When I first started writing, I hadn’t realised what a dangerous occupation it can be. Having spent some time researching this issue, I feel it now my duty to warn you of some of the scarier creatures you are likely to encounter at some stage in your writing career.
The Deadline Dragon likes it best when he can sneak up on you undetected. His favourite ploy is to lull his victim into a false sense of security by waiting at a safe distance and pretending to be harmless. The unsuspecting writer may be aware of the deadline dragon lurking on the periphery of his calendar, but reasons that he is so far away that there is no need to worry about it. As soon as the poor writer relaxes his guard, however, the deadline dragon pounces, causing terror, panic and sleepless nights. For some malevolent reason known only to themselves, deadline dragons often prefer to work in twos or threes, thus exponentially increasing the fear level.
The deadline dragon can be alarming even for the most experienced writer, but experts agree that it helps to be prepared, so aim to keep half an eye on them at all times.
The Bad-Review Bogeyman is one of the meanest creatures the writer is likely to come across, and he tends to strike without warning. He’s always happiest when his victim is reduced to a blubbering heap on the floor, particularly if she can be made to utter phrases along the lines of “I’ll never be any good at anything” or “Maybe I should take up bog-snorkelling instead”. The bad-review bogeyman strengthens his attack by nit-picking, by deliberately misunderstanding the writer’s work and – if he’s being really vicious – by making wildly untrue statements.
Because of the apparently arbitrary nature of his assaults, it’s difficult for the writer to fully protect herself against the bad-review bogeyman. Having a list of good reviews or compliments to throw back at him can lessen the impact. It’s also worth stocking up on medicinal supplies such as wine and chocolate.
Computer Critters also attack seemingly at random, although the discerning writer may notice them becoming more active when the deadline dragon is on the prowl. They like to create mischief by eating large portions of text, or by crashing the computer when the long-suffering writer is in the middle of something VERY IMPORTANT. They’ve been known to play elaborate games of hunt-the-thimble by moving files around the computer during the night, inducing early-morning meltdowns for the writer. The computer critter is believed to be a distant relative of the Phone-call Pixie, who can be relied upon to interrupt just when the writer has got into the flow of a particularly tricky sentence.
Computer critters are extremely irritating, but tend to have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Show them who’s boss by regularly saving and backing-up work – emailing it to yourself is a good strategy – and they will almost certainly retreat to a corner and sulk.
So, I trust this information has been helpful … are there any others I’ve missed?
Twitter: @FionaJLloyd & @FionaLloyd16