>You can blame Sarah for this: her post this week got me thinking, and that’s always a dangerous thing. It goes to strange places.
The progression is something like this – creative types tend to have something of a disconnect between head and body, and not notice the kind of discomfort that would send others screaming for the good painkillers that make you all loopy. That’s what Sarah talked about.
So I thought, well yeah, I’m a pretty good example of this. I’ve done some pretty dumb stuff because of this. But then, I’ve done some pretty dumb stuff for other reasons, most of them related to being a writer and being off in writer-headspace when I shouldn’t have been.
By the time I’d stopped thinking (you sort of have to focus when you’re following recipes, or the results can be… interesting in all the wrong ways) I’d gotten to this:
Creative types, particularly writers, tend to have issues when it comes to dealing with the real world (for those who wish to argue over which world is real or claim they all are, when I use the term, I mean the world where your physical body resides). It’s more than just forgetting little things like paying bills and so forth – a lot of us have issues with society in general. Which, for people who spend so much of their time being keen observers of humanity is kind of weird, but then, writer and weird go together. The vast majority of the writers I’ve met are just functional enough to avoid the delights of the mental health ward.
Yes, we Mad Geniuses are a bit saner than that, but it’s a matter of degree.
Okay, that’s the long rambling introduction. Now for the meat – the Kate guide to living in the real world when the rest of you wants to be elsewhere, otherwise known as playing the game.
- Everyone else is not stupid. It is very important to remember this. Everyone believes at some level that everyone else is like them and thinks like them, but writers think at strange, possibly abolished angles to the rest of the world.
- There are rules. You can’t break them with impunity, but you can use them to your advantage. This is usually called ‘politics’ (in the office politics sense). Do not attempt to ignore the rules.
- People recognize “not like me”. It’s instinctive. Learn to play chameleon and hide the writer-weird. Excuse slips as brain farts.
- No matter how brilliant you are – and many of you are legitimately brilliant (no, I am not naming names: the blushes would light up the whole world) – the vast majority of people out there don’t give a damn. With few exceptions we’re not even little fish in the ocean. We’re plankton. Maybe. Unless we bother the wrong person, and then we’re dinner.
- Whether you like it or not (most of the time I find it something of a relief) creativity, especially the writer-flavor, isn’t compatible with things like business or political success. Those of us who are drawn to positions of power/responsibility tend to get there because we’re sick to death of it being done wrong all the time, and we just want to fix the mess then let someone else keep it all running.
- There are times when you need to be 100% in the real world. Learn to recognize these or they’ll remind you. Emphatically. Usually in the form of grevious bodily harm or death.
- Learn the difference between putty and vaseline. Otherwise your windows will fall out.
- Never, ever play nude leapfrog with a unicorn.