Writers Are a Strange Lot

Writers are Strange Lot by Lori Hatcher


Writers are a Strange Lot

by Lori Hatcher

My husband puts up with a lot.

He’ll be the first to tell you that living with a writer is, shall we say, different. He knows writers are a strange lot.

We can be physically present but mentally light years (or centuries) away.

While it may appear that we’re talking to ourselves, if you ask us, we’ll deny it.

“Oh no, I’m not talking to myself. It’s the characters in my head who are talking. I’m just moderating the discussion.” Uh, yeah, I think there’s medication for that.

My husband knows I’m always collecting material, and no one is exempt. My friends, family, and even my dental patients occasionally show up in one of my devotions or blog posts. Even difficult people (whose names have been changed, of course), can be material for the next inspiration. One of my author friends has a t-shirt that says, Be nice to me or I’ll kill you in my next book.

I can’t wear that shirt because I’m a non-fiction writer. My t-shirt would say, I’ll tell you how to kill the character in your next book in five easy steps. Uh, yeah, I think there’s jail time for that.

Writers ask for strange gifts for their birthdays and Christmas. Money to go toward the next writers’ conference. Another journal. An Amazon gift card so they can buy their writer friends’ latest books. One year I asked my husband for a three-day personal retreat at The Cove in Asheville. “Who would you like to go with?” he asked.

“No one,” I responded. “That would spoil all the fun.” Besides, I carry my friends in my head, remember?

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I don’t know how many times I’ve been in the middle of a crisis, and in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, oh boy, this is going to make a killer blog post. My husband’s used to it. I was sharing something the Lord’s been teaching me during his recent unemployment. “Have you written about it yet?” he asked.

“Not yet,” I replied, “but I will.” And I will. It’s how writers process things. How we make sense of what doesn’t make sense. How we filter life through our fingers.

And then there’s our house. Bookshelves aren’t the most stylish piece of furniture, but there must be a minimum one in every room. When they get full, we add new ones. My husband knows not to ever suggest I get rid of any of my books. The one (and only) time he did, I stared at him, aghast, as if he’d suggested I dump a puppy on the side of the interstate.

Oh, and did I mention the Post-It notes everywhere? And the scraps of paper with weird notes like God is like an editor—He has the final say or Research how long it takes a person to die of thirst.

My husband has learned to fall asleep to the sound of my fingers on the keyboard and to stay asleep when I switch on the light at three a.m. because a sudden inspiration has seized me. He keeps a mental Rolodex of my writer friends he’s never met. They have names like Edie from Blue Ridge and Cindy from Boot Camp. When Betty the Editor or Eddie the Publisher calls, he knows to come get me immediately.

But living with a writer has its upside, too. My husband always knows where to find me (chained to my desk). I write a great Christmas letter (unless I’m on deadline, and then it might be a Fourth of July letter). I supply him with a plethora of useless information (please put me on Jeopardy), and I can spell (and define) just about any word he throws at me.

Quirks and idiosyncrasies notwithstanding, after almost 32 years, I think he’s going to keep me.

What about you? What are some of the quirky things you do as a writer? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

Lori HatcherLori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of two devotional books, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women and Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. A blogger, writing instructor, and women’s ministry speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

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