It was a slow day at work yesterday, and I was able to roll back to the hotel where I dealt with the slow internet connection. Really, it was driving me crazy, and at some point, right around nine PM, I finished editing Chapter Ten of Couples Dance–about sixty-three hundred words in one shot, because lack of distractions allow that to happen–then watched a little of Godfather II before calling it a night.
Exciting times, huh?
There was a link floating about on Facebook yesterday, a Buzzfeed list with the title, “20 Signs That You’re a Writer”. It had some humorous points–after all, Buzzfeed is The Onion for the Tumblr crowd–and there was even one point that made me nod my head and say, “Yeah, done that.”
There was, however, one important sign they left out that should be addressed. Since I was thinking about this a bit last night–yes, I do this, even when watching TV, because that’s what writers do–I figured I’d say a few thing and likely suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune–which would be nice, ’cause then I could pay my bills.
Most of the stuff on the list is pretty nonsensical. It’s meant to be, because it’s hitting all the points of every stereotype writers have. They drive people crazy talking about their stories, they love their characters way too much, they drink gallons of coffee, they are some kind of strange to keep looking up baby names and figuring out how to kill people. Some do–the majority of professional writers likely know this not to be true. While I have looked up names on baby name sites–I’ve even linked to a few of them in the past–the idea that someone is looking at my computer history and figures I’m pregnant because of that? Don’t think so. And finding interesting ways to kill someone? I don’t write mystery, so a bullet through the eye does fine with me. Besides, I’m more about doing something really terrible to someone and letting them live–just ask the character in Chapter Nine who had something horrible happen to them. If they were real, they’d have wanted to die.
Writers really aren’t that strange. Yes, there are your drunks and substance abusers within the community, but that seems to go hand-in-hand with people who manage any kind of creativity. I’ve had a few issues in the past, though they were brought out more by having a history of alcoholics on both sides of my family, and having my own problems being bi-polar, and less from I was writing–because I wasn’t writing, I was trying to survive. But so many writers are like the nice uncle next door who smiles and waves at you while they’re watering their lawn. Robert Bloch wrote Psycho, and was by all accounts a soft spoken, gentle man. Ray Bradbury wrote incredible fantasy, hated to fly, but was a kind person. Agatha Christie was suppose to be nice, except for when she was being chased by giant wasps . . .
The idea of a writer as “strange” is, in of itself, bad. To many they may seem that way, because non-creative types really don’t understand the creative mind. I don’t label myself as such, and would hope that other writers don’t as well. There’s nothing good that comes from being seen as “strange” to others. Trust me on that.
There is only one point to consider when you’re looking for signs that you’re a writer:
That’s it, that’s all there is when it comes to the secret. Do you write? Or do you spend all your time procrastinating and talking about your writer’s block and joneing for coffee? Do you work hard at your craft learning to grow, or are you a vampire?
And for the record, I didn’t think I’d become famous until after the first hundred thousand words of my Great Never Ending Novel was written. After that I was like, “Yeah, I’ll sell this and it’s Top of the World!”
That was twenty years ago. No fame and glory, nope. I wasn’t a writer then–
I finished that story last year, though.
Because I am a writer today.