Thursday, September 19, 2013

Don't Become a Writer

Don't become a writer if you want a career of social interaction. Writing is a solitary business. Writers often secret themselves away behind a locked door, in an attic, at the library, or in a beach house or cabin. Alex Haley, the author of Roots, used to sign onto a tramp steamer as a part-time work hand. I guess his cramped stateroom somewhere on the way to Fiji was the perfect get-away for his inspiration.

It's difficult to describe what goes on in a writer's brain when they're smacking down the words: wrenching effort is what it feels like 50% of the time, 25% it's brain freeze, 20% the words float out of you skull like bubbles and disappear into the ozone, or cosmos, or astral plain. Only 5% is inspirational bliss.

This is the reason we have to be hermits when we write. We mumble, we speak out loud in the voices of our characters, we scream in frustration when we can't think of the word we want, we scream in terror if we lose the storyline, and we scream in delight when a paragraph says exactly what we want it to say. We walk around grumbling. We walk around grumbling and eating Cheetos. And, we often sob loudly when we have to kill off one of our beloved characters. This behavior is not conducive to a normal workplace environment, and so writers tend to be solitary workers.

Don't get me wrong--it's wonderful to see a book published, to handle it and admire the cover, but then reality hits and you realize if you want to keep your name "out there" you have to go back "in there" and be a hermit for six months.

Just something to think about.

1 comment:

Cheri J. Crane said...

Very true. =) I do my best writing in the wee early hours of the morning, when the house is the most quiet, the phone isn't ringing, and there are no distractions.