Any time of year is a good time to pest-proof your home. Whether you’ve got ants, mice or squirrels, it’s best to take action to keep these critters at bay.
There are plenty of websites to help you identify common rodents and varmints and take the necessary steps to bid them good riddance. Despite several Google searches and minutes of offline research, however, I was unable to find any advice on spotting and eliminating a very common household irritant: the writer.
But fear not — I have taken it upon myself to fill this void and present you with everything you need to know to identify and eliminate this most persistent of pests from your abode.
First of all, you need to determine if there are, in fact, any writers in your house. You may already suspect that you have been infested with one or more of these creatures by such telltale signs as frequent keyboarding clicks and clacks, late night scribbling beneath bedside lamps or the repeated sound of a head banging against the wall.
To be sure if writers are about, however, you have to do some simple sleuthing. If, for example, many of the coats and jackets in your closets have two or more pens in their inside pockets together with numerous pieces of scrap paper, you can be pretty sure you have an infestation of at least one writer.
Another sign that an unwanted scribbler may be about is the placement of notebooks and notepads next to every phone, desk, bed and toilet. Open them and look for outlines, reminders and half-written articles, which are sure signs that a writer is nearby.
Half-read books piled up on nightstands and tables may signal a writer about. But be careful, since such evidence may simply point to the presence of an obsessive yet inefficient and generally harmless creature known as a reader.
Similarly, magazines strewn about the house may mean that a writer has invaded your space. Check, though, for the type of magazines to ensure that you’re not simply on the trail of an inoffensive periodical enthusiast. However, if many of the magazines have the words “Writer,” “Writing” or “Publishing” in the title, there’s definitely cause for concern.
Once you’ve established that you have a writer, the next step is to trap him. In line with today’s more modern and sensitive approach to pest control, we strongly advise against using any deadly traps. Instead, we suggest you opt for a live capture and release method.
Any one of a number of humane cages will serve the purpose. The key element in using such traps is the proper selection of bait. Many folks opt for traditional items like pens, paper or a keyboard. Still others choose old standbys like writers’ books and magazines.
The trouble with using such bait is that if your writer falls for it and still manages to avoid the trap, he will be wise to your ways and likely then to avoid the cage. If that happens, you have to resort to more sophisticated items to lure the crafty wordsmith.
In my experience, such things as faux reviews and articles featuring the writer’s name (assuming you’ve discovered his name in his various leavings around the house) make excellent enticements. If all else fails, however, the one tried, true and no-fail bait is a phony letter of acceptance from any major publication. No writer can resist such a tempting trap.
Now that you’ve caught your nuisance writer, what do you do with him? Some people have made the mistake of attempting to talk the critter out of writing, but that seldom works. Others have tried driving the writer to the country and releasing him into the wild. Although he will sometimes take refuge in a cabin or a lakeside writers’ retreat for a few weeks, he will almost always return to your home.
After years of experimentation, I’ve found what I think is the best solution to this difficult problem: give your writer his own room and insist that he do his writing there. You’ll get more peace and quiet and, who knows, with any luck your writer may even start producing an income.