I wrote this on another blog a while ago. Worth a read–
If You Love a Writer —
I started writing this in 1st person then decided to change it. If I’ve offended other writers by grouping us all together, please forgive me, because I know it doesn’t pertain to all writers. This is mostly my opinion of what I’ve observed from people who don’t understand how a writer’s mind and life works.
You need to Read This —
This is what we do. This is who we are. We create scenarios with made up people and circumstances, and sometimes far out, unimaginable settings that can only exist in a creative mind.
Often, our mind drifts to some scene or setting; whereas we might whip out some paper and write down notes while someone is trying to talk to us, or while we’re watching TV, or even reading. We are still listening to you–we hear you and aren’t ignoring you.
If using our laptop when you talk to us, we can still type what is on our mind while talking and listening to you. In some way our fingers have a direct connection to the part of the brain that works on story ideas. We don’t have to be looking at what we’re doing, or at you. Part of our brain is constantly at work on an idea, plot, or character, whether it be a work in progress, or something not even started yet. Sometimes we might think of books already written. It’s like a movie on an endless reel. Sometimes we might not know that part is always at work till suddenly something pops up for a story or character that just wouldn’t fit before, and then it’s clear, but we’re still listening to you.
Ideas can be floating around in our head for a book that we might not start for a year from now. Language and dialog are like a history lesson, listening to the way a person does this or that, inflections, words. It’s not something we can help. It’s the writer that lives inside. My writer living inside controls me more than I control it.
Maybe you go outside of the house to work, which of course makes you better than us because we’re at home sitting at a desktop or laptop, writing, doing our job. Often times you might not see it that way. We’ve been called lazy for sitting on our butt all day. Is that what it is to you? Creative minds need to be allowed to create. Do you say we should use our physical body to go out and bring home the bacon for you, before you can acknowledge what we do is real work?
Allowing your writer to have quiet time now and again doesn’t make it right. You think giving us permission is okay? Don’t try to take our tools away, and don’t try to dictate our writing schedule. Do you think we can’t make up stories by being kept away from the computer? Back up a few sentences and reread the part about a story always floating around, and I repeat, always. You can’t stop us from being creative. Take away our quiet, take away the media we use to document those ideas, and take away our time, but you can’t take away our stories. Accept this if you love us.
Remember at first how cool it was when you learned of our writing ability? To know a real writer was exciting to you. To see an actual book with our name on it? Did you brag to your family and friends? You can try to take away our time, but you can’t take our thoughts and ideas, because I can tell you honestly, they will be here longer than you will. This is what we do. This is who we are. Creativity is here and belongs to us. All we ask is you understand this gift, and leave us to it when it calls.
After rereading this a gazillion times, I realize it’s not only for people who love writers. It can be carried over to photography and art in many forms that take us away and into our own minds for a few hours at a time. So, if you love us, then deal with it. And be proud, yes, please be proud because it is harder work than you know.
This was inspired when a friend said to me, “Can’t you stop writing all the time and email me?”