How To Survive A Relationship With A Writer

I discovered this list of top ten tips on how to survive a relationship with a writer over at

Numbers 4, 5, and 10 are definitely sage advice.

Top Ten Tips

1. Never ever ask when the book will be published.

2. Do not ask a writer if they wished they’d written the latest best seller.

3. Never say you’re writing a book. Never ever say you’d also write a book if you only had the time.

4. Don’t call the police if you happen to see a writer’s browsing history. The average writer is not planning to poison you, hire a hit man, or move to Afghanistan. It’s simply research.

5. Leave the writer alone when the writer is actually writing. You have no idea how difficult it is to enter the zone.

6. Don’t pick unfair fights with a writer. Writers do get their revenge in print.

7. If you do want to fight, make it memorable. The writer is always looking for material.

8. If your writer wanders off to a party, don’t panic. Writers love to inspect the host’s bookshelves and medicine cabinets.

9. Buy your writer notebooks and cute pens as gifts. Do not buy flowers. Chocolate is also acceptable.

10. Leave your writer alone when a rejection letter arrives. After the deadly silence, screaming, crying, moaning have subsided, offer your writer a cup of coffee or tea. And a cupcake. Add a huge hug.

Anyone care to add to the list?

Here’s my addition:

11.ย When your writer is sobbing at the keyboard and staring at a blank screen, bring one bottle of wine (glass optional) and quietly leave without comment.



79 thoughts on “How To Survive A Relationship With A Writer

  1. All good advice, but you’re definitely right about 4,5 and 10 being really ‘sage’. The author of these ten gems certainly has a sense of humour. Could anyone read Number 10 without laughing? Thank you for sharing these, Jack. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. You’re welcome, Millie; glad you enjoyed the list. I could probably add another: “When your writer is sobbing at the keyboard and staring at a blank screen, bring one bottle of wine (glass optional) and quietly leave without comment.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. This is VERY sage advice, Jack! No. 5 really hit home. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been interrupted (often for very good reasons ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and couldn’t quite reenter the writing zone.

  4. “Leave the writer alone when the writer is actually writing. You have no idea how difficult it is to enter the zone.”

    I will never, ever, be able to convince my wife of this.

    • I can probably convince my husband of this, but my kids are another story:

      “Oh, you’re writing, Mom? Well I want to sit on your lap, so you need to put that away and pay attention to me now because I’m an adorable attention hog and if you don’t, I’ll throw a temper tantrum till I get my way. Either way, you won’t be writing any time soon.” ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜›

      None of my kids have ever actually said that, but I’m pretty sure those are the exact thoughts that run through my three-year-old’s head when he sees me with a notebook or a computer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Hugs to you, Kay. You have my sympathy but, after all, it is a three-year-old and I suppose a suggestion to put locks on the doors is out of the question? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Sadly, the lock to my office door is on the wrong side, which means the kids can lock me in but I can’t lock them out. I occasionally retreat to my room, where the lock is on the right side of the door, but the computer’s downstairs, where there is no door, never mind a lock.

        It’s like the old saying goes: “The quickest way to get a toddler’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable.” Thank goodness summer’s coming. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • It sure can’t hurt – my boys love the outdoors, and with their older siblings out of school for three months, I can send the lot of them outside to play so I can get some work done. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. I’ve been told that more times than I can remember. People have also told me specifically that they have this great idea for a book but haven’t had the chance to write it yet. Shaking your head is probably the best thing you can do in the situation. Thanks for this list!

  6. This post really made me smile. Exactly what I needed today. Thank you for sharing.
    By the way many thanks for stopping by my blog and liking my post The Human Spirit ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Number 4 cracked me up. My browser history is frightening. Poisonous berries? What remains after burning a body? Stages of decomposition? Explosives, crossbows, and blades…I think quite a few writers are on watch lists.

  8. Don’t tell a picture book author you love her illustrations-unless she’s also the illustrator. Just kidding-I really do enjoy passing compliments along to the illustrator. It’s usually the first thing people say to me at author visits or book signings. But, still, it is a little like telling me my sister is really beautiful, while I nod in awkward agreement. Ha!

  9. I’m suffering a lot at the number 10 stage at the moment, rejection is such an unpleasant aspect of being or hoping to be a writer. The rest are all so true!

    • Completely understand, marjma2014. As it is in life, rejection is (unfortunately) one of the unpleasant aspects of writing. I’m reminded of the story of Mario Puzo, author of the Godfather crime series. He was, as the story goes, rejected by 28 publishers and told his work was of no interest. Always hope if we just keep trying! Thank you for posting.

  10. Hi,
    Did you know I wrote about the same EXACT topic for LifeHack? Weird.
    Thanks for visiting my site yesterday. I’m glad you liked my expert interview. Always nice to see you.

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  12. Perhaps suggest other career choices that are very connected to writing such as working in a pencil factory or down at the paper mill over in Langford County. One can always hang around at Earl’s barber shop at lunch or after work and pick up a few ideas while the boys are playing checkers. I understand there is also a poker game in the back and a snort or two (or three) of good whiskey is always available if one is so inclined. Thanks visit my blog.

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