1. Remember The Details
Writers are taught to pay attention to detail.
They remember the big things, the small things, and the things that never happened at all. They remember that yellow shirt from the 80s you wore the first time you met. They remember the first compliment they gave you and the way the four strangers at the table by the window smiled like they knew just how desperately it had been clawing to get out. Writers remember the first and only time you said “I love you” and how you meant it the way a sailor loves the wind, dependent and reliant. They can recall the stories you told to pass the time when you missed your train stop and all the stops they missed themselves. In the end, those are the things that matter the most.
2. Learn to Love Flaws
All writers know the best characters have their fair share of flaws.
A writer sees depth in your inability to talk about your father and values the complication in your habit to smoke when you’re drunk no matter how much you hate the taste. They marvel in each of your quirks and every single tick. The vanity of checking your hair in a microwave and your incessant need to walk on the street side of the sidewalk are the noteworthy differences in your characterization. Those things define you more than any job ever could. They flesh you out and make you human.
3. Write About What You Know
Since their very first writing class, writers are told to write what they know. Writers work and learn through experience. To truly be successful, a writer must live. Go out. See the world. Fuck up. Live without regret. Try to live without regret, regret plenty of things, and accept that life goes on no matter how we look at it. Love harder. Love more. Try to be the bigger person. Fail at being the bigger person, spend a few nights angry and alone, and come back ready to fuck up without regret all over again. In order to get it right, a writer needs to get it all the other ways first.
4. Show, Don’t Tell
Writers are taught to find meaning. They’re taught to show, not tell. Actions. Gestures. Symbols. Tokens. These are the things that land, that hit where it matters. Writers know how cliché a single rose can be and they don’t care. Writers will drive an hour to take you for fro-yo when you get your wisdom teeth out, just to sit in bed and fall asleep. Writers will drive you down a mountain road just to watch your face as they show you the sights for the first time.
5. You Live On
Writers know better than anyone that you linger even when you’re long gone. You’re in their heads, no matter how much they wish you weren’t. Your voice. Your mannerisms. The way you hold your hand to your heart when you laugh. Your stories are a part of them now. As long as writers write, they’ll feel your kisses on the back of their neck and your thumb on the back of their hand. Writers don’t let go. Not completely. Not forever.