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.

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.

I don’t like that kind.

I only like this kind.

I don’t want it.


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.

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

Practice makes perfect? What a joke.

4. Neither can handle constructive criticism.

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.

(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)

my editor will spruce it up.

It doesn’t need to be perfect.

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

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.

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


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.

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?

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.

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


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.

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

Nobody will notice, anyway.

12. They never say “thank you.”

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

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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