It’s not easy living with a writer. They are peculiar creatures and sometimes have to be handled with care.
Here are my top tips on how to survive living with a writer at Christmas:
- Ban the following words over Christmas to keep your writer’s spirits up; rewrite, typo, adverbs and synopsis.
- Make sure you have given careful thought to all book gifts. For a harmonious festive period DON’T present your writer with the latest book from the author they constantly compare themselves to. If you do this Christmas will turn into one long critiquing session, which will end with your writer racing into a room with a handmade doll, weirdly resembling the author and a packet of little pins. All hope of peace and goodwill over the festive period will sadly vanish.
- If you are planning to give your writer a book or a selection of books as a Christmas present, make sure they unwrap them at the END of the gift giving ceremony. If you make the silly mistake of letting your writer open a book (one they have been desperate to read for ages), at the start of the present giving ceremony, you can wave goodbye to your writer’s attention. By the end of the gift giving your writer will be halfway through the first chapter and they won’t show ANY interest in the thought-provoking patterns on your new jumper.
- You need to accept your writer’s mood over the festive period will depend on a number of factors. The status of their current draft. If they are ‘editing’ over the festive period you might want to swap Xmas paper hats for tin ones. Their relationship with their current set of fictional characters. Christmas will not be a time of peace and goodwill for some fictional characters, who have been labelled dull or lifeless by their writer. General writing confidence levels. Beware these can fluctuate over a course of a few hours.
- Exceed your writer’s cheese board expectations. Cheese is your secret weapon in the fight against ‘gloomy writer face’.
- Make sure your writer’s Xmas stocking contains a new pretty notebook. Yes – it may spend the rest of the year on a shelf empty and gathering dust but the mere sight of it will put a smile on your writer’s face.
- Show interest and ask your writer how their writing is going? You might feel like you are opening up Pandora’s Box by asking the question, but it will be appreciated and it is Christmas. Depending on your writer you can expect one of the following reactions. Some writers will cast you an awkward glance, mumble something about a challenging draft and scurry away. However some excitable writers will still be rattling on about their latest draft half an hour later. These writers won’t have taken a breath for ages and will be using ‘jazz hands’ to help them explain what happens in the last quarter of their masterpiece.
- Make sure the writer’s pets are fully briefed on their role over Xmas. They need to be on hand for creative counselling, dressing up in silly festive pet outfits and posing for cute Instagram photos.
- If your writer asks you what they think their future literary agent and commissioning editor are doing over Christmas, just say, “waiting for your next manuscript, my dear!”
- The greatest gift you can give to some writers is encouraging them to sneak off and write after Christmas lunch, whilst everyone else is snoozing on the sofa.
Have a wonderful Christmas, writers!
No post tomorrow as it is Christmas Day but back Thursday.