Writers come in all shapes and sizes and of every persuasion one can imagine. We, each of us, have our own reasons for writing too. Some absolutely must. Some are drive by little voices in their heads. Others do it for pleasure or to enable themselves to examine their thoughts objectively. Still others do it because they somehow discovered they were good at it and just decided it might be fun.
Beyond mastering format and developing skill with whatever natural skill or talent a writer has – I believe a writer’s biggest challenge is how to best handle that ‘deer in the headlights’ look that they get from others when they say, “I’m a writer,” in response to the question – “What do you do?” Apparently, the average person can’t quite compute this answer if they do not recognize your name, or haven’t seen a title of yours on Oprah’s bookclub list. The look too, begs further explanation because well, you just don’t want that person wandering off in confusion and possibly into traffic. There seems no good and simple way to answer the question though and you are often forced to stand there for several minutes trying to explain to the person (who is often a stranger) that being a writer doesn’t necessarily mean that you are James Patterson or Dr. Phil and at the same time that you are not, does not lessen your status as “Writer” by not being so.
Typically, this is an exercise in futility as truly unless they are a writer, perhaps the average person is not destined to understand. It may just be easier to say that you are a consultant or life coach because Oprah has had plenty of them on her show and they can quickly find an appropriate image based on their rapt veiwership.
Don’t even bother trying to explain it to your friends or family because in the back of their mind, they are simply hoping it’s a phase you are going through and that you will soon realize you need to get ‘serious’ and find a ‘real job’ or career and give up on all this silly making up stuff.
However, I must say I really like being a writer. I honestly can’t imagine being anything else – partly because I don’t want to imagine it and partly because I have been other things and frankly, they just aren’t that much fun. Though if I were to specify why I like being a writer I’d have to say the following gives a good idea:
1. Being a writer enables me to justify my inner child. A child that is often stubborn, tunnel-visioned and readily throws temper tantrums.
2. Being a writer doesn’t not prevent me from waiting tables or selling encyclopedias or any other activity in which I can actually make some money.
3. It’s nice to pass the time while waiting in line at Starbuck’s, listening to a strangers great idea for a book which they are happily offering to you for free.
4. It instantly explains my weird and bizarre behavior.
5. I can have children without ever having to change a diaper, have a husband without having to do his laundry and have a career in any field I can imagine that I would never be offered in the real world.
6. My compulsion to make things up is looked upon as a talent, rather than just lying.
7. Ideally, I would never have to leave my computer and conquer the outside world if I didn’t want to – nor would I ever have to wear anything other than pajamas (unless of course, Oprah booked me on her show, in which case, I’d buy a dress or something).
8. All the witty reparte and searing sarcasm I never uttered in real life are not wasted.
9. I can use a secret identity or even several, as pen names are encouraged – so that I don’t particularly don’t like my real name, I can make up a fake one that sounds really cool.
10. It’s looks really bitchin’ on business cards to just have your name (large and in flourishing font) with just your phone number and “Writer”
So…why do you like being a writer?
16 thoughts on “Why I Like Being a Writer”
I am not sure I’m a writer, but I sure like blogging. 🙂 I do like getting ideas out of my head and putting them on to paper, to examine them more and play with them, see what happens, that kind of thing. 🙂
LOL Teens, you could possibly replace writer with blogger in this and come out pretty close. It’s a fun madcap world, though, ain’t it? 😉
Bwahahahaha…. 6 and 8 are my prime reasons for loving being a writer. There are so many things that just aren’t appropriate to say or do… so many ‘what if’ scenarios that I come up with… they’d all be wasted if not for writing.
LOL Naomi, those are a couple of my personal favs too. The stuff we get away with is delicious, yes?
I wouldn’t consider myself a writer. But a life coach, yeah that has my name wrote all over it.
God forbid, you should ever become a life coach, Evyl, the ladies would be blocking traffic just to get to the signup sheet. 😉
I’m a pseudo-writer or blogger. Okay, not really pseudo, more like trying hard… I write because I have to and I blog because it relaxes me… I like to write but often times I get frustrated that I am not that good of a writer. Why would I like to a real writer? Maybe because I get to express and give justice to my crazy thoughts, I would like to impart lessons in life, and I would like (just like you WC) to write clever repartees and sarcasms as well. 😉
You just keep writing your little heart out and you’ll get there. It just take time and practice and the love of writing. There are some great writer’s groups out there too – which can be really helpful and supportive, especially if you’re trying to work through a particular aspect of the craft
In all seriousness, I write because it makes me feel better for some reason to get my thoughts out. It sets my thoughts in concrete. I have the worst memory and if I just went off that alone, I’d have few memories…. this helps me when I journal about my day, my thoughts, happenings, kids, etc…
You know, Anne, that is a very good point and I never thought of that. It is a way of putting our thoughts and the happenings in our lives in something real, so we can go back and look & remember. And what a great motivation to write. Thanks for this.
Writing feels like a soft, worn quilt that I wrap around myself. It comforts me and does nice things for my little brain. It’s my refuge, and I somehow feel that I’m being the most true to who I am when I’m doing it. It’s nice to have something that resonates so strongly within me. All is right with the world when I’m writing.
