10 tips for dating a writer

1. Try not to speak in sound bytes, because they will be stolen.

2. Would you interrupt a supercomputer when it’s cracking a code? Would you interrupt a jumbo jet when it’s refueling? Then don’t interrupt a writer when she or he is napping.

3. Sometimes it seems like your writer boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t do anything during the day. It’s like suddenly spending five hours at a coffee shop isn’t as intrinsically worthwhile as performing heart surgery. But you know what? Those people whose lives were saved on the operating table will eventually die of old age, but the writer’s blog entry will live forever online. At least until link rot sets in.

4. An unpublished writer is still a writer. Every rich and famous author was once a wannabe. Keep that in mind the next time the rent check bounces.

5. Only writing well and honestly can make your significant other truly happy. It’s nothing you did wrong. Words mean more than love to the writer. Words are love. But lucky for you, your writer will keep trying to put her love into words.

6. If you guys have a fight, it’s going to be transcribed into prose, and like it or not, the kids will probably read it one day. If you guys have sex, yikes. I hope you fare better than you did in the fight.

7. Make sure you fall in love with both the person and with the person’s alter ego who ceaselessly translates that life into prose. The two are equally important, and they are different. But you can’t have one without the other. You have to love the girl’s poetry, and you have to love the girl who makes fun of her poetry. It’s a tough job, but someone has to pay the writer’s bills.

8. Is it pretension, or is it creative license? Is it entitlement, or is it art? Are you dating the best writer in the world, or the biggest asshole in the world? Be willing to repress these questions if you date a writer.

9. Be honest with yourself. You’d probably be happier with a 9-5 bank teller who brings home a steady salary instead of an unemployed writer who brings home crumpled-up paper and mood swings. But the writer you love would probably be happier with a billionaire patron who asks no questions. So count your blessings.

10. Please excuse the occasional suspension of reality. Sometimes your loved one’s life doesn’t make sense until it’s written down. If the writer needs to delay the resolution of an argument for a year in order to write a novel that will prove she was right all along, just be patient. If you were a writer, you could also be right all the time. But you chose to pursue more challenging goals – like loving a writer. Just pray that one day this will all pay off in book royalties. At the very least you’ll be featured in the acknowledgments.

8 Thoughts on “10 tips for dating a writer

  1. Pingback: links for 2008-05-16 « Charlottesville Words

  2. baconfat on May 16, 2008 at 12:42 pm said:

    link rot, ha.

    instant rimshot

  3. Anonymous on July 30, 2008 at 10:23 pm said:

    That was actually quite helpful. I’m dating a writer now and… well, one of my screw-ups is already subtly and metaphorically committed to paper.
    It’s nice to know that’s normal, to an extent.
    (but at least he’s adorable in writing world)

  4. Haha, i enjoyed this. I’m a writer and I never looked at it that way–Are you dating the best writer in the world or the biggest asshole in the world?



  5. harsha on March 24, 2009 at 11:35 pm said:


  6. Preach on, brother. #9. “…count your blessings,” indeed.

  7. Tellitlikeitis on January 20, 2010 at 9:27 pm said:

    What good tips!

  8. Thanks for another excellent post. The place else may just anybody get that kind of information in such an ideal manner of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m on the search for such information.

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