Writers are Weird

First I would be remiss to say nothing about the passing of Bob Shepperd and George Steinbrenner. Both were staples in the Yankee community and earned the love and respect of fans across the country. They will be sorely missed.

Second. It’s true. We are a bit strange, we writers. See my last post and comments concerning how we come up with names for our characters for examples including, but not limited to, baby books. eavesdropping, and eureka moments in the car.

Another reason why I have reached this conclusion sprang from a writing book I was reading yesterday. The book was entitled Write Great Fiction: Description and Setting by Ron Someone or Other (I don’t have the book on me to reference and am far too lazy to just Google it at the moment). The advice he imparted to his readership went something as follows:

Tote a small legal pad or post-its and pens around with you at all times and pay attention to details. This way you can transcribe these details and remember them to therefore use them to aid you in your descriptions for a story at a later date.

Such advice will not at all seem strange to a writer because – odds are – if you’re a very serious writer you do this anyway. You love the details. You note them regardless of advice from a writing book and copy down what it is about them that caught your eye and inspire you. You sit in the Borders cafe and write about the particular way she smirked snarkily at him. You jot down on your napkin how the little boy’s lip quivered as he teetered dangerously on the precipice of good behavior and full-blown tantrum. Sometimes you follow the lady from the cafe to the self-help section and memorize how she flipped through the relationship books, revealing her tattered love affair she just ended the other day. Sometimes you even sit concealed in the bookshelves and exercise your espionage skills while gathering ammunition from unsuspecting passers-by. It is part of your everyday writing life.

But think about it – that’s weird. Who does that? Stalkers. Creepers. People other people call the police on. Do you care? Of course not. You need to do all the above actions. How can your create genuine characters if you do not have material from genuine people?

Another tell-tale action of a writer to which the general populace may not ascribe: talking to themselves. We all do it, don’t deny it. Our best dialogue comes from the times we are alone in our cars and we actually say it aloud, adopting different voiced and personas for each character. Sometimes we even forget to close the windows and other people hear snippets of the “conversation,” eliciting confused stares. After all, there is only one person in the car, so why are they hearing two voices? They then stomp on the gas pedal with all possible haste and leave you in the dust when the light turns green.

And who can blame them? To a random outsider, generally when a person is speaking to herself in different tones, she is weird.

My final piece of evidence comes in the very form of what writers live and breathe to do: make up fictional people, places and things. For whatever reason, our lives bore us (even if it’s just a teeny bit) and we feel compelled to create the people we wish to be in the time and place in which we believe is the best fit for our personalities. We concoct villains and fantastic scenarios to live the drama and wild adventures we wish we could through our characters. Talk about living vicariously through others.

Once again, most people probably don’t do this. That makes us weird.

But, without this introverted dialogue, fantastical imaginings and stalker-like behavior our writing would not be the masterpiece into which is blossoms. Books would not be written. Plays would not be penned. Stories would be left untold. How many times do you want to bet Shakespeare spoke out To Be or Not to Be to the looking-glass? Austen and the Bronte’s more than likely enacted Mr. Darcy and their other respective heroes sweeping their respective heroines off their feet in the confines of their carriages and phaetons. Stephen King … not going there.

Without the espionage, stalking, eavesdropping, talking to selves and just general habits that non-writers would deem odd are essential ingredients to the creation of literature. I would rather be considered weird by people I don’t know than forfeit my writing. We need it to write. We need our writing to be the best it can be both for publication and our own personal gratification.

Writers, embrace your weirdness. You’re not weird. Anyone who ever penned any small bit of fiction went through the exact same process as you did.

It’s the only way we’ll produce new books. And Lord knows the world needs books.

But if anyone needs confirmation that I myself am a bit of an odd duck, check out this picture of me doing construction on the Home Makeover a few weeks ago. Everyone else posed nicely, but I chose to:

It spruced things up a little bit. And after all, that’s what writers do. Normal is boring!

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About Miss Rosemary

is a recent college graduate from NY hoping to complete her novel of ten years. Stop by her blog, Miss Rosemary's Novel Ideas at http://missrosemary.net or contact her at MissRosemarysNovelIdeas@gmail.com with comments, questions and suggestions. She'd love to hear from you! View all posts by Miss Rosemary

52 responses to “Writers are Weird

  • Bethany

    I think that’s why I find “advice for writers” so strange. When have you read any (good advice) and found that you didn’t already know that? “Read aloud to perfect dialogue”. Really, Sherlock? Thanks for that gem. 😉

  • Goggles and Lace

    I love you! Lol!

    On a side note, I have a book recommendation! Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time by… someone…. *rummages…* you live in my purse, where the hell did I– HA! Jordan E. Rosenfeld! Handy things in that book. I recommend it if you haven’t read it.

    Fantastic post as always. ❤ Love the picture!

    • Miss Rosemary

      Thank you, and thank you! Love you too 🙂
      I will look that book up, especially because every time I do something a tad … unconventional, my friend Maggie tells me, “Ro! Stop making a scene!!!!!!”

