Once upon a time, my life was simple. I was a wee, innocent child who did wee, innocent things — living each day free of worry or stress, flitting from one meaningless pastime to the next with the attention-span of a meerkat high on caffeine.
Then one day, I made the blindingly stupid decision to become a writer.
And my days of peace and simplicity ended.
Authorhood is a seductive evil that ensnares young, clueless creatives in the prime of their life and saps the spirit from their bones. I warn you, folks — this is not a danger we should ignore. With Camp NaNoWriMo fast upon us and for the sake of all the creative younglings who teeter on the brink of destroying their lives, I will now pour forth my abundant wisdom and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt why you should definitely NOT become a writer.
Reason #1 // You will develop strange habits.
This is the basic foundation you must accept if you want to become one of us: Writers do weird things. It’s not uncommon for a sibling or parent to open a door and find us… well…
Yeah. Writers do weird things.
We’re also known to blurt nonsensical words that have no meaning to anyone but us, and willingly hurt ourselves for the sake of “knowing what it feels like.”
(This may or may not entail standing in the snow barefoot, going the whole day without food, touching an electric fence, etc.)
(All of which I definitely HAVE NOT done.)
Face it: If you become a writer, be prepared to sprawl on your bedroom floor while reciting Shakespeare in Palpatine’s voice, or covertly take notes on random strangers you meet at Walmart, or hold abnormally serene conversations with other writers about killing your characters.
…oh, did I not mention that? Yes, we writers have but one motto when it comes to our characters:
Reason #2 // You will start talking to yourself.
This is really just a subcategory of the above, but I think it needs special attention.
The day will come when you find yourself hunched over your keyboard, cackling in Gollum-speak about something morbid — only to reply to yourself because no one else understands what you’re jabbering about.
This day will come, and when it does, your corruption will be complete.
Reason #3 // You will never read books the same way again.
I long for the days before Crazed-Perfectionist-Editor mode was activated. Back when I wasn’t constantly scrutinizing other people’s books for the slightest plot inconsistency or feeble usage of the Show-Don’t-Tell rule. Back when I could read books like Nancy Drew or The Bobbsey Twins and genuinely not recognize how stupid they were.
Reason #4 // Your characters won’t leave you alone.
Say goodbye to blissful solitude. From now on, you have a personal circus of weirdos tailing you literally EVERYWHERE. In the car. In the shower. When you’re trying to sleep. They will come to whisper in your ear, and no matter what time it is or what’s going on around you, you’ll be forced to listen to their petty griping or pitiful plot ideas.
You can’t get rid of them.
It’s a legitimate hazard sometimes. Like when they start whispering in the middle of church.
Reason #5 // Your web history will suffer.
We’re all 97% percent certain the FBI will show up on our doorsteps one day.
In the meantime, I’m still trying to devise a legitimate excuse as to why I was researching “poisonous reindeer.”
Reason #6 // You will be lonely.
To be a writer is to straddle two worlds at once. The world we’re forced to inhabit, and the world we’ve created inside our heads. Unfortunately, no matter how well we put that world into words, we’re ultimately the only ones who can know it for what it is — the only ones who can taste and feel and see a reality beyond what normal humans experience.
It’s amazing. But at the same time, it can be incredibly lonely. Most people don’t understand writers, or what it’s like in our heads. Most people don’t even care. I’ve always been a solitary child, but as I grew older and went deeper into my worlds, I began to realize I wasn’t a loner because I didn’t have opportunities to make friends, but because none of my peers could understand why I thought and acted differently.
Those sites OBVIOUSLY don’t exist.
Reason #7 // Your vocabulary will expand.
Pretty soon, you’ll find yourself using words such as “absquatulate” or “umbriferous” with perfect ease, as the rest of your family stares at you in silent horror.
Reason #8 // People won’t take you seriously.
Be prepared for a plethora of condescending remarks from people who assume the only thing teenagers are capable of writing is fanfiction.
Yes. This is a legitimate belief some people have.
Reason #9 // You will learn a new definition for stress.
With self-doubt constantly whittling away at your fortitude, a Titanic-size list of goals that will never be accomplished, things to be researched, platforms to be built — not to mention a plot that doesn’t make sense and characters who hate your guts and WON’T DO WHAT THEY’RE TOLD, for pity sake…
…yeah, I’ll leave it at that.
Reason #10 // God might actually teach you something.
Pffft, who wants that, right?
No, seriously. Writing is hard work, and if you think that God won’t absolutely take advantage of that fact and shove some hard-hitting lessons about life and responsibility down your throat, THINK AGAIN. It will be difficult, grueling, and even tortuous at times. If you’re not prepared for that, well, you’d better save yourself the trouble and stop now.
On the flip-side, what He teaches you through the experience will go on to make you a wiser, more well-balanced individual with a whole lot of faith and confidence, so…
Well, I hope I’ve succeeded in talking you out of becoming a writer. It’s a dangerous profession, and not for the faint of heart.
You’ve been warned.
*as she shoves her tongue in cheek*
On a different note, I have a small but significant announcement: Folks… I’m leaving. No, no, not forever (that trick doesn’t work anymore…), but the fact of the matter is, Camp Nano starts in three days and my brain is already shot. For the sake of not draining myself before I’ve even started, I’m going on a blogging hiatus for the month of April.
*cue the horrified gasps*
Yep, you will be deprived of my scintillating presence for an entire month! How will you possibly survive…
In the meantime, hopefully no one forgets me or dies from Camp Nano. Long live the Writing Empire, and I’LL SEE YOU GUYS IN MAY!!