When Your S.O. Misinterprets Your Actions as a Writer

9 May

by Savannah J. Foley


The other day I was looking up character names in a baby names website (something we all do, I’m pretty sure), and I got to thinking about how what I was doing could be misinterpreted by my boyfriend. Afterwards, I came up with the following list of scenarios that a boyfriend unfamiliar with writers might encounter with his new writer girlfriend. It’s mostly silly, but maybe you’ll laugh at one or two. πŸ™‚


1. You leave your computer up on a webpage of baby names.

Misinterpretation: OMG she’s pregnant! Or she wants to have my children and is already planning out their names. Is this a hint? Was I supposed to find this?!

What Really Happened: You were using the list of baby names to find the most awesome name ever for your new character.

2. You talk to yourself out loud, in different voices.

Misinterpretation: You just went into full-blown metal disorder mode, a la A Beautiful Mind.

What Really Happened: You were just plotting really hard and accidentally vocally acted out some of the characters you were working on. It’s normal, really.

3. He catches you mock-strangling, -stabbing, or -shooting an imaginary victim.

Misinterpretation: You’re homicidal and you’re practicing for killing him.

What Really Happened: You were -again- acting out a scene in your book to get a feel for the actions and emotions. Totally normal.

4. Your browser history shows searches for “the perfect murder” and “poisons without antidotes.”

Misinterpretation: Surely this time you’re out to get him.

What Really Happened: Nope. Still figuring out plot details for your murder mystery subplot.

5. You stock up on chocolate.

Misinterpretation: You’re PMSing.

What Really Happened: Not this time. You hit a tricky part in your manuscript, and need some chocolate to get through it. Or you submitted something and are anxiously awaiting a reply.

6. You stop showering and suddenly avoid spending time with your S.O.

Misinterpretation: You’re trying to convince him to break up with you because you’re too chicken to do it yourself.

What Really Happened: You’re working hard on a deadline and literally forgot to shower/spend every waking minute working on your project.

7. You suddenly start spending more time “at the library” or “at a coffee shop.”

Misinterpretation: You’re cheating on him!

What Really Happened: You were just trying to give him some space since apparently your every action means you’re insane and trying to cause harm. This was your way of getting out of the house and having the time/space to, once again, focus on your project.

8. You start visiting thrift stores and “alternate fashion” stores.

Misinterpretation: You’re becoming a dirty hippie. You’re an artsy person, it had to happen sometime, right? This would also explain the no-showering thing.

What Really Happened: You’re researching styles of a particular decade.

9. You ask his cop uncle a lot of complex and detailed questions about law enforcement.

Misinterpretation: You’re considering a career change into law enforcement.

What Really Happened: Absolutely not! It’s just research! It’s ALWAYS research!

10. You change your degree from English or Creative Writing to something more mainstream, like Business & Management, or Computer Sciences.

Misinterpretation: Surely this time it’s a sign of giving up the dream, right?

What Really Happened: No, you just realized you don’t have to have the degree to be able to write well, so what’s the point? Might as well have a backup.

11. He catches you practicing your smile and posing in the mirror.

Misinterpretation: You’re an imaginative person, and so therefore you were pretending to be a movie star, for research, right?

What Really Happened: Actually you were just practicing for your author shot.

12. You sneak into your room on tiptoe, not making a sound.

Misinterpretation: He’s with the program now. He concludes you’re pretending to be a cat. For research. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

What Really Happened: …Actually, you were trying to see if your leftover toys from childhood move and talk when you’re not in the room. What? Writers never truly lose their inner child! Plus you saw Toy Story 3 recently, and, well… it was worth a shot.


Savannah J. Foley is the author of theΒ Nameless (originally known as Woman’s World) series on Fictionpress and is signed with the Bradford Literary Agency. Her website is www.savannahjfoley.com, but she updates more frequently on her livejournal. She is currently working on editing Nameless to go out on submissions. You can read an excerpt from Nameless here.


