What do bad writers and toddlers have in common?

Children are a wonderful, precious, exasperating gift.

If you’ve spent any amount of time around little ones—especially of the
toddler variety— you know that they’re a roller coaster of emotions,
outbursts and unpredictable antics.

Unfortunately, toddlers and bad writers have quite a lot 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.

Toddler:
I want ice cream NOW! (waking up entire household at 6 a.m.)

Bad writer:
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.

Toddler:
I don’t like that kind.

I only like this kind.

I don’t want it.

Yuck!

Bad writer:
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.

Toddler:
Me want to go swimming at the waterpark! (In the dead of winter.)

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Bad writer:
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.

Toddler:
On hearing that more clothing might help keep him or her warm, runs
screaming and naked through the house.

Bad writer:
There is no such thing as constructive
criticism, only haters.

I know my writing best.


5. Babies and bad writers expect others to clean up their messes.

Toddler:
(Purposely empties boots full of sand in the car)

Mommy, there’s sand in the car!

Get it out!

Bad writer:
(Leaves copy riddled with mistakes)

Ehh,
my editor will spruce it up.

It doesn’t need to be perfect.

6. No matter their age, they just won’t listen.

Toddler:
Sings “Let it Go” at the top of her lungs while dad tries to ask if she
needs to go potty.

Bad writer:
I’m an artist, OK?

They wouldn’t understand.

I’ll just keep doing me.

7. They throw a fit at the drop of a hat.

Toddler:
I said I want “Moana” radio, not “Beauty and the Beast” radio!

Wahhhhhhh!

Bad writer:
My life is over! Woe is me! I am a broken man!

(After receiving just one
negative book review, online comment or
rejection email.)


8. Immature writers and toddlers aren’t careful what they wish for.

Toddler:
I want goldfish.

No, I don’t want goldfish!

Get it away!

No goldfish!

Bad writer:
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?

Toddler:
Look, a butterfly!

Mommy, I’m hungry.

Where is my blanket?

Bad writer:
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.

Toddler:
Dad to toddler: Would you like a different color crayon?

Noooooooo!

I only want this blue crayon!

Bad writer:
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.

Toddler:
Throws clothes down the stairs after being asked to get dressed.

Bad writer:
So what if I occasionally skip deadlines, ignore emails and don’t follow
through?

Nobody will notice, anyway.

12. They never say “thank you.”

Toddler:
He or she just never says it.

No matter how many millions of times you politely encourage it.

Bad writer:
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.

Time to grow up

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.

Megan Sharma

is an author based in the Midwest. A version of this post first
appeared on


The Write Life
.

(Image via)



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