My Writerly Quirks Part 2

In Writing by Matthew HazelwoodLeave a Comment

My Writerly Quirks Part 2

A little while back, I wrote an article titled “My ‘Writer-ly’ Quirks“. I think we tend to romanticize writers or demonize them. This leads–for better and for worse–to gross overgeneralizations. Such is why I wrote “My ‘Writer-ly’ Quirks” in the first place. The article itself did better than I expected. I noticed in the comments people mentioned how I had left some quirks out; indeed, this is true. This second part has been in the making for a while. I wanted to add enough to make a fuller list; not only that, I wanted to make sure I had enough material for a 1000-word article. But after weeks of mulling this over in my brain, I have set pen to paper–I mean fingers to keyboard–and produced the much needed second part. Be sure to share this article if you like it, and comment down below!

1. Procrastination

As much as I love to write, I also inevitably take a while to write. This seems almost nonsensical at first. If you enjoy writing, why would you put it off?! But I have also heard other writers talk about being this way. Perhaps it is from writing being such an introspective activity. Maybe another factor is human’s nature inclination to preserve energy. Whatever the reason, it is a part of my complex personality! In fact, I missed my last deadline due to procrastination. The only other reason I could think of was not wanting to write something crappy. If there is a part of me that does not want to fair, if I do not actually do anything, I cannot fail! This line of reasoning is ridiculous, but the subconscious is not often rational.

2. Perfectionism

I spend hours changing my word choice, checking and rechecking my grammar, etc. If I do not have time to fully edit it, I usually put it in a draw and do not show it until I am personally pleased with my work. To be honest with you, I do not always fully edit these articles I submit from this website. This is why I do not get on the site to read my own work. I would want to take too many pieces down and redo them to the point of being something completely different. Perhaps I might even end up writing a whole article on what I see as mistakes I made in these pieces. I would try not to focus on spelling errors and more on the meat of the articles themselves. But for now, people have to deal with my perfect imperfection!

3. Disorganization

There is an old stereotype that creative people are disorganized. While we should try not to generalize, I do fit this stereotype. Stereotypes do have a drop or two of truth in them, but it never exceeds that in most cases. If you came over to my place, you would see papers and books all over the place. This is why I try to type my pieces into Word documents. If I only used paper, I would never get anything done. But I never lose things for long. Everything is always around but not in plain view. I have gotten into the habit of de-cluttering my place, and then saying to myself: “I will learn better organization skills!” But I always end up with a cluttered room again anyway. Humans certainly are creatures of habit.

4. Academic rebel

This is another common stereotype for creative people that I seem to fall under. I am not a huge fan of school. Do not get me wrong: school is important. School is good for the social order and educates people in reading, writing, and mathematics. Those are three skills you will always need. But I am not very invested in it. I get As and Bs, but I am not very interested in the subjects. Even if I enjoy the subject, school seems to take it away from me. I prefer to study on my own. I prefer to be out and about doing something: reading, writing, walking, observing, singing, conversing, learning, etc. Also, I have never been a committed test taker. If you give me a standardized test, I will seem much more inept than I am. I get anxious or I day-dream; or a part of me just inherently resents asking to spit out answers. But the more I do it, the more I appreciate and understand the importance of studying.

5. Coffee-drinker

In one of my pieces, I said writers should be able to write WITHOUT substances. I defend that statement. However, I am a big coffee drinker. Caffeine does stimulate the brain. I can write without coffee, but sometimes I use coffee to help awaken my creativity. Besides, the Buddha talks about moderation in all things. If I drink a lot of coffee, I will probably not get much sleep and regret it the next day. I am also a jittery person by nature, so I try to avoid caffeine in excess.

6. Individualist

This plays into being distracted by your writing. I am not one to often join groups. My opinions are often outside the norm. I do not always play the game as it were. I know this is said about a lot of people: “oh, I’m a rebel. Look at me, I am edgy.” I do not mean to say it for attention or to fit in. Indeed, no one is a complete rebel. But I think there is something to be said for writers often–not always–being nonconformists. You have muckrakers, or journalists who uncover political corruptions. Then you have writers who tend to tackle topics no one else wants to: slavery in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the troubles of adolescence in The Catcher in the Rye and the struggles of transgender people in Alex as well. Then you have writers like Edmund Burke and De Tocqueville who were quite alright with the standards of their time; there are always exceptions.

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