  • highheelsandslippers

    So true, so true! Always good to know that you’re not the only weird one around through eh? 🙂

  • brownpaperbaggirl

    All I can say is…thank goodness us writers are weird! What a bore “normal” is.

    Love the post. Great photo, too, by the way, you wonder woman!

  • Emily and Her Little Pink Notes

    I am not a writer but I believe we have something in common: weirdness , especially the “espionage” part I do it all the time
    Cool Picture Weirdo 🙂

  • Rowenna

    I think the only norm about writers is that there is no norm…and so funny that this advice, to carry a notepad and jot down the details, speaks to the fact that writers are observers first. Nice post!

  • Kiki

    I can just see you now:

    “Miss, please come out from behind the tree.”
    “Oh no, Officer, I swear wasn’t following them! I’m a *writer*!”

  • Lar

    Good Morning-
    I wanted to add comment to your opinion that we, the writers and attempters of such are weird. I think you take liberties with the weird word. That I have a stuffed pet duck and a rubber snake to keep at bay the potential rats were they to attack, I think not weird. That the duck speaks French in Alsatian Elsässerditsch dialect is I believe merely a careful protection on my part as I may one day wake up a nomadic wanderer close by the Ill. I mean how would I ever get along? How would I buy food? How would I ask about new cable channels and how to pirate them in a neighborly way? Being a nomad doesn’t mean you can not have the finer things in life. You see, it is simply good planning. I would have my duck! J’aurais mon canard!
    And, lest you think a rubber snake would ward nothing, it at this moment has a small but nonetheless deadly rubber rat in its fangs as we or actually I speak, er, write. I am somewhat concerned however, about the large lump in its midsection. Silly to think a toy could be . . . Nah! Le serpent a mangé le chien! Duh! Alors le canard a appris le français Alsacien en tout cas.
    But my neighbor did come to the door softly thumping for my attention yesterday. Seems she has a small lost dog. Poor thing, she lost her hands in a horrible paper cut or possibly sewing accident years ago. . .no, the neighbor. Or so goes the popular small town version of history and moderate potential for truth.
    I looked quickly to the snake for explanation and he simply smiled and slurped in a few quick bits of fluff. Well that could have been a dust ball I had missed couldn’t it?
    My neighbor, stumped away looking for Hopkins. I never noticed she had no feet. Oh well.
    Anyway ma’am, as I said, I believe you overstep your bounds of judgment in defining us with such a broad brush. I believe to my paws I am not weird and to prove it I will eat this goldfish. See!? Not weird! Thank you, thank you very much.

    Fondly, Al
    Alphonse la chien mangeant serpent, Esq. . .er, Lar

  • Lua

    Your final piece of evidence is spot on (all of them are but that one hit home): I’m bored all the time! 🙂 And that is why I started to read & write stories in the first place, to entertain myself.
    We Are WEIRD!! 🙂 And I love that about us, we rock!

  • amanda

    Weird is quirky, and quirky is interesting. Why be any other way? My kind of post!

  • Helen Ginger

    Totally explains why writers occasionally get together for lunch or just to talk. We like having a group where we’re not weird, or at least we’re not the weirdest in the group.

    Straight From Hel

  • slightlyignorant

    Amen, sistah!

    You said it all. I have to say that may be the easiest thing about writing for me – embracing my weirdness is something I’ve been doing for years. I just have an excuse for it now :P.

  • Hema P.

    Haha, Rosemary, well said. But weird is just a definition and depends upon who’s saying it, doesn’t it?

  • Clare Sager

    Hear hear! Very well put. I’m still trying to work out if I’m a ‘people watcher’ (or as most people put it, nosy) first and use writing as an excuse for it or whether I’m a writer and that is why I enjoy people watching … It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation, methinks!

    • Miss Rosemary

      Haha! Well said. The general populace does not enjoy nosy people, but nosy people (who are only nosy for the sake of their craft) rather enjoy being nosy, I’d say.
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • krisceratops

    Fortunately, I was blessed with an improbably accurate memory for details, and am thus allowed to revel in my weirdness discreetly while in public. When I’m looking for inspiration at my desk, I find myself able to quite easily shuffle through my brain’s filing and pull out the particular person or circumstance I need out of my memories. So although I am definitely weird in my gawking (and perhaps also the filing?), I am able to avoid the awkwardness of transcribing things while they are happening. If not for this, I don’t think I would have the courage to be so weird in public. I deeply admire your level of dedication to the craft!

    PS. I feel morally obligated to point out the misspelling of “weird” in the title of this post. Also how impressed I am that you managed to totally rock the construction blue-shirt-and-cutoffs look. Very Benny Benassi of you! (Yes, I did go there.)

    • Miss Rosemary

      I would say I spelled it wrong on purpose … but instead we’re jut not going to talk about it and I’ll discreetly change it 🙂 Another odd ting about me: being a writer, I cannot spell.

