Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Life of Writer or Writer Reality 101

Writer Reality 101 -- It's not the glamorous job you see in the movies (none of my writer buddies look like Johnny Depp) and 99.9% of us barely make enough to buy the odd ink cartridge and ream of paper. Sounds depressing, doesn't it?

It really isn't. It's an obsession up there with most other life-changing addictions. But there are days when even the rush of ordering nouns and verbs into coherent sentences doesn't sound the least bit fun. The sort of day you hope the aliens will land and declare that writing is forbidden from that moment on, on the pain of death. Such was yesterday. A normal day by all accounts, but only a day or so removed from my last convention. I was tired, dog tired (why don't they ever say 'cat tired'?) and the last damned thing I wanted to do was write.

So I escaped the house and the lure of the Electronic Vampire (the Internet) and took up residence at my local coffee house. (Yes, they have Wi-Fi, but I feel guilty if I surf there when I should be working.) I put butt in chair and typed on the keyboard for 4.5 out of the 5 hours I was there. My butt got sore (despite the chair pads I tote along) and I longed for a nap so I finally decamped and headed home. My word count for the day wasn't stellar, but I fleshed out some scenes and realized that Alastair (the alturistic physician in my series) just wouldn't go for the orgy scene, no matter how hard I tried.

That's what it's like to be a writer. Yes, there are the really cool moments, but mostly it's work like anything else. Of course, you can pick your venue (like the coffee house) and your hours (unless you have a real job). It doesn't matter if you're Stephen King, J.K. Rowling or Ima Newbie Writer, the process is the same. Well, actually it would be different for the first two; they'd never get any work done in a public venue as folks would constantly ask for their autograph. Luckily, I do not have that affliction.

In the end, the love of the story becomes manifest and you hit that sweet spot. The book outgrows and transcends you, winging its way out of the nest. Left behind is another tiny egg that needs nurturing, your next book. It's fragile and needs constant attention to grow to fruition.

Time to park your butt, warm up those digits and get to hatching...

1 comment:

steve said...

Thanks for the inspiration, Jana. I've pretty much determined to pull the plug on the Electric Vampire here in Bloomington, as I have access to the Web at work and back in Indiana (where I retreat for my Wedesday-Thursday "weekends") and try to get back to some serious writing.