes, never to return to their heads again.

9. They are driven to the point of obsession.

Writing takes priority over what they consider the more mundane. Chores definitely fall into this category. Writing takes priority over laundry and dishes. The loved one of the writer should learn to embrace the domestic duties since the need to write will not change. They must write like they must breathe. The dishes can wait.

10. They can write at any hour.

They will write even if it is 2 o’clock in the morning. They are oblivious to the fact that the world is sleeping or that you may think they should be sleeping. They will find a way to get the writing done, so don’t be surprised if you wake in the wee hours of the morning to find your loved one missing. You know where they are—at the computer or writing desk. You know what they are doing; they are conveying their passion for the written word. Although they can write at any hour, they write best at certain times of the day. Do not make social plans for them during the time they will usually be writing. Try and understand this and respect their boundaries.

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11. They can write anywhere they have access to a computer.

Camping trips, beach trips…no place is off limits. This may include the car during a road trip you’d been looking forward to. Be understanding if your loved one wants you to drive, so their hands are free to operate their smartphone.

In conclusion, your loved one is not going to change. On the contrary, according to Lifehack’s Kaiser, creativity, and the adrenaline rush that comes from it, may actually be an addiction.

There is a song from the musical Les Miserables called “A Heart Full of Love.” Your loved one does have a heart full of love—for writing as well as for you. Certainly your loved one is worth that understanding. Writers have big hearts, big enough for both you and the written word.

 

Featured photo credit: Doug Robichaud via unsplash.com

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Janice Wald

Teacher, Author, Blogger, Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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