How To Deal With Writers

Old notebook (9 Nov 2012-14 Oct 2014) and New notebook (14 Oct 2014- )

A post shared by Ivy (@byivy) on

Dear friends and family (but mostly family, especially the extended kind),

I write a lot. It’s a thing I enjoy. I write fiction, mostly. Novels, short stories, articles, poems, whatever I want to write, I’ll write. Mostly by hand for stuff that isn’t for school, but a lot of it is typed, too. My stories nine times out of ten have a female main character, another nine out of ten contain supernatural elements, and I try my best to include representation of all kinds of people. Am I published? No. Do I plan to get published? Well, it’s not exactly something you can easily plan, but I wouldn’t mind it. Am I the next J.K. Rowling? No. Please stop saying that, especially if you haven’t read any of my stuff and that’s the only author you can name. I appreciate your support, but it’s just so cliché. You think I’m creative? Thank you. You still haven’t read anything of mine, though. Yes, I did fill up that whole notebook up to where I am now. No, that’s not the whole thing.

Sometimes my writing is neat printing, sometimes fancy cursive, sometimes illegible scribbles. I have doodles in the borders, just ignore them. They don’t really have anything to do with the story, they’re just what happens when I think. Those words in the border are just things I wrote down when I had no paper. Ignore them, too. Yes, some lines or entire pages are crossed out or scribbled over. That’s what happens when I change my mind about something or realize I’ve got a plot-hole. I’m currently on chapter 197 (as of Feb 6, 2015). Yes, I write a lot, but my chapters are also really short, so it’s not as much as you think.

No, my writing isn’t perfect. There are spelling errors, punctuation mistakes, and plot-holes I haven’t caught. They exist, especially in the first drafts that you read from over my shoulder. If you see a mistake, I would love for you to point it out to me. If you could do it in a non-derogatory manner, that would be even better. If you read something of mine and think it’s good but could be better, don’t tell me it’s the best thing you’ve ever read. If you hate it, don’t tell me it’s good. If you don’t like it, and you say you don’t like it, and I ask why not, I am not hurt or offended. Don’t reply with something like, “It’s just not my thing.” Give it to me straight. Give me your opinion, even if it’s an opinion no one else seems to share.

In the event that you see me writing, approach with caution. If I’m doodling, hesitating, or make eye-contact, it is safe to approach. Smiles are a good sign. But if I’m scribbling away furiously with my head bent and I look like I wouldn’t notice if I were on fire, leave me alone and try again later. I’ve had some rare strike of inspiration and I’m trying to get it all down as quickly as possible. If you approach, I will smile and talk and do whatever is socially acceptable. I’ll also lose my train of thought and the chances of me finding it again are only 25%—50% if I ended in the middle of a sentence. These are not great odds. I will not tell you, but I will not be happy about being distracted in the middle of a run.

Every so often, I won’t feel hopeless as a writer. On these occasions, I might want to go over what I have achieved and maybe even brag a little. These lapses in humility are few and far between. Just humour me. Listen if possible, or just pretend to listen. When I return to my default thought processes about how everything I write is terrible, your attention will make it hurt less. I will be forever grateful.

I think I’ve covered everything I normally get asked as well as everything I want you to know. Heed all I’ve written here and you won’t end up as the villain of my next story.

Sincerely,

Ivy

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