Do you want to be secretly despised by the other writers in your critique group? Are you dying to pick up antagonistic quirks that traditional writing magazines just don’t teach you? Will you be the voice in your generation that rises to greatness, while everyone who knows you personally wishes you would sit down and shut up?
Well, friend, today is the day your life changes forever.
That’s right—you! I’m talking directly to YOU.
We here at “Just the Fiction” can make all of this happen. Follow this easy tip, and you can enter illustrious circle of the Obnoxious Writers Hall of Fame!
But wait . . . there’s more! If you alter this tip and take it out of the area of writing, you can be annoying in every area of your life. And for no extra charge!
Tip #1: Pretend like writing is either really easy or really hard.
This annoying quirk has a lot of flexibility. Around your writer friends, you can brag about how many short stories you’ve written, the number of classics you’ve read, and how many pages you can write during an average day.
A fun twist on this concept is “The Topping Game.” All you need to do is wait for a good opportunity. And this can’t be just ordinary topping. Oh no. Here at “Just the Fiction,” we encourage our readers to set higher goals in their pursuit of obnoxiousness.
Say your friend tells your group, “Guys, guess what? I found this really great book by Stephen King called On Writing. You should check it out.”
Some of the other group members might say, “Yeah, I read that last year. It was really good.”
Then you yawn loudly and say, “Yes, in my sixth grade composition class, I did a deconstructive analysis of the first half, but I felt like all of the advice after chapter eight was beneath me.”
This can be an effective tactic around non-writers as well, since they will probably think you’re a kind of super-human demigod of literature, but you can also take the opposite tactic with them, particularly if you have a hard time actually producing the amount of pages that you claim to write.
There are a number of good ways to make writing seem exceedingly difficult. One is to act like the entire process is mystical, visited only upon a few noble souls in times of great artistic vision. Mention the Muse every now and then and try to act esoterically detached from the rest of the population. And outfit your writing studio with lots of windchimes, bamboo plants, and incense burners. (If you find an incense burner shaped like sticks of bamboo with a built-in windchime, you get bonus points.)
Another way to make writing seem really hard is to simply complain about how difficult it is to write, how busy you are, how the quality of notebook paper is going down these days, how anyone can put up drivel on their blogs so why even bother writing a traditional novel if no one is going to publish it, and how someone in Hollywood makes a movie out of your idea before you get started—are they sending spies to search through your journals or something?
It’s the perfect way to get other people to avoid you, or at least to glaze over whenever you start talking. Be sure to never let anyone disagree with you or suggest that you might be overly negative and/or paranoid. Allowing contrary opinions will lower the annoying persona you’ve worked so hard to create.
As a bonus, if you spend all of your time complaining about writing, you won’t actually have to do any!
And remember, together we can Find the Obnoxious in You.