Saturday, March 31, 2007

Assumptions About Writers

As a helpful guide to my blog visitors, I have constructed a list of things that one can safely assume about writers. As a writer myself, I assure you that these things are absolutely true.

1. Writers are eager to hear criticisms from readers about every element of their published work. They especially like it when terms like “sucked” are used. Don’t worry that they might get their feelings hurt. Writers are toughened to criticism.

2. A published book sells a lot of copies and makes the writer a lot of money, so they will usually be happy to give you a copy for free. The mere fact that you’d like a copy of their work is reward enough. In fact, most writers have a large number of copies printed up at their own expense for just such a purpose.

3. Writers typically only work 2 or 3 hours a day. Part A: If they aren’t typing, they aren’t working and can be freely interrupted. Part B: If they are reading, then they aren’t working and can freely be interrupted. Part C: Writing isn’t a real job anyway.

4. Writers never have enough ideas of their own and are desperate to hear more “great” ideas from perfect strangers. The writer will, of course, be happy to write that idea up and share the profits with said stranger. This benefits both parties.

5. Much like medical doctors, writers are eager to give free advice and consultations on their area of expertise to total strangers. After all, when you work only 2 or 3 hours a day you have a lot of free time to fill. They are especially happy to fix someone’s grammar troubles so that the work instantly becomes salable.

6. Writers are superb party guests. They are good with words, after all, so they are always prepared with witty repartee. If you really want to see them at their best, make sure you put them on the spot by asking them to get up in front of the guests and tell a spur-of-the-moment story that is both poignant and funny.

7. Writers lead exciting lives, filled with frequent jet trips to New York for champagne brunches with their agents, and with blockbuster, multi-city tours where they dine at only the best restaurants and sleep at only the finest hotels.

8. Writers are, of course, crazy. (At least the good ones are.) But this is why they are entertaining. Feel free to ask them such questions as: “What happened to you in your childhood? Or, “I’ve always heard that writers are mostly gay. Is that true?”

9. Writers believe everything they write. For example, if a writer has a ghost in their story you can be assured that they believe in ghosts. Similarly, you can judge a writer’s personal philosophies from their characters. If the writer has a character who is racist then be assured that they themselves share such thoughts.

10. Writing comes easy for those who have the talent. One just sits down and words and sentences unspool from the storage center in the writer’s magnificent brain. Why, it’s scarcely work at all.

And now, I must leave you, my fellow travelers of the blogosphere, for my muse has called and I sense an epic trilogy coming on. That could take me most of the rest of the day. Then it’s off to chat with Brad and Angelina about my script for their upcoming movie. Where’s my secretary with the coffee?


Steve Malley said...

Oughta warn me before I spit coffee out my nose!

Re: rule 3: I have one friend who will leave me alone if I'm reading, drawing, pacing back and forth, etc. But let my fingers touch the keys and it's time for another exciting tale of childbirth difficulties...

Beats working, though...

Lana Gramlich said...

I can sympathize! Everyone loves my art & wants me to do something for them (typically based on THEIR thoughts & ideas, which defeats the purpose of using MY creativity,) but none of them think my time or effort is worth money.

Randy Johnson said...

The scary thing is that there are people who won't recognize the sarcasm in your blog.

Randy Johnson said...

The scary thing is there are people who won't recognize the sarcasm in your blog.

Erik Donald France said...

There's iron(y) in your words. Evil. But all true in a mirrored image.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Number four is my favorite. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've had convicts wanting me to write their story. "If it's so damned interesting," I say, "Then write it yourself." What they're really looking for is some easy money.

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve, it's all part of the process. Just have your secretary fetch you more coffee.

Lana, I guess we're just too mercenary.

Randy, yes, I'm pretty sure you're right. I may have only encouraged some folks.

Erik, I see you are a fan of "The Outlaw Josey Wales." Great movie.

JR., think of the money you could make.

Drizel said...

whahahahahahaha.......This is all so true, Brad and Angie(I can call her that you know), just came round for a party last week, send them my regards will you?;)
Good one Charles;)

RK Sterling said...

LOL - and to Lana, I was just getting ready to comment that the same is true of artists of other types as well. I'm expected to pick up a pencil or paint brush and whip up a free portrait at a moment's notice.

Charles, I also loved the one about being put on the spot because "you're so good with words" - happens all the time.

Great post.

Sidney said...

Sorry I'm late in reading this, but just refer to #7. After brunch, I had to go to Target.

Donnetta said...

Oh, very very good, Charles! No truer words, as they say...I'm not sure which point I like the best. Maybe the one about the amount of time the writer spends working. Or maybe the one about the writer as a social butterfly, so to speak. Or maybe the one...ah, heck! I got a kick out of all of them!

Charles Gramlich said...

etain, you know Brad and Angie too? Small world.

Sid, yeah, they've got some high end stuff at target, man. Suitable for famous writers.

Kate, that's one of the ones I get the most too.

Donnetta, thanks. Glad you got a laugh.

Michelle's Spell said...


This one made me laugh! I love it --especially the free advice part. I do not tell anyone I randomly meet that I write -- I ended up editing a ton of stuff for my dentist this way. Nightmare!