Being a writer is an interesting job because you often work from home and have nontraditional hours. Having multiple characters clattering about in your head, demanding you tell their story while also having to exist within the present is enough to drive anyone crazy. And that's exactly how I feel when I'm writing. Shannon and I realized we shared some of the same eccentric behavior when it came to putting words on the page. (I tackled 10-6 while Shannon addressed 5-1)
10. Isolation: I have this intense desire to be alone so I can finish my novel but that rarely if ever is granted. So I have to find ways to be alone while surrounded my others. Headphones, Pandora, YouTube, (in case I need a particular song on repeat to get the chapter completed) are gold. My family knows not to talk to mean if I have a pen, paper, and headphones in.
9. Comfort and ultimately extremely unhealthy food eaten in mass quantity: There's lots of chocolate and popcorn, because there is no way I'm stopping to eat unless it's very simple and provides lots of calories to keep me going. If I can be writing why would I be cooking? I pack snacks and refreshments so that all I need to do is take a quick trip to the kitchen to refuel rather than stop.
8. PJs: There's no time to get dressed and besides writing for me me means burrowing in my cave and not interacting with the outside world.
7. Insomnia: Sleep is my reward for when the book is done (I know Arianna Huffington wouldn't approve). Early morning, when no one else is awake yet and very late at night, when the rest of the house is quiet but my mind is screaming pivotal plot points are my favorite times to write. These times of day I don't feel guilty for ignoring my family because they are far away in dreamland.
6. Obsessive: I become hyper focused in a way that is borderline sickness but I can't help it, it's much more powerful than me. I think about my novel all the time, the characters, where they end it up, how they get there, who they meet along the way, the why of it all is always present until it's published.
5. Daydreaming: Is there any job in the world that includes, and is almost a requirement, to stare off into space as we dream up stories? I love to put on my headphones and think of my story as I turn it into a live action movie in my head. If I can see it play out then I know I’m ready to write it down.
4. Freedom: There is a delicious sense of freedom being a writer. We are not bound to do the same thing every single day for the next thirty years. We can write what we want, when we want too. If we don’t want to write romance, we can write gritty science fiction. We can expand young minds in one children’s book to fouling it up the next time with a erotic thriller.
3. We own the word Crazy: Everyone knows writers are nuts. We isolate ourselves. We talk to ourselves. We create unrealistic realities and bury ourselves in them to the point where we almost can’t find our way out. We’re proud of it and where you see a straight jacket in our future, we see a potential story we can write in the asylum as we mingle amongst our peeps.
2. The accomplishment of writing a book is like no other feeling: I don’t know if it’s because few people who start actually finish or if it’s because when you do finish writing a book you’re so exhausted, but typing out the words ‘The End’ is almost indescribable. It’s an euphoric feeling of epic magnitude to us writers and we remember each and every time we finish our novels.
We forgo sleep because we have this aching need to not only get the story out of our heads, but because we desperately want to share them with our readers. Our diet is akin to a 7th grader being left on their own for a weekend. We daydream. We crash. We burn. We straddle the line of insanity all while trying to maintain normality in front of our kids and families. We obsess about everything we have ever written and we do this because we are so focused on trying to convey our stories to the best of our ability. It’s emotionally and physically draining sometimes, but at the end of the day though, I wouldn’t trade being a writer for any other job in the world.