1. Your internet search history can be a little strange and disturbing. Particularly if you write horror, thrillers or any genre requiring in depth knowledge of murder methods, body disposal, autopsy procedures, decomposition, the most effective poisons, circumventing security systems, explosives, or medieval sexual fetishes.
2. Your family and friends often express concern for your mental health (especially if they’ve just checked your internet search history). Chatting enthusiastically about murder methods and killing someone in front of new people who do not know you’re a writer may also result in unsolicited visits from some lovely police officers investigating reports of a possible imminent murder spree (though this can actually be beneficial once the misunderstanding is cleared up and you invite the nice officers in for a coffee and an in depth discussion about police procedures and murder investigations.)
3. Poverty. Until you write that bestseller, or become an established freelancer, be prepared to fit your writing in around a mundane job that makes actual money. Or move into your mother’s basement and live on minute noodles (also a valid lifestyle choice).
4. You tend to get lost in your fantasy worlds at the expense of paying attention to the real world and people around you. Unless you’re shamelessly studying them for ideas (see number 8). Whether it is because of a great book you’ve just read (because if you’re a writer you’re also an avid reader), or the characters and worlds of your own invention, most people and day-to-day events in the real world usually seem so dull in comparison.
5. Eye strain, RSI, back and neck pain – who knew writing could be so hazardous to your health. Take a break once in a while. Do some stretches, take a break from looking at a screen or notebook. Have an actual meal and drink something other than coffee.
6. Sleep deprivation. No matter how productive you’ve been all day, the moment your head hits that pillow your mind goes into creative overdrive, churning out ideas that must be written down right this minute. Keeping a notepad next to the bed is helpful. Or having a note-taking app on your phone or tablet and keeping it nearby at night.
7. Your written communication skills may be excellent, but your conversation skills are lacking. Small talk with colleagues and acquaintances is downright painful. Who needs such banalities anyway? It doesn’t advance the plot or character development. Then you realise you’ve accidentally stumbled out into the real world again, and that things work differently out here.
8. You do, however, like to listen to conversations, taking mental notes for plot ideas and character quirks. Or you just forgo mental notes and whip out your notebook or smartphone and write them down on the spot. People love being studied like bugs under a microscope. Really. It doesn’t make them uncomfortable at all.
9. You spend so much time staring at letters that they begin to look like gibberish, and you can’t remember how to spell basic words. When you find yourself searching the dictionary because you’ve forgotten how to spell words like ‘politics’, or ‘silent’, or ‘cat’, step away from the keyboard. Go outside, get some more coffee. Get some fresh air and sunlight. Yes, I know it’s scary, just remember to put clothes on first and you’ll be fine.
10. Becoming a complete recluse. Who needs real people when you have your wonderful imaginary friends? Who needs to bother actually showering and embracing personal hygiene when you can work from home in your underwear? (If I could get coffee and donuts delivered directly to my door, I’d never leave the house).
Can you think of any more hazards to add to this list? Do you agree/disagree with any of them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.