The Trouble with Writers

The Trouble with Writers.png

The piece below is a brainchild of musings that isn’t intended to be totally serious. While I think there are kernels of truth in it, I don’t think that this applies to all writers, by any means, though I hope that you’ll be able to see some of yourself in it.


The trouble with writers starts with the stories.

Stories pile up in their heads, twinkle in their eyes, break from the everyday events around them—you can see it as the lips part, the eyes widen with wonder or amusement, and the hands grasp as it for a writing utensil. The stories never end for the writer.

The trouble with writers is that you don’t come first.

It’s always the stories, the writing sprint, the reviews, the characters, the plots, the critique groups, the books, the… not you. Never you. The writer’s gaze will film over in the middle of conversation, you’ll fade into the background as a plot bunny skips across the path and draws away the writer’s attention. The story is the writer’s baby, and for all that they curse, they can’t stop caring for it. You’ll have to remind them occasionally that you need care, too, and when the writer remembers… when the writer remembers, you do come first, and nothing will get in the way of their love.

The trouble with writers is the battle between the focus and the ideas.

Some writers can rein in the stories, stuff them into outlines, stretch them across structures, beat them into submission. Some writers grasp for the ideas floating just beyond reach, like fireflies, like branches in the wind, like clouds—beautiful but too far away—and try to piece together the puzzle without a picture for reference. What if I put this here? Writers bounce back and forth between too much focus and not enough.

The trouble with writers is that they are unpredictable.

A writer doesn’t always appreciate it when you say you love their story—sometimes, they will cry not because they are happy, but because the story is shit and because you’re lying to make them feel better (even if you aren’t). Sometimes writers are staunchly against tropes and clichés, and sometimes that’s the only way to keep things moving. How do you tell what ought come next? They certainly can’t.

The trouble with writers is that they don’t trust themselves.

The story feels wrong. The writer feels foolish. Everyone else sees something, expects something—and the writer is paralyzed with the fear that they will never measure up. Is this decision the right one? What if it should be something else? A writer is never sure whether what they’ve done is right or wrong, and who can trust the audience? Not even the audience knows what it wants, so how is the writer to predict it? How is the writer to write? How is the writer to do anything?

The trouble with writers is that they feel.

They feel so much that tears and laughter and screams are all evoked by their stories as much as those of others, but also the lives of others. Writers have endless bounds of empathy, and it tears them apart inside. Some write from the pain. Some work through it differently.

But the trouble with writers, really, is that they aren’t all alike.


Thank you for stopping by, travelers. Safe journeys ❤

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