Chances are high that, if you are not a regular reader of “whatif”, and the post title brought you here, you are either a writer or you have married one.
Writers aren’t easy spouses. I should know—I’m a writer myself. I am sorry that you always find all the coffee mugs in the sink, have to read all the revised, re-revised and re-re-re-revised drafts, and have to compete with fictional characters to get the attention of your spouse. I’m sorry that you have to witness your spouse transform into The Hulk if, God forbid, a thought slipped away because of your interruption.
What? you think this is your life story, too? Well, my husband shares your pain.
Anyway, you came here with a question. How do I kill a writer? If you genuinely want to answer that question, I can offer you many tips—because I am guilty of killing one myself.
- Gift them a lot of caffeine. (What? You think caffeine addiction doesn’t kill? It will help them stay anxious, and we all know that anxiety increases your risk of a heart attack.)
- Compare their writing to that of a writer they detest…but word it like a compliment, okay? The writer’s crushed superiority complex will be the death of them.
- When you are reading their work, stop at every mistake and point to all the typos. (It’s very important to miss the woods for the trees, isn’t it? This will help you increase their self-doubt, which will eventually kill The Writer.)
- When they receive their first rejection letter, tell them to start writing about a new idea and not waste any time improving the one they have already written, no matter how good it is. (They will develop a pattern and never accomplish anything. Then life will kill The Writer.)
- After reading their work, tell them you have read a book or watched a movie similar to their idea. Be careful, though: don’t phrase it like a reference. Say it as if it is exactly the same as their idea, even if it’s not. (They will be discouraged from exploring the idea and you don’t have to kill what you stopped from taking birth, huh? Genius, right?)
- When they are struggling with writer’s block, suggest that they pursue an alternative career as a Charted Accountant or Company Secretary.(If they take your advice then you have successfully killed The Writer instantly.)
- E-mail them a list of all the writers who received money and fame posthumously. Make the subject, “How interesting.” (This might encourage them temporarily, but eventually they will realize that this is their fate, too. They would want to die having written unpublished drafts.)
- When you’re with them, casually make comments like: “What are you working on? Writing Game of Thrones, or what?”
Just as effective is a statement like: “Oh! You are a writer, so you must know the meaning of oxicomplexwordtechnie, no? You don’t? I am shocked!”
Then lower your tone and add: “But, you are a writer, writer, writer.” (This will echo in their head for the rest of their life and they will never be able to write again. The fear will kill The Writer.)
- If they want to write a blog, tell them people only vlog these days. If they are writing a book, tell them people only watch movies these days. If they are writing a movie, tell them that the chance of getting their script made is about a 0.01 percent chance in a million. If they still look hopeful, remind them of the population statistics in your country.
- Always ask them to write for you for free. And then pay all the other people who worked on the project. Then, stop by, preferably in a chauffeur-driven car with money lying around in the car. Ask them if you could drop them half-way. (This will encourage them to take their ex-boss’s advice to pursue an alternative career.)
- It doesn’t matter whether they write books, screenplays, stories, copy, or something else entirely. Always ask them for their advice on your love letter, cover letter, tweet to a bad airline company, and your recent Facebook post about your new car. (This will kill them subtly and slowly.)
- Last but not least, go for the straight forward, ‘gun-to-the-head-’ approach and tell them: “You are not a good writer. Please don’t even try.”
These tips are tried and tested. Chances are you won’t have to do much. Writers are full of self-doubt already. All you need to do is spark that flame and they will burn themselves (and their work).
Now, if you are a writer, aspiring writer, or a forgotten writer, I have a confession for you. The writer I killed was in me. Unfortunately, I am not the only one. I have seen many who have killed the writer in themselves because of the unjust criticism that followed them around constantly.
Ever wonder why writer’s block is such a popular topic? We all have people around us who have, in one way or another, helped us sabotage our dreams.
Think about it. Can you go and offer your advice to a civil engineer if you have no experience in civil engineering? No, but, anyone can offer their advice to a writer—or at least they think they can.
Many people mean well when they see us struggling and advise us to change careers, have back-ups, or start fresh. But what they don’t realise is that saying these things causes us much anguish. It makes us doubt ourselves even more. In a writer’s mind, all of the pointers above translate simply to, “you are not a good writer.”
I once went to a dark forest with a writer—the woods that people couldn’t see for the trees. She tried to hang herself from one of those trees. Thankfully, I woke up from my sleep in time and rushed to save the writer.
Share this post with your loved ones if you are a writer and stop them from becoming a killer.
Have a little courage today. Save the writer in you if you do encounter a killer. Luckily, now you know how to spot one.
#Whatif each time a writer starts a new story, a new world is formed somewhere?