20 Things Only Writers Will Understand

With National Novel Writing Month only a few days away, let’s pay homage to the creative, the misunderstood, the overworked-underpaid writers lurking in our bookstores, libraries and anywhere caffeine might be found. posted on

1. Writing is addictive.

Where some people drink to escape reality, we write. Or sometimes do both.

2. Writing is like giving yourself a mental enema.

… Makes about the same amount of mess and sometimes it stinks, but at least you won’t owe anyone a clean up fee.

3. Killing people is not only therapeutic, but fun!

Ever wanted to get rid of that guy a few houses down who always brings his dog to do his business on your lawn? This way is legal.

4. … really, really fun.

Seriously, writing is exactly like this sometimes. Ever read Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’? Or Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’? Lemmings.

5. We know our chances of success aren’t great. Trust us. We remember.

This is how I spend most of my time editing.

6. We appreciate the encouragement of our friends, family, co-workers, and that guy on the bus who keeps looking over our shoulder.

… Really, we do. Not even being sarcastic. Thank you for pushing us when we needed it, and offering tea on days where our brains don’t word good.

7. When we tell our loved ones that we’re going to ‘write’, they picture this…

8. Even though most of our time is spent doing this instead…

9. …Or worse, this.

10. We’re lucky the lethal limit for caffeine is so high.

Otherwise those novels would never get finished.

11. Even on bad writing days, when your productivity amounts to a talentless scribble…

Accurate description of my novel in Week 2 NaNoWriMo.

12. … When it seems all your creativity comes from the bottom of a coffee cup…

13. … When trying to wrangle your misbehaving plot is like trying to herd a clowder of cats…

** This is a particularly orderly clowder of cats, and should not be used for comparison.

14. … Or when your ideas are just terrible ones.

15. … like, really terrible…

Don’t lie, you know you’ve had an idea just as bad as this one. Probably worse.

16. This is your dream. This is what you were born to do. Your story is worth being told.

Disclaimer: You probably aren’t Dumbledore.

17. Not everyone is going to be a New York Times best-seller, but someone has to be. Who says it can’t be you?

When I’m a New York Times best-selling author, this is exactly what I plan on doing.

18. You won’t be doing it alone. There’s a damn good writer’s community at the touch your fingers. Use it.

There are tens of thousands of others just like you, struggling with their plots, barely managing misbehaving characters, wanting to live out their dreams. These people have support, motivation, and research you can pinch so you don’t have to do it yourself.

19. Writers want other writers to succeed. The most important tool you can give yourself is a good support base. They will keep you writing long after the coffee runs out and the adrenaline wears off.

Sometimes they even bring their own adrenaline! Who says ‘fight or flight’ doesn’t help your writing quality?

20. You can’t edit a blank page. Start writing today.

Write. Even if it’s terrible. Even if you only have 10 minutes to scrawl in a notepad on the bus or between classes. Even if you don’t think it will make any sense later. Write it down. You can edit it when it’s finished, but if there’s nothing on the page it will never get finished at all. It doesn’t have to be good to be worth your time.

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