Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Art of Writing

Someone recently told me how lucky I was to be a writer. After all, what could be easier than working in my jammies and not really working. HA, if this person hadn't been a VIP to someone important to me I would have stood up and walked away at the very least.
Here's a hint for those not in the know. Writing is hard work, very hard work. It takes dedication, perseverance and commitment. Not to mention talent and very thick skin. Bad reviews, scalding rejections all take their tolls, but a writer keeps true to themselves and their characters.
It's not so much the need to get published though there is that, but it's almost a compulsion to write out the stories in their heads. The twists and turns of each plot take over our minds and lives until we have no choice, but to commit the tale to paper. To give it life and watch it grow.
Working from home isn't easy. There are tons of distractions with family, friends and strangers all dropping by, calling or making their presence known one way or another. Most don't understand or don't want to understand that work is really work and you can't just walk away to go shopping or out to lunch. 'You can do it later'. Yeah, because free time just falls from trees in a writer's world.
With so many other things going on in our lives, sitting down at the computer takes a concentrated effort. Yes, there are many other things I'd rather do on a sunny Spring day, but I make myself sit there and write about whatever storyline is going on in my head.
It all boils down to this if I don't write I don't get paid. The end. Like everyone else on the planet I have bills. In order to pay these bills I need income. My income just happens to come from one of the greatest jobs in the world, writing. So I write to give life to my characters and to pay those pesky bills.
Next time you think the writer's life is simple and easy try this. Go to your computer, sit down and write something. Not anything big, maybe just a thousand words. How long did it take? Does the story flow? Do your characters have dimension? Will readers be able to identify with them? Will they love the hero and cheer for the heroine?
If you answered no to any of these questions, tough luck, you need to start over. Now doesn't that suck?
Welcome to the easy world of being a writer.


Regina Carlysle said...

Great post Allie because, no, it's NOT easy. Most of us are compelled to write and getting that first book pubbed is the easy part (and NO that's not EASY...I'm being a smart ass). After that you have to worry about completing the next and the next and the one after that and in between manage promotion, deal with edits etc. Pressure to perform and turn in that next book is always mounting, too. Couple that with raising kids, keeping a home and dealing with all the other crisis that come up in ones life and yeah, it can be as stressful as any other job out there. I get so pissed at those who make off-hand comments about what I do, implying it has no worth, no value.

Jen B. said...

I used to think it would be cool to be a writer for a living. A few years ago I began following authors and blogs and got a crash course in what it is to be an author. Especially an author in today's technological world. I admire anyone who can actually go from concept to print (published) through promo and start all over again on the next project. The one thing that always strikes me is that I don't know how authors have time for the mundane things like bill paying because it seems like they are always formulating the next thing? I guess authors must be able to compartmentalize to survive! Great post!

Harlie Reader said...

Great post and thanks for the writing exercise because I've already started over AGAIN! LOL! Being a writer has got to be the hardest job out there. Yall just make it look easy......not!

Harlie Reader said...

It takes someone special to be able to write and I bow down to anyone that can.

Anonymous said...

Writing is easy my $&@!! I've always loved to read and I wrote the typical teenage depressing--woe is me--poetry. I've always marveled at how an author could actually write an entire book. Recently I wrote one. I wrote it. Edited it. Submitted it. It even made it past the first level of the review process. And then, you got it, it was rejected. Months of my life, sleepless nights, weight gain--my blood, sweat and tears--for nothing except a huge blow to my self esteem. That's how I felt at first, and after a couple weeks of feeling like an idiot who'd had her head in the clouds, I'm up and at it again. This was, hands down, the hardest thing I've done in my life. Above being married, raising a kid and owning a business--all put together!!

For those of us who have to work, the greatest gift in that is loving what you do. I've found every writer I've met, loves their "job". And that's what makes the hard work, painful rejections, and success all the sweeter. Shame on those who think this business is easy!!

Allie Standifer said...

Thanks to all of you for your supportive and informative comments. Writing is more than butt in chair, eating chocolate & waiting for the muse to take over my body. They say you can't please everyone all the time but that's exactly what's expected of writers for each book. I do love writing. I wouldn't change my career choice for the world, even if I could. It's the readers that make pain, blood and humiliation worth it.

gusDon said...

A note is still required, because we can assess what has happened, it's a good thing right? Write something still need focus and deep concentration...

I hope!

Tess MacKall said...

What about the work that goes into promotions? Jeez. That alone is mind-boggling. We have an actual schedule to keep as well. Most people think there is NO deadline for us. We're always on deadline. Something needs to be done today. My calendar is constantly exploding.

Writing is one of the hardest jobs out there. And it's one of the most solitary too. You can have all the crit partners in the world, but in the final analysis, the writer is the one that hits a home run with their words or fouls out. It's hell on the ego for sure.

We might not be doing any heavy physical labor---but the amt of brain cells I use on a daily basis? Good Lord. And the stress? Yeah, there is a monumental amount of stress. It's not at all like people think. You just sit down at a desk and let words flow. Not at all.