Sunday, October 21, 2012

The (Hard) Work of Being a Writer

In the shadow of a calling I found myself . . .

                                                  Realizing I have options.

Musical Moment
                 ~ "Insomnia and the Hole in the Universe"  Live

Writing is hard work.  Very, very hard work.

It always amazes me how people who are not writers seem to think writers should be done or nearly done with whatever work-in-progress they are working on.  Understandable, if you are not a writer, specifically a Fiction writer, you may not fully understand the pain (and the joy) of the journey to pull words out of your head from a place or from people/characters who do not exist except in your subconscious and active minds or to describe situations like:

~ Giving birth to quintuplets.

~ Being kidnapped.

~ Getting lost in a foreign country you’ve never been to
and don’t speak the language.

~ Writing about an eighty-years old when your thirty.

~ Feeling the stab of hunger when there is only contaminated water to drink or a scarce food supply and in your own life you’ve never known a day of scarcity.

~ Wearing a tighter than tight corset, petticoat, chemise and then the rest of your outfit that probably weighs fifty or so pounds.

~ Writing about an eighty-years old when your thirty.

~ Killing someone with a Hunga Munga.

Writers inherently understand emotions.  We are sensitive souls who can feel the pain or joy of others, but those feelings are usually something that we can tap into because we’ve had some experience with them- to a certain extent. 

In fiction, as in some people’s real life, there are horrors and pain and even joys and ecstasies that are unimaginable to most people.  It is the writer’s job to not only tap into these emotions but write it out word for word . . . for word for word.  Not only to capture how their fictional characters are feeling and managing those feelings, but their surroundings, the smells, the sounds and the textures that make up this non-existent world and that makes their characters “real” or relatable. 

Like I said, it’s hard work creating a world in words that people want to take the time to read.  We want people to read our books.  We want people to react either by falling in love with our world and becoming a fan or maybe make them think or learn something new or even to react by hating our work (a much less desirable outcome, but it’s a reaction all the same). 

Writing and storytelling is one of the greatest gifts given to humanity.  This is why it is so darn hard.  Writers put a bit of their soul into each and every story they write, so yes, it does take a while to finish a work-in-progress because we want and need to get our stories just write, err right.

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