Rules for Dating a Writer

© Can Stock Photo / NicoletaIonescu

A few years ago I came across a Facebook meme a musician friend had posted about the rules for dating a musician. It was an interesting read. It made the point that a gig is not a date, and not to expect your boyfriend or girlfriend to give you their undivided attention as interacting with the public is part of their job.

For those of us who work in creative fields, whether it’s music, acting, fine arts such as painting, or writing books, public appearances come with the territory. Interacting with fans or followers is an important part of our job, and it’s imperative that we make a positive impression. We also work an unconventional job. We generally don’t work a normal 9 to 5 work week, and writers and artists in particular often work at home. In other words, while we have a lot to offer, and while we very much appreciate your love and support, we’re not your typical boyfriend or girlfriend.

By the way, most of these rules would also apply if you have a friend or a family member who’s an author or an artist.

Marina Martindale

the rules for dating a writer

  1. Writing is our passion. It is not a hobby.
  2. Authors and writers are often introverts. Please don’t mistake our quietness for conceit or arrogance.
  3. Writing is not a performance art. Please allow us the time and space to work on our craft.
  4. Please don’t quiz us about our works in progress. If we want you to know what we’re working on we’ll be happy to tell you about it.
  5. Never, ever look over our shoulders while we’re writing!
  6. A missed deadline can be a career killer. If we tell you we’re on a deadline it doesn’t mean we’re trying to avoid you. It means we’re on a deadline.
  7. Please don’t tell us about this great idea you have for a book unless you’re actually writing it.
  8. If we want your feedback we’ll ask you for it. If we don’t, then please don’t tell us what you think we should be writing.
  9. Please don’t ask us to make you into a character in one of our books.
  10. A book signing is for meeting fans and promoting our books. It’s not a place for you to hang out.
  11. Please don’t brag to your families, friends and coworkers about how you’re dating an author. We’re not trophies.
  12. Please don’t ask us for free copies of our books for your friends and coworkers.
  13. Never ask us how much money we made on our last book, or how many books we’ve sold, unless you want us to quiz you about how much money you job pays you.
  14. We work in an extremely competitive business and we can’t all be as famous Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. Never confuse talent with fame.
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