Monday, June 22, 2015

The Reality of Being a Writer

I was out of town the last four days for my goddaughter's wedding in Missouri and decided to extend my vacation by having a "rerun" of a previous blog post. This one originally appeared on The Back Deck Blog on September 8, 2014. I'll have a new post up next Monday, but in the meantime, enjoy a blast from the past!

A few random ramblings....

A writer is always working, even when not actually putting words on a computer screen or sheet of paper. Most of the work is done in the head and usually while engaged in some other activity (like a paying job.)

No matter how disciplined we promise we're going to be, there's always something that comes up that's "more important" than the writing. Usually this something is "more important" to someone else.

The storyline and dialogue always sound better in our imagination than they do on paper.

I've yet to meet a writer that wasn't willing to help out another writer, either with a critique, a review, a publishing opportunity, or just helping to find the right way to express an idea. No matter how busy we are, we're always there for each other.

I've gotten almost 20 rave reviews on my first book, "End of the Road". But I still can think of a couple dozen more ways to make it better... and 10 years from now, I'll look at it and wonder how it ever got published!

My first "star" moment... when Paul and I went to Sears to buy a new refrigerator and I set up the account with the sales clerk, giving her all my info--including that I worked at the Walmart bakery--but NOT telling her that I was a writer. The next day she calls me at Walmart: "Oh, my gosh! YOU'RE Amy Bennett! The author! I just LOVED your book!" Yeah, it's embarrassing to admit, but it was still an unforgettable moment.

We really DON'T do it for the money.

People wonder where writers get their ideas. It seems like we never run out... until we sit down to write.

Writing isn't that hard, but writing WELL is a lot harder than it looks.

No matter how much a writer hates rewrites, edits, promo work, marketing, and deadlines, the writer must accept it all as part of the job and quit whining about it. Go back to writing in a journal or diary and forget about getting published if you don't want to deal with it (I tell myself this frequently.)

There is always room for improvement.

It's not that we mind it when strangers walk up to us and start giving us their ideas for a story or book... it's just that, most of the time, we've already thought of it ourselves and now, good or bad, we can't use it or the person who approached us with it will swear that we stole their idea.

Writers love the company of other writers; it's when we can best be ourselves and be accepted as normal.

Our characters are nobody we know... and everybody we know.

All it takes is one reader to appreciate the hard work and love that we pour into our characters, settings, dialogue--indeed, our entire story--to make us glad we had the courage to set it all down on paper. So if you love a writer's work, tell them. Nothing will ever matter as much to them.

Writers see the world through different eyes... eyes filled with curiosity, with understanding, with passion. And with their eyes, they help the readers see as well.

I love to see that look in the eyes of a young writer... I hope I still have it.