You’re a creative artist, and no one (except for other creative artists) understands you. I get that. Here are some things you know are true that other people around you just don’t get!
- There’s a season for writing (and planning, and editing…).
You sit at the computer and wail at the blank screen. Your pen waits ready over your open notebook. Why aren’t the words flowing? You just want the words to flow, flow, flow, but nothing is happening… I must create! It’s what I do! But if you’re a writer, you know you can’t force the writing to come. The time to write picks you, and if you miss it, well, that just plain stinks. Better luck next time. In the same way, once you lose that window of enthusiasm for planning, editing–anything that you do–it’s gone. This is also why you can sit at your writing desk for hours and hours and not get bored. When someone calls, “Are you done yet?” The answer is already obvious. If you were done, you wouldn’t be at your writing desk.
- Good days are good days, and bad days are bad days.
These obnoxious things called emotions rule your writing life. You left your muse in a happy place, but now you’re in a sour mood. Your cat died or something… And now, it’s the muse’s fault. Misery loves company. You pound out your muse’s happy day into one of great impending darkness that matches your raging feelings. When you finish, you sit back, take a deep breath, and let go. The day’s still not great for you, but at least you aren’t alone anymore. The muse has to suffer right next to you. Then, when you come back the next day and you’re feeling better, you’re appalled when you scan through what you’ve written the day before. “What the heck was I thinking?” you say. “How do I fix this?” But that’s the fun of writing–good days and bad days flow with you.
- You simultaneously exist in multiple universes.
This is the thing that other people really don’t get. It’s like you’re an alien and a human at the same time. All the little green people are talking to you through telepathy, and all of the humans around you are talking at the same time. You pull out your hair and scream, “I can’t do this anymore!” But that’s just you being dramatic because you and I both know you live and breathe to exist in two places at once. Sometimes that means the humans have to be left behind. Writer, phone home.
- Those closest to you don’t understand your funeral…
…your book funeral. You just finished writing your baby to completion and now it’s done. The series is done. It’s OVER. More final than a high school break-up, which isn’t really that final, and that’s my point. You grieve anyway. The characters are gone, the story is gone, you’re happy and sad at the same time. You’re free, but did you want to be? Yes? No? Oh, wait, maybe that’s just your chocolate binge hangover speaking…
- You are what you write. You aren’t what you write.
Just like with good days and bad days, you can’t separate yourself from your writing. It’s fiction–so what–that doesn’t mean you can’t twist a few names around and throw in some real-life instances that actually happened to you. You need to break your muse’s heart, so you throw out the time when your own heart was broken. Yeah, lots of times you go out on a limb and write about something you haven’t experienced, but deep down you know your best writing comes from your experience. In between the lines of your writing, you are there, exposing your tender insides to everyone who has the eyes to look hard enough. And that’s why writing is so scary! People aren’t just reading your book, they’re reading… you.
What are some other things that you know are true about being a writer?