So, I have a two-year-old daughter.
(Are you also a busy parent? Check out these tips for making time to write.)
I absolutely adore her. Don’t get me wrong.
But sometimes she drives me so bonkers that I just want to scream, “Why God, why?” while eating raw cookie dough in a closet.
After one such episode, I got to thinking about the things that toddlers and bad writers have in common.
It’s not that much of a stretch, really.
Toddler = not yet a fully-formed human.
Bad writer = not yet a fully-developed writer.
Here are 12 traits shared by 2-year-olds and immature writers.
1. Both are completely self-absorbed
Toddlers: I want ice cream NOW! (while waking up entire household at 6 a.m.)
Bad writers: I write for myself, not for my readers.
I don’t bother to provide entertainment or value to my readers.
It’s all about me.
2. Toddlers and bad writers have a limited worldview
Toddlers: I don’t like that kind.
I only like this kind.
I don’t want it.
Bad writers: I assume everyone shares my opinions and experiences.
I don’t consider other cultures or perspectives when I write.
If they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it.
3. They insist on immediate gratification
Toddlers: Me want to go swimming at the waterpark! (In the dead of winter, of course)
Bad writers: I want a perfect manuscript without the need to edit, a six-figure publishing deal for my first novel and a byline in The New York Times, even though I just graduated from journalism school.
Practice makes perfect? What a joke.
4. Neither can handle constructive criticism
Toddlers: On hearing that clothing might help keep their body warm, run screaming and naked through the house.
Bad writers: There is no such thing as constructive criticism, only haters.
I know my writing best.
5. Babies and bad writers make messes that they expect others to clean up
Toddlers: (Purposely empties boots full of sand in the car)
Mommy, there is sand in the car!
Get it out!
Bad writers: (Leaves their copy riddled with mistakes)
Ehh, my editor will spruce it up.
It doesn’t need to be perfect.
6. No matter the age, they just won’t listen
Toddlers: Sings “Let it Go” at the top of his lungs while dad tries to ask if he needs to go potty.
Bad writers: I’m an artist, okay?
They wouldn’t understand.
I’ll just keep doing me.
7. They throw a fit at the drop of a hat
Toddlers: I said I want “Moana” radio not “Beauty and the Beast” radio!
Bad writers: My life is over! Woe is me! I am a broken man!
8. Immature writers and toddlers aren’t careful what they wish for
Toddlers: I want goldfish.
No, I don’t want goldfish!
Get it away!
Bad writers: Man, if only I had more time to write, more freelance work and more social media followers.
(All of this comes true)
Oh, no! I am soooooo busy. I wish I had less on my plate.
9. Ummm…focus? What focus?
Toddlers: Look, a butterfly!
Mommy, I’m hungry.
Where is my blanket?
Bad writers: I only write when I feel inspired.
I jump around from project to project.
There’s no need to finish anything.
All in good time.
10. Both resist changes like the plague
Toddlers: Dad to toddler: would you like a different color crayon?
I only want this blue crayon!
Bad writers: Whoever said, ‘change is good’ was seriously delusional.
I abhor change.
New technology, clients, writing style, editorial guidelines, whatever it may be: I fight it tooth and keyboard.
11. Neither do what they’re supposed to do
Toddlers: Throws clothes down the stairs after being asked to get dressed.
Bad writers: So what if I occasionally skip deadlines, ignore emails and don’t follow through?
Nobody will notice, anyway.
12. They never say “thank you”
Toddlers: They just never say it.
No matter how many millions of times you politely encourage it.
Bad writers: Okay, so I’ve had a little help in my writing journey.
But my mentors don’t really need to be acknowledged, do they?
They live for this stuff.
I guess we all may have some growing up to do, eh? A writer’s work is never done.
Are you guilty of any of these “baby writer” tendencies? Leave a comment and fess up!