Even a writer is not an island. Most of us mix with other writers, either out of want or necessity. However, unsupervised encounters between writers may result in unintended injuries – external and internal. So here are some suggested rules for harm minimisation when associating with fellow scribes.
- Don’t tell a writer suffering from writer’s block that you have never understood this concept, because for you writing is so effortless that you often feel like a medium through whom your characters speak.
- Don’t give your work to someone to read and say “enjoy”, even if personally you find your story highly entertaining.
- Don’t give your published (or unpublished) book as a birthday gift – even if you’re certain that mankind will be infinitely enriched by reading it.
- Don’t ask other writers when the book they’re writing will be published, unless you are prepared for an untimely death.
- Don’t email, tweet or facebook other writers (or anyone, for that matter) asking them to buy your book. And if you really must do so, don’t use CAPITAL LETTERS in your requests.
- Don’t ask writers more successful than you to refer you to their agent, at least not during the first decade of your acquaintance.
- While staying in a shared writers’ retreat, don’t suggest a night of readings, then go first, read half your novel, yawn, say you’ve had too much wine and go to bed.
- On that last point, when going to a writers’ retreat, don’t show up with bottles of wine and finish them all by yourself.
- Still at a retreat – don’t dominate the dinner conversation by discussing your dilemma of which publisher to choose out of the twelve fighting over your book.
- Don’t answer questions about your book by saying “You’ll have to read the book to find out”.
- Don’t tell memoirists that you find memoir writing self-indulgent.
- Don’t tell novelists that contemporary novels suck.
- Don’t tell poets anything. Of all creative species, poets live the shortest and most troubled lives – there is research to prove this. I must reinforce this point: tell poets nothing. Just listen. They need you.
Originally published at: http://writersvictoria.org.au/news-views/post/writers-social-etiquette/#sthash.VVVroqZx.dpuf