October 27, 2010

You Might Be A Writer If ...

View of sunrise from my hotel room at SCWW conference
I spent last weekend at the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) 20th Annual Conference in Myrtle Beach.

Conferences give writers the chance to rub elbows with the powerful in the publishing world--agents, editors, and published authors.  We pitch our work and commiserate with other would-be published authors while learning more about the craft and industry.

This year's keynote speaker, Joshilyn Jackson, shared her circuitous, and humorous, route to publication with us on Saturday night.

She reminded us that only crazy people try to write.  Why?  Well, if you're a writer, you:

  1. Spend most of your day alone, typing (or staring) at a keyboard
  2. Examine mundane objects trying to create a new and exciting way to describe them
  3. Venture out in public to analyze the behavior of normal people (you do this everywhere you go, actually)
  4. Wake up in the middle of the night with the most amazing prose running through your brain
  5. Get up and write down those musings in the middle of the night or pray that you'll remember them by morning
  6. Do not remember those musings by morning, of course, because you're awake
  7. Live in an imaginary world where everyone behaves as you expect them to ... well, sort of
  8. Love your characters more when they do something you didn't expect and hijack your story for a while (see point above)
  9. Wonder what other people do with all the free time they must have
  10. Try not to act like a crazy person when you finally get to talk to an agent about your work
  11. Read books noticing all of the mistakes in point of view and adverb over usage, wondering why that author got published anyway
I created this list in a short period of time, but it can go on and on.  What makes us writers?  The desire to share, to tell.  The pressure of words bubbling up in our brains, yearning for release into the world of print.

What makes you a writer?  Or if you're normal, what makes you what you are?

7 comments:

valerie said...

I was telling my brother all about a novel I'd written. He turned to my husband, wide-eyed, and asked, "She does know those people aren't real, doesn't she?" My husband shook his head. "No."

My characters are real to me. When I'm writing regularly, the world seems a little distant. I'm not totally in it. I spend the day immersed within the story, and at the end of the day come out of the office blinking and a bit dazed, as if I'd just climbed out of a cave. Takes me a little while to come back.

Isn't that normal?

Barbara V. Evers said...

Normal is over-rated. I live in my world, too. And your brother has got to be wrong ... my characters are definitely real!

Susan M. Boyer said...

I know well the feeling of the "real world" feeling a bit distant. I get agitated when something jerks me out of "my world" and into "reality" when I'm in the middle of a scene. I have to take a deep breath and struggle not to snap at family on the phone. :)

Heidi Cox said...

I like to think that I am an artist...actress mostly but, as you know, I enjoy other arts, including writing...sometimes. There are so many layers to a person that I find it difficult to define anyone as any one thing, including myself as just an actress. I am a sister and daughter. I am a student and a barrista ;) as well as a friend etc etc etc....But, to keep it light, as I know this is more what you wanted, I would say that the thing that makes me an actress is the fact that everytime I walk out of a movie, I am a little jealous and sad that it wasn't me in the film...let's call it inspired shall we?

Barbara V. Evers said...

Heidi, We shall.

Wayne said...

I wrote a novel in the early 1980's. When I started my story line was well defined, as were the characters in my novel. Each was supposed to know his or her part, at least in my mind.
Little did I know that I had created a bunch of rogues. Those thieves stole my story line, changed their ways and even had the audacity to add people for which I had never planned. THEY HAD BECOME REAL!!! I never knew what they were going to do next, but I could hardly wait to sit down and start typing to find out. What fun! No, it was never published. Maybe if they had just followed my plan. On the other hand, it was more exciting doing it their way.

Barbara V. Evers said...

Uncle Wayne! I had no idea that you liked to write stories, too. I'm dying to know about these rogues you wrote about.