Like every month, September contains a basket load of oddball holidays and observances. There’s National Lazy Mom’s Day, Wonderful Weirdos Day (technically, September 9th, but celebrated every day in my house), Stay Away from Seattle Day, and the delightfully amusing Talk Like a Pirate and One Hit Wonder Days. Although we just missed International Enthusiasm week, I hope you might have a little excitement left for one of my favorite September observances: Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month. No, I am not making this one up. In 1984, someone at Lone Star Publishing fielded one too many questions about to when use “lie” or “lay”, went completely off his nut and covered the entire office with red-Sharpied conjugations of several naughty Latin irregular verbs.
Okay, that last part may not be true, but since the people at Lone Star won’t return my calls, I feel free to imagine a variety of incidents that led to the commemoration of the month.
Want to know what you can do to be kind to the writers and editors in your life? (If you are a writer or editor, you may want to forward this to your loved ones or stick a copy on the refrigerator. Just sayin’.)
1. When we start nattering on about plot bunnies, muses, or improper semicolon usage, make us a hot beverage and stroke our hair. It’s very soothing. Just don’t do it to strangers and especially not to that dead-eyed dude drooling into his beard on a bench in the train station. Hise has been known to bite. Indies Unlimited and its individual writers are not legally liable for compensation for the battery of injections your doctor may require.
2. Keep a steady supply of chocolate in the house. Especially on September 13, which is International Chocolate Day. You have been warned.
3. Bring us coffee. It makes us happy, and we’ll get more work done. Even if all that amounts to is a string of Facetwit status updates about the joys of caffeine, hey, it’s still part of our daily word count.
4. For the month, agree to stop asking us the Three Deadly Questions:
- How’s the writing going?
- When’s the next book coming out?
- Why don’t you try to sell your book to a REAL publisher?
If you accidentally utter these words and it sets off a reaction, refer to #1 for a remedy.
5. Read a book. Get the kids to read books. It’s good for the soul, contributes to our meager royalties, lets your imagination fly, and keeps everyone in the house occupied so we can get our work done.
6. Know the consequences of messing with us. You will be written into our books as the security guard or hooker we meet in the first chapter and never see again. So act accordingly. (See #3, Chocolate.)
7. When we moan about rejection, negative reviews, lousy sales numbers, ever-changing Amazon logarithms, or our college roommate who just published her seventeenth critically-acclaimed paranormal historical romantic thriller or penned a three-book deal with a company named after a flightless aquatic waterfowl, resist with all your strength the urge to say, “Hey, you chose this path.” Please. At least for the rest of month. In October, you can resume the tough love. To a point. (see #7)
8. Unless you’re bleeding or the house is on fire, do not disturb us while we’re working. There is no reason to announce that you’re going to get the mail, unless the mailbox is three states over and you won’t be around to keep our coffee IV bags full. We will understand that you have gone to get the mail when we take a break and see that you’re home and there’s an unopened stack of things on the table. We’re smart that way.
How do you plan to celebrate your writer and editor friends—or yourself—during this venerated month?