The business end of it can be a bit torturous, and the uncertainty of earning my keep this way can be terrifying, but the challenge for me is learning to integrate the business end of things without killing the beauty of the writing process. I hope that I can do it.
I love how you describe how writing makes you feel. To me, it’s like seeing an old friend after a long separation – the kind of friend who just makes you feel happy to be alive and in the moment, you know?
I’ve said this before, but you are such a gifted writer that I can only see success in your future for you. It is tough to get used to the business side of things, as I’ve learned recently – but I’m beginning to think it’s just a period of adjustment during which you have to ‘un-learn’ the whole worker bee way of living. And you just have to find the way to give yourself permission to be who and what you are and then ultimately revel in it, don’t you think?
I love the fact that I so get this post.
3. It’s nice to pass the time while waiting in line at Starbuck’s, listening to a stranger’s great idea for a book which they are happily offering to you for free.
I love that too.
You just have to remember to always be listening.
The fact that I can say something in ways no one has thought of inspires me to move forward and write more.
I guess the #1 reason I love writing is that it quiets the chatter from the choir.
I love this post, kiddo.
Quiets the chatter from the choir – I love that phrase and it says it so well. I have to wonder though, if I’d actually taken all of those ‘free’ ideas offered me, how many books I’d have written now. Something to think about. 😉
I love to write, but Im not very good at it. I write because it is a release. I get so many ideas, stories, and thoughts going around in my head if I dont try to put them on paper, I think my head would explode.
Hi Calamity! I know the feeling well. Sometimes, you can’t get it all out fast enough, yes?
I don’t really write so much as record what I would say at a party if some subject came up in discussion. Then the voices in my head take care of the tedious stuff.
You know, I have a confession to make – whenever I read your comments I hear that fellow who does the Motel 6 commercials, with that quaint music in the background. I often wonder if you and he are one in the same. 😉
Guess I have already answered this question in a lengthy e-mail. Also many of my points made there are reflected in yours.
I had to laugh out loud at the
“Don’t even bother trying to explain it to your friends or family because in the back of their mind, they are simply hoping it’s a phase you are going through and that you will soon realize you need to get ’serious’ and find a ‘real job’ or career and give up on all this silly making up stuff.”
section, as I can so see this happening.
Having said that, both my hubby and my mother have recently indicated they would really love me go after a writing career. Guess they’d like to see me on Oprah one day 😉 . So I’m lucky that way.
Actually, maybe instead of using ‘I’m a writer’, one could answer the ‘what do you do’-questions with the following:
“I’m writing the script for Hugh Jackman’s new role”
“I’m researching the latest Quantum Physics developments”
“I work for Rolex’s marketing department”
“Currently I’m documenting the 5 generation saga of an influencial American family.”
“I work for various ‘helping people/kids’ reading associations”
“I’m in the Enterainment Business”.
You see, there’s ample opportunity to turn the ‘Yeah-right’ reaction into a “Wow”-reaction. 🙂
Another great post by a great writer!
Oooh, I love the 5 generation saga angle. You’re right, that would stop people in their tracks. 🙂
Ha ha ha. I avoid the strange looks by not really telling friends and family. It’s easy enough for me – I already have a family, full time and part time job and they assume I don’t have time for something as wild as writing.
I only started (re-started?) writing recently because I realize it’s my destiny – I have always enjoyed writing, and there’s no point in spending all my waking hours doing something I don’t enjoy.
Congratulations on your new realization that writing is your destiny. Sometimes that can be half the battle – admitting that it’s just you. Don’t worry, though, you’re secret is safe with me. 😉
Would that my voice was so pleasant as Tom Bodett’s! With a set of pipes like that I could easily get into the lucrative books on tape industry, or, with a bit of luck, be a TV preacher. Ah, dreams of the good life!
By the by, did you ever hear the parody of those commercials for Motel 666? They used to play it on my favorite radio station at least once a week during commute time. The first time I heard it, I had to pull off on the shoulder for several minutes until I could stop laughing. If I can find a copy, I’ll send you a link, but it came out during the Dark Ages, before the Internet, so that may be a fruitless endeavor.
I’d love to hear some of those spoof commercials. I bet they’re a hoot.
i just had to mention that i love eavesdropping on converstaions at coffee shops. Coffee’s almost as good as liquor for getting people talking.
This is a good post. i like to know why writers i like write.
i write demons out.
When i don’t write, oh my word- i’m foul. It’s awful.
But mostly, if i didn’t write i’d probably be bitter, miserable and just plain evil (not to be confused with evyl) because all these thing would fester inside me.
Also, i can write things the way they should’ve gone.
The few times i’ve told people that i’m a writer, they want to read something and a little bit of me dies because i would never hand someone something i wrote just like that.
Funny, considering that my goal is to have millions read a book authored by me.
God Christine, you just shook out a big memory for me by what you’ve said here. I was driven to write my shoulda life when I was a kid – in fact, it may have been my original inspiration. Thanks for reminding me of that.
Writing is also such a lasting form of self abuse, don’t you think? And far less messy. 🙂
Plus no visible scars. 😉
Writing validates the chaos inside my head.
It’s pretty much that simple for me.
Well I must say your chaos looks pretty good on paper. 😉