The whole professional writer thing is the only game I have. To an unsuspecting potential mate, I’m just like every other unremarkable femme with long dark hair and glasses in the bar. But when they ask me what I do with my time and I reply with, “I’m a writer, editor, poetess and photojournalist, who runs one of the top 100 LGBT blogs in the world,” they melt.
I understand wanting to fuck a writer. Or date one. I can’t blame you. We’re alluring. We’re elusive. We’re romantic. We’re witty. But you really need to know what you’re getting into.
We have no money. We writers pour our hearts into soul-sucking work for next to nothing. That means we’re always going Dutch.
We can’t help it. I’ve always been a storyteller. As a child, I wrote plays for each holiday and made my sister act them out with me, each year dusting off the script from the year before and editing it to perfection. My sister and I also played radio, putting on flamboyant personalities, coming up with catchphrases and interviewing each other on a tape recorder in between taping songs off the radio. I even created a family newspaper when my parents bought a computer, toying with fonts and adding photos to my stories, forcing my mom and dad to write me letters to the editor. I’ve always had a compulsion for communication. I just can’t turn it off.
Sometimes I have a flash of inspiration and I have to handle it then and there. I’ll apologize now for flaking on you or for taking a break from whatever we’re doing to jot some stuff down. (See the above note about not being able to help it.) If I’m in the mood to write, I have to take advantage of it, especially when I force myself to write for pay all the time. Hell, I wrote one of my best poems half drunk waiting on the train while fumbling to roll a cigarette in anger. You just never know when it’ll strike.
You’ll probably see yourself reflected in the work. If you’re dating a writer and they don’t write about you—whether it’s good or bad—then they don’t love you. They just don’t. Writers fall in love with the people we find inspiring. If you don’t set my pen on fire, how are you going to set my bed on fire?
You can find out more than you’ve ever wanted to know about us on the internet. Seriously. Google me.
Writers are dramatic and often gossipy. No matter what type of writer someone is, we all love hearing other people’s stories and we all love telling them. We’re also prone to dramatic episodes and operate in hyperbole. We’ll never admit how dramatic we are, but expect nothing less than improbable plot twists and extreme character development when recounting our trips to the grocery store.
Writers are crazy. And I don’t mean crazy in the way people throw the word at anyone we disagree with, I actually mean mentally unstable. We’re often misunderstood and deeply troubled. We have to be at least a little bit unhinged, or we wouldn’t be any good at what we do or be able to survive in this line of work. Really, who wants to read something a boring sane person wrote, anyway? Not me.
We’re actually not cool at all. I know, it may seem cool to earn money from writing, but it’s not. It’s just what we do. I do not lead a glamorous life. Writing is mentally taxing labor—albeit conducted while in sweatpants on my couch and surrounded by cats—but labor just the same. And we almost never see the sun. Seriously. Take us on a midday stroll or something. We probably need a break from staring at those two paragraphs we were working on all morning.
All writers need a good editor, but that editor is probably not you. We may ask for your opinion on our work, but unless you’ve won a Pulitzer or something, we’re gonna get pissed if you’re critical of our lifeblood. This works in reverse, too. I’ve had lovers ask me to review their work, only to balk when I rip it to shreds. What did you expect? People pay me to edit their work. If you don’t actually want my professional opinion, don’t ask for it.
Writers are pompous assholes who drink. A lot. Mainly whiskey. Lots and lots of whiskey. In fact, most of us should just be paid in whiskey. I could just cut out the middleman, be it the bartender who has memorized my order or the guy who knows my name at the liquor store around the corner.
We keep irregular schedules at best. One day I’ll have three 1,000-word pieces due and a feature to fact check that I’ll work on until 4 a.m., and the next day I’ll start drinking with friends at 3 p.m. in a park. (Just because I don’t have a job I go to, doesn’t mean I’m not busy.)