36 Responses to “When Your S.O. Misinterprets Your Actions as a Writer”

  1. Stina Lindenblatt May 9, 2011 at 12:32 AM #

    These cracked me up. My husband and kids are used to my weird behavior. They just blame it on me being a writer. πŸ˜‰

    • savannahjfoley May 9, 2011 at 8:15 AM #

      Haha; if you have any more examples of misinterpreted actions, please share them!

  2. Susan May 9, 2011 at 2:59 AM #

    This. Is. Awesome. HA!

    I love #2. This has pretty much happened to me my whole life. Clearly I need help…

    Great list, Sav!

    • savannahjfoley May 9, 2011 at 8:16 AM #

      Yeah I think #2 is probably the one writers are most likely to get caught on. Thanks!

    • Caitlin Vanasse May 9, 2011 at 3:56 PM #

      Haven’t you had to explain to your mother/mother in law that no, your big news is your book being bought not a grandchild on the way?

      • savannahjfoley May 9, 2011 at 3:58 PM #

        Ahahahaha that is brilliant! Both my mom and Chris’s mom would totally react like that!

  3. Carrie May 9, 2011 at 3:27 AM #

    LOL this is hysterical (and strangely familiar…)!

  4. M. Howalt May 9, 2011 at 3:32 AM #

    Haha, really amusing! πŸ™‚

  5. Bee May 9, 2011 at 4:20 AM #

    Lol, seriously. NOS 1 and 4 happen the most to me!

    • savannahjfoley May 9, 2011 at 8:17 AM #

      I know! I get super excited about detailed articles about the stages of hypothermia or what organs shut down first when you drown. Might need it some day!

  6. keikomushi May 9, 2011 at 4:34 AM #

    *hug* Personally, I find that the more that I write, the more I am inspired to read about history, culture, religion, the occult and science. Sure glad hubbs is used to “writer me”.

    Scenario: New Boyfriend finds you reading up on books on Nazism?
    Misinterpretation: You are reading up on Nazism to join some secret organization bent on world domination, probably revolving around Hitler’s cat.
    What Really Happened: You are working on a plot for a dark alternative future where Nazis won the second world war. Of course, the main bad guy just so happens to be a descendant of Hitler’s cat.

  7. Mark R. Hunter May 9, 2011 at 4:42 AM #

    The best solution is to do what I did: Get engaged to another writer!

    • keikomushi May 9, 2011 at 4:44 AM #

      That works! πŸ˜€

    • savannahjfoley May 9, 2011 at 8:18 AM #

      Ultimate win! Though I kind of like that my BF isn’t a writer; I have a feeling I’d get competitive.

      • Mark R. Hunter May 10, 2011 at 2:28 AM #

        We write in different areas, so no competition problems so far!

  8. Emery May 9, 2011 at 9:39 AM #

    #5, #6, and #7 – Because writing a book is like having a relationship. You ditch people to be with it. When you get into an argument with it, it ruins your whole day. When leaves you for another person (i.e. agents and editors), you hope it never comes back!

    Ok. Maybe not quite the last one, but its true πŸ™‚

    Another case of curiosity: When I asked my dad, who is a surgeon, what degree burns leave scars and what types of fire exposure gives that degree of burn.

    • Savannah J. Foley May 9, 2011 at 10:02 AM #

      Hey, that’s good to know if you ever have to write a fire scene!

      Lol, writers are the most non-intentionally creepy people ever πŸ™‚

  9. Emy Shin May 9, 2011 at 9:46 AM #

    Oh, these are awesome, and so true!

    • Savannah J. Foley May 9, 2011 at 10:00 AM #

      Haha I’m glad you like them! Funny how universal this stuff is…

  10. Liz Czukas May 9, 2011 at 11:07 AM #

    LOL! Hilarious! But you forgot one of the unexpected perks for your SO: If you’re a romance writer, you might need to try out a few new positions to spice up your manuscript!