      And I do envy you for your ability to be clandestinely inspired. It would spare me very awkward moments should i posses this quality. But then again, the more awkward situations I find myself in, the more material for writing I have …

      • krisceratops

        It’s not that I am inspired from nothing, I definitely do draw from personal experiences… I’m just good enough at remembering them that I don’t have to write them down in the moment, as they are happening. Sorry about the spelling correction. I did wonder for a bit if it was intentional, but knew that I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I didn’t at least point it out. I am, after all, a writer/editor/linguist- – the perfect storm of nitpickiness 😉

      • Miss Rosemary

        I’d rather the errors be pointed out then left alone to make me look silly 🙂 And it’s the remembering and drawing from nothing physically written out that I envy. I could have the best idea in the while world but if I don’t jot it down, when it comes to the actual writing of the story … I’m totally lost.

  • Ollin Morales

    Oh Miss Rosemary, you are awesome. Especially that picture of you, lol. You are so so right. I am weird, and thanks to your post I don’t feel so “weird” about it, lol. Oh yeah, I’ve been talking to myself and playing out imaginary worlds since I was a kid. Eavesdropping, listening to random stories and jotting them down in my head for potential future use in a novel, etc etc etc. Boy are we a strange group. I didn’t realize this much until after your post. No wonder people have an phobia of artists, we can seem pretty crazy.

    Great post! 🙂

    • Miss Rosemary

      It doens’t seem odd until you actually take the time to disect it. But I think it’s hysterical 🙂 We sure are a strange group … but at least we’re a group and not loners!

  • unabridgedgirl

    Oh, my! I do the car thing all the time…talking out loud in different voices, trying to find the right dialogue. I am so weird. And I a proud of it!

  • Artswebshow

    writers are supposed to be weird.
    I personally cling to the weird steriotype
    We all should. lol

  • Cassandra Jade

    I don’t know that writers are weirder than any other group of people. You get a group of engineers together and weird things happen (Dilbert taught us that). Group of construction workers, group of teachers, group of anything and you are going to see some weird and unusual tweaks unique to that group.
    Still, writers may be a little stranger than the norm.

    • Miss Rosemary

      Haha, very true! I bet if Dilbert had a blog, there would have been several Engineers are Weird posts. lol I think everyone andevery group has their own quirks. And it makes for great material.

  • Lar

    Rose-
    I think I proved your point about weirdness. Not sure this applies to many but I know some are similarly afflicted. My writing for good or bad is more the release of the hounds than a planned attack are party. I put pen to paper, which is a bad idea for after 42 years in medicine I can not read my own writing let alone suggest anyone else try. So mostly I put fingers to keys and just wait for something to happen. My earlier response to you concerning Alsatian French philosophy is an example. It is what came out while I was thinking about communing with muses and weirdness spirits of the short story gods. I often wonder how folks actually plan to write with character scenarios and subject definition predetermined. Sorry kiddo that is what came out. Looked to be not totally ridiculous so I posted it. But as I read it again the tone of it simply proves the point. Writers ARE weird. And I am weirder than many. I don’t speak French, why in the world would I attempt to write in it. Ah me!
    I read your work every day when I can. And it is so accessible I can not imagine it won’t become fodder for more and wider discussion. My God! I quote you! Please keep it up and try to keep us in line. Or me anyways. BTW I have followed your adventures as a Yankee. Amazing stuff. That’s baseball right? 🙂 Lar

    • Miss Rosemary

      Yes, Yankees are baseball. The most sucessful team in sports in fact with 27 championships. It’s a great job and I love every second of it.

      And thank you so much for the encouragement! It’s comments like that which make me believe I might eventually make it as a novelist.

  • kimberlyloomis

    Lol! Love the pic! And, while I don’t stalk, I do engage in people watching when the opportunities permit (I’m usually out with a two year old who does not enable this to happen over much). I salute you, my fellow weirdo! 😉

    • Miss Rosemary

      Ah yes, children do occupy a great deal of one’s time. While I do not have children of my own, I am the oldestof four, the oldest cousin on my mother’s side, the second oldest cousin on my fathers side and I worked at a daycare for a year and a half as well as doing private babysitting all last summer. You do not have time do breathe. However, you can get some great material from kids. For example, I will be putting this in a novel soon: I told my youngest cousin that he had gotten so tall at our last family reunion and he looked up at me and replied in all seriousness, “Yea, you look shorter than I remember.”

      • kimberlyloomis

        That’s great! And you’re so right. Every day there’s something interesting that crops up and SOMETIMES it has nothing to do with the awe of “how did that food get over there”. 😉

  • citiesofthemind

    Nicely put.
    Oh yeah, if anyone ever wanted me committed, they’d just need to stick a tape recorder in my car, and let me drive alone. Somehow, I don’t think it would help to explain that it wasn’t exactly “yourself” you were talking to.

  • theliterarylollipop

    Normal is definitely boring! I say, keep it weird! 🙂

  • Keshav Ram Narla

    Normal is boring..yaay! I love that

    To prove that – I have my own pic

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