It’s not like we’re out hunting sharks or driving rickshaws for a living, but we writers do have a few unique hazards that come with the job. No, we’re not talking about sitting for hours on end or our penchant for eating things like Doritos for dinner when we’re in the flow.
We’re talking about those pesky little side effects that you may not even notice – until your dinner date asks what’s wrong with you. And all because you whipped out a red pen and are going to town editing typos out of the hors d’oeuvres list.
One of the top hazards is the automatic habit of proofreading EVERYTHING you come across – from cereal boxes to Chinese takeout menus. I think I have yet to see “broccoli” spelled properly on the latter.
And I hope I never see it spelled any way on the former. I’d definitely skip breakfast if the only option were Broccoli Frosted Flakes.
We writers also need to be careful when sharing the errors we find. There’s no easier way to tick off a relative on their wedding day than to point out the misplaced comma on the front of their wedding invitation.
Actually, there’s no easier way to tick off anyone on any day than to correct their grammar or word use. Especially when it’s a total stranger in the middle of a supermarket. Like the lady who asked her kid to get his toy off the ground.
But we just can’t help it. Words are not meant to be thrown about willy-nilly. The ground is something that’s outside. If you’re in the supermarket, the kid’s toy is technically on the floor.
Being left out of games is another common hazard. Tell people you’re a writer, and suddenly no one wants to play Scrabble with you. They instinctively know they’ll be left in the dust by someone swimming in words all day.
Who knew there were so many words that include the 6-point letter K? (We did.)
Scattergories become a distant memory. Forget about crossword puzzle challenges. No more Boggle.
Once in a while, we’ll be invited to the Trivial Pursuit table – until the other players realize our years of freelance writing have packed our brains with enough random research to ace a big chunk of the questions.
Did you know a dentist invented cotton candy?
And then there are the rhymes.
Any writer who’s ever been tasked with coming up with jingles, taglines, or catchy, rhyming headers is in for a treat that lasts well into the night. Just because your computer shuts down doesn’t mean your brain does.
Once a writer’s brain goes into rhyming mode, there’s no telling when it will stop. Flop. Drop. Pop. Fop. Clip-clop. Clip-clop.
Despite all the potential hazards nipping at our heels, writers do have it easier than many other professions – especially over dinner. While we may be compelled to correct menu typos, at least we’re not subjected to the fate of my brother the doctor.
He’s often stuck answering questions about headaches, cysts, and boils before we even make it to the soup. He usually skips the soup.
Those passionate enough about writing to turn it into a career know our hazards are small compared to the rewards. Unlimited editing opportunities. Untouchable wins at word games. And unending lines of rhymes that can merrily sweep us off to sleep.