Saturday, January 30, 2010

Love to Write or Love the Idea of Being a Writer?

This week, I was in Atlanta for a conference related to my dayjob. Actually, I'm in still in Atlanta, although the conference is over. In the middle of this taxing conference (I am, what I discovered, a state tax professional), I had dinner with Jim Moore (, a very fine horror writer, and a great friend. Over the course of dinner, he proposed this question: Do you love to write or do you love the idea of being a writer and the "writer lifestyle"? Hm...

There are days where writing is tedious. The words don't come, the characters aren't interested in participating in the story and, well, you know the drill. Or, like I've discovered this week, you're so focused on life around you, you can't switch into creative writer mode (yes, I have the left/right hemispheres issue (see Rush's Hemispheres for more on that syndrome (a damned fine CD))). Participating in a week-long state and local tax conference is a good way to avoid being creative. I am living La Vida Tax.

But I digress. So there are tedious days where I think, maybe I just love the idea of being a writer and don't really love writing. The whole idea of being a writer is (and I know some sexy writers). You get to ponder life, hang out in coffeehouses and drink too much coffee under the pretense of creative thinking, you go to cons and hobnob with the literary upper (or middle or (God forbid) lower) crust, and you get to feel creatively important. You may write some stories, maybe take a stab at a novel, but in the end you wind up watching another CSI rerun or surfing eBay for those footie pj's you always wanted. You even say to yourself "Not tonight dear, I'm just not feeling...literary."

You know what? That's all right. You have every right to do what you want. Far be it from me to tell you whether you love writing or love the notion of being a writer. I can only talk from where I'm at, about me, to you. So back to me. Do I love writing or do I love the idea of being a writer?

Sure there are tedious days and even more days when I don't get a single word out. But wait. There are days, more often than otherwise, when the words come like magic and the plot is right there and the characters and I are grooving together and it's all one big awesome jam, like Woodstock, sans the weed and mud, but plus the Grateful Dead-like meandering spaces, the rhythmic beats, the sunshine and the love, man, there is the love. Eh...wot?

No matter how I slice this, it comes to the same thing: I am a writer and I love writing. It may be tedious at times and I may be tired more evenings than I should, but conversely, when I don't write, I get kinda cranky, and irritable, and unpleasant.

What this means is that every night I don't write, it's not because I'm not a writer, but because I'm using an excuse to not write. And that just ain't right. I can always find another reason (spelled excuse) not to write. But if I don't write, I don't move closer to that awesome "writer lifestyle".

I leave you to ponder this: If you love writing and you want to publish your writing and maybe make some cash doing it, what's stopping you? What excuses are you using to keep from writing?

Next time I'll talk about some of those excuses that could keep us from writing. So until next time (and it will be less than six months or however long it's been since I last wrote here), may you find joy and excitement in spilling tales from your brain, may you realize your love of storytelling and let it come out of you in strokes of creative genius. Eh...wot?

Happy Writin's!
Gary . . .


  1. Great post, Gary. It's a question I ask myself every day...


  2. I'm a mother. It's a hard job, but it's who I am. I don't walk away from my child when things are going crazy. I think how I can help or handle the situation.

    I'm a writer. It's who I am. I don't walk away when my characters are acting up or the story isn't flowing out of me. I think what if, and will that action lead my readers further down the path of entertainment.

    Great post, Gary. Now I must do the mother thing and plan a baby shower and write.

    2009 Golden Heart Finalist.
    OBSESSED BY WILDFIRE on sale now

  3. Good stuff.

    Thanks for sharing :)