Writers tend to be more self-absorbed than the average person. We think we are smarter than everybody else just because we can slightly better articulate our thoughts and emotions. We call people out for being pretentious because we feel insecure about how inauthentic we are. If a part of Twitter’s data repository manages to survive an alien invasion, and our tweets are the only proof of human existence, those aliens may wonder why such noble, kind, and intelligent people behaved so idiotically and selfishly. Only in language have we found the comfort to express our emotions. But it has given us delusions of social adequacy.
These are some of the reasons why writers are annoying to get close to; perhaps, it is why we end up egging friends, family members, and colleagues to punch us in the face.
Here are four things that you, as a writer, must stop doing.
Do not grammatically correct people in the middle of an argument
It is an awful thing to do, even when you are having a meaningful conversation. Stop pretending as though it has anything to do with the respect you have for grammar. Why do you aspire to be a “grammar Nazi”? Your grammar is far from perfect, and you do not have the discipline to join the Third Reich. You are either clutching at straws since the conversation is not in your favor or trying to kick someone when they are already down. Either way, you are a terrible person. With some commitment, you can work your way up to be a Nazi.
Do not be a jerk about exposing people to your favorite writers
Recommending a book can be a beautiful thing because it can improve people’s lives. You may help discover strange, beautiful worlds. At times, you may even help them find the tools to improve their lives. The problem is that as writers, we often irritate readers by recommending books with an uncomfortable level of intensity. It is worse when we behave this way to someone with whom we are close. The authors of those books, if alive, sleep just fine. A person’s reading habits may require some guidance, not the rants of a sanctimonious and undemocratic cult leader.
Do not romanticize your crappy career choices
Being a writer is not a dream that came true. It is a bomb shelter. Stop telling everyone how fulfilling it is to be a writer. Perhaps, it is understandable that you take your craft seriously. Your journey as a writer may have been a tough, complicated one. Maybe, it continues to be a struggle. Sometimes, you even wonder why you made this career choice. But please, do not romanticize it in hindsight. No one wants to hear it. People go through all sorts of journeys to get where they are. They are still slaves to the grind. If they started waxing romantic about their struggles, it would not take a pandemic to screw up the economy.
Do not try to solve real conflicts with real talk on social media
Writing is not a tool to handle conflicts. You cannot substitute it for a direct conversation. The next time you have a problem with a loved one, talk to them. Do not put them through the tedious process of reading blog entries, angry tweets, and depressing Facebook posts to understand your feelings. What if they recorded a podcast about your bad qualities because they did not want to confront you? Writing is worse because it takes minimal effort to be a jerk.
As a writer, we may not fathom the level of annoyance we cause. It rings truer when surrounded by familiar faces because we get to be ourselves, albeit with limited restrictions. However, being punched in our face also becomes a realistic possibility.
It is important to remind ourselves that we are not special. We are not unique. We are not smarter than people who earn a living doing things that may not appeal to them. And what are we doing, anyway? Every word we use a made-up word. Every sentence we write takes us further from what the universe may be trying to say.
We have forgone the joys of being alive, experiencing the moment, simply because we enjoy stringing together words and sentences. We abide by a set of fantasy rules and call it a never-ending journey to perfection. We rate each other’s successes based on profit and popularity, neither of which is any indication of authenticity.
Today, we must ask ourselves, “Is it really worth getting punched in the face by someone we care about?”