Monday, September 04, 2006

The Writing Life

The Writing Life


Stacer, Jules, Miss Hass and others living a life requiring *writing,* I thought you might enjoy this article. I relate to all sides!


**edited Monday evening**

Reading this article just hit home for me- from both the point of view of a writer and as someone who wants to be a writer. I especially like the opening paragraph, "People often ask writers how they became writers. It is an exceedingly difficult question to answer because when you actually start to explain how you got to where you are, the person who asked you is already bored. This is because what they really want to know is how they can become a writer; how they can avoid your mistakes and pitfalls and go straight to the glamorous, exciting, fulfilling life that they assume you lead."

There is never a succinct or simple answer to that question, "How did you become a writer?" It has now been 3 months since we stopped writing the column and over 2 years since we actually wrote the book. It has been so long now that I wonder if I can legitimately call myself a writer. I don't feel like one. I feel like a girl who got lucky one time, but lightning may not strike twice. For me the answer to "how did I become a writer" is actually pretty simple. I had the time. I've been writing stories, concocting plots, and inventing characters since I was about 5 years old I think. Three years old if you include my first set of imaginary friends. But I can really remember inventing my first story in my head on a day when I was creating an alternate reality to kindergarten. (Not that there was anything wrong with kindergarten, I just wanted to imagine a different plotline for it, that's all.) But I didn't become a "writer" until our book was published. (For those joining us a little late in the game, Julipalooza"
and I once wrote a fiction novel" together and managed to actually get it published.) And finding the time and energy and resources to write the novel required nearly a year of sheer boredom on my part, including a mindless job where stress wasn't involved, and Juli's daughters being so small they hadn't yet discovered computer games or how to talk. I'm pretty sure those sets of events will probably never repeat themselves. So I'm not so sure I'll ever be a writer again.
But I love writing. I loved creating characters and making a story for them. I couldn't believe it the first time I ever told Juli that I had to redo a chapter because I hadn't done right by the characters. I knew where I wanted the story to go, but the characters wouldn't let me go there. That was the moment I actually felt like a writer.
I'm still working on 2 other projects that I really love. I think there is a good chance I'll actually finish one of them by Christmas. But who knows? Maybe I'll just finish it for myself and never publish. There's nothing wrong with that!

5 comments:

  1. So true!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous10:19 PM

    I get writers cramp!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wrote a response, and then it got so long I just decided to write an entry for it at my professional LJ. Suffice it to say, right on, sister.

    Since I'm linking to you from there, I'm also signing with that link: http://slwhitman.livejournal.com/

    ReplyDelete
  4. Zwoelfet15:32 AM

    I've heard other authors say the same thing (about characters taking the story where the author hadn't intended). Looks like free agency and its effects are more powerful than most people think...

    One of my sisters writes short stories, poems, etc that she sends out every year at Christmas, like a lot of people send newsletters. Maybe there's just something about seeing your work in print, even if you're the one doing the printing.

    Did you change the font size again, or is the change from a few weeks ago just now working better for IE? Because the part after the evening edit is 3.5 points larger than the rest. More readable.

    One thing I found interesting about the article is how it can apply to other things in life--filling time while we work part time on a dream that ties in to our own identity.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm happier when I'm writing. Its like this need I have to fulfill, that when I don't I feel like a little piece of me is missing.

    Yeah, I've been creating stories, poems and little songs in my head since I can remember. Its just one of those things i've always done.

    ReplyDelete

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