    – Liz

    • savannahjfoley May 9, 2011 at 11:08 AM #

      Shazam! Might need a follow up post on benefits of dating a writer… except I think there’s already a list like that floating around on the internet.

      Side note: I once actually had my BFF and a guy friend of hers pose in several ‘positions’ (fully clothed) so I could get a better idea of the mechanics for a scene in my novel. πŸ˜›

  11. Ella May 9, 2011 at 11:11 AM #

    Oh goodness. ALL OF THIS.

    But especially #4.

    “levi name meaning”
    “simon name meaning”
    “symptoms of psychopathy”
    “gasoline poisoning”
    “what happens if you swallow gasoline”
    “do you have to get your stomach pumped”
    “irish surnames”
    “double murders”

    Clearly I’m planning to have some babies and then set someone on fire. Or maybe the other way around. Explanation: crazy ex?

    Also #2 and #3. My family is pretty much used to me running around the house making violent sound effects.

    • savannahjfoley May 9, 2011 at 12:39 PM #

      Lol, from that list it looks like you’re planning on getting pregnant, murdering BF and baby, then taking on a new name and living as a convict on the run. Or, you know, researching a new plot twist. πŸ™‚

      I’ve been known to make a sound effect a time or two, lol.

  12. marykateleahy May 9, 2011 at 3:33 PM #

    I had to hang someone in an ms. once. Well I guess I didn’t have to, but I wanted to. That really didn’t make it sound better….Anyway I ended up having a really sketchy google history of how to hang someone and medieval torture implements. Your post was not only hilarious but so true πŸ™‚

    • savannahjfoley May 9, 2011 at 3:58 PM #

      Lol I know exactly what you mean! Sometimes you want a character to die.

  13. brandimziegler May 10, 2011 at 12:22 AM #

    Ahahaha! I can so relate to this. I’m constantly daydreaming about something writing related and sometimes my husband’s words gets mixed in with the other voices. He’ll just take one look at my face and say, “Lemme start over.” I adore his patience with me lol.

    • savannahjfoley May 10, 2011 at 8:32 AM #

      Hahaha. That’s been happening to me a lot lately. I’ll be thinking about something super hard, and Chris is trying to talk to me about the electrical system in the lawnmower or something. I just stare at him blankly, seeing dragons and sword fighting instead of small engines.

  14. Julie Eshbaugh May 10, 2011 at 6:41 AM #

    This post is so fabulous, Savannah! I’m always googling ways to kill people LOL! And as a side note, I LOVE your new pic!!

    • savannahjfoley May 10, 2011 at 8:33 AM #

      Thanks, Julie! Got my hur did the other day… going to grow it back out again I think. I don’t feel the same without my ‘princess hair’, lol.

  15. Dawn Brazil May 11, 2011 at 8:18 PM #

    I love this list, especially # 6. Embarrassingly, I’m guilty of this. Well, actually a lot of these. LOL But I’ve been married for some time so my husband does not have to wonder if I’m crazy or not. He knows for sure I am. He keeps me around because I’m good with the kids. And maybe one day I’ll sell that book I’ve been working on and it’ll benefit him. LOL Of course, I’m joking. Well… πŸ˜‰

    • Savannah J. Foley May 11, 2011 at 8:27 PM #

      I’m glad you have a spouse who supports your dream! Kudos to him for putting up with the not showering πŸ˜‰

  16. Olga May 12, 2011 at 4:57 PM #

    Hmmm. I recently developed a shiny new boyfriend. Should probably give him the heads up on this. Especially since baby names, places to dump bodies, naturally-occurring poisons (Oleander!! Who knew!), lace patterns through the ages, and mythologies of southern Africa tend to crop up on a regular basis. Also? Native American contraceptive measures. Jack in the Pulpit root for that one – you can permanently sterilize yourself!!

    Yes. Back to research. ^_^

    • savannahjfoley May 12, 2011 at 5:00 PM #

      I love your searches! Native American contraceptives is definitely a weird one.

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