You Know You're a Writer When...
I wish could be one of those people who follow clearly defined steps and formulae. Oh, how I aspire to being a disciplined writer like that when I grow up! I attempted it while writing With A Bullet, but I was miserable and didn't enjoy the writing process at all, until I finally gave in to my chaotic muse with her mussed, J-effed hair, rumpled toga, and deliciously mussed, cluttered boudoir.
The thing is, I haven't always been like this. My first real novel, Night Music, was written the way most authors write, probably because I worked a full-time job that required a 30 minute-to-two hour commute (each-way), depending on the weather. I'd come home, make dinner and take care of all that business, then, at 7:00 I went into my little writing room and pounded on the keyboard until midnight. I had neither the time nor the energy to be precious about it. I had my outline and my numerous research books, and I wrote from them. This was before the internet so I didn't have a million-and-one writers telling how I should and should not do it, I just did what was most practical, which is probably the best advice anyone can give. Do what works for you.
My life is less structured these days, which gives me the luxury of pondering, brooding, and mulling over my work as I write it. Not the most productive, efficient path to finishing a book, I know, but it is a more organic approach. Outlines leave me cold; I'm much happier following my nose as it leads me into unknown dimensions. Still, there's always that voice in my head gnawing away at my self-esteem. "You know you're a writer when..." as the meme begins. Sod it. I'm a writer not only when I write, but when I move through life with a certain mindfulness, an eye for characters and stories, and an understanding of human psychology.
As with many things in our modern world, people think too damned much, and I'm the worst offender. Just write the story using whatever method works best for you and don't listen to all of the would-be, self-appointed experts. Accept yourself as the writer you are and always remember that the keyword that applies to any and all of the arts is INDIVIDUALITY.
You understand, of course, that I'm talking to myself.
Here's a wonderful little article that inspired today's entry.
Labels: The Craft