Okay, yes, I’m late. I know. I thought things would calm down when my kids went back to school, but that isn’t happening and it’s really frustrating and BLARGH! So I’m going to take a cheat and use the question posed on the ISWG site for today’s posting.
November 2 Question: What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?
Well, the ability to blame your mood swings and assorted addictions (caffeine, chocolate, comfort food, whatever) on being a writer is pretty good. It’s like a platinum certified excuse – “Oh, I’m just in a bad mood because the manuscript I’m working on isn’t going the way I’d like. That’s why I’m eating chocolate covered pickles like a feral raccoon. DON’TTOUCHTHATIT’SMINE!!!!”
And people who KNOW NOTHING ABOUT WRITING will nod sagely and give you a pass for being a grumpy bastard. The downside is that some of these same people will try to help you along with your little manuscript. They mean well, but there’s really no clean way to tell them that their suggestion is not only kitschy, but such a tired cliché it hurts your ears when you hear them say it. Not everyone’s idea is like that, but enough that it makes you cry.
I suppose there’s also the PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER!!!! BWHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAAA!!!!!
No, seriously. As a writer, you are the god of your own little world. You create whole worlds and people, force them to dance to your tune and delete them with impunity either because it’s “just their time” or because “they’re not working out.” Try doing THAT in the real world. I can almost guarantee that you will be arrested and prosecuted as a heartless psychopath to the fullest extent of the law. If some lawmaker wanted to put in an express lane for the electric chair, your case would no doubt be one they would reference.
The only downside to being the absolute power of your own little world is how disappointing it can be when you have to extract yourself from writing the manuscript and confront the real world. Your characters don’t have to do laundry or deal with unruly children or a stubborn cold unless it’s part of the plot. You, the writer, have no choice but to face these things. Hence, the ittybitty living space.
There is also the excuse of “research.” You can get away with almost anything as a writer if you say “Oh, I just need to do research for a manuscript idea I have and going to circus camp was the easiest and most efficient way to do it.” Or “But I NEED these books to help me research. Do you know how hard it is to FIND books on 19th century New York in Colorado?” Even “But this scarf/hat/vest/music/obscure knitting technique I’m learning helps me UNDERSTAND character X.” If you sell it right, you can even write these things off on your taxes.
Unfortunately, the IRS gives you only so much slack. If you’re not actually making over a set amount per year (I want to say that amount has gone up to $800, but I could be wrong and I’m too lazy to dig thru the IRS pages to find that number right now) – then these things are NOT write-offs, because you are not investing in your business, you’re investing in a HOBBY and tax write-offs don’t cover hobbies.
All these are pretty nifty aspects of being a writer but not the best part of being a writer.
There’s something about the creation of a story that gets stuck in your head. There’s an unmistakable rush when everything feels like it’s going right. There’s a sense of ephemeral beauty that you just can’t describe that fills your soul during the creation process that you just can’t step away from. It’s better than chocolate.
Of course, I’m told heroin is, too.
Check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to see more writers dish about their concerns, their solutions to various problems, or just general aeronausiphobia.