Wednesday, July 2, 2008

About Writers

Writing can seem to be an almost mystical journey. From where do the ideas spring? How does the writer settle on a particular word or turn of phrase?

Those who engage in writing find that one size does not fit all. It isn't a matter of simply turning on the computer and typing. Some have to perform preparatory rituals such as sharpening a dozen pencils or refilling their fountain pens. Some write best while listening to a certain style of music or in dead silence. Some writers take their laptops or pens and paper to coffee houses and sandwich shops because they need the bustle of business that doesn't concern them. One screenwriter in California writes on his portable manual typewriter at the beach or in a park because fresh air and sunshine make the words flow.

Some writers rent office space or lease a studio while others are okay with a converted bedroom or the space under the stairs. Some write before their families awake in the morning. Some write after the spouse goes off to work and the children to school. Some wait until everyone's asleep.

Agatha Christie plotted while soaking in her bathtub, eating apples.

The point is that a writer needs what that writer needs. Anything else, whether it's from ignorance, misguided good intentions, a misunderstanding, or presuming to know what a writer needs better than the writer does, is a hindrance, an obstacle, or downright sabotage. By the latter, I refer to reneged promises and assurances. I know people whose family and friends say they support their writers and wannabees, but what they actually do exposes them as unsupportive, self-centered, disloyal, liars.

For example:

The wife who said she'll keep the children quietly occupied elsewhere after dinner so he may write who then invited both next-door neighbors, with their children, over for dinner to socialize for the evening.

The parents who promised their unpublished adult son a laptop as a birthday gift, then bought a desktop computer that he still can't take to the library when he does research.

The mother who called her writing daughter several times during the day despite knowing that she was trying to finish a book while her young girls were at school because her agent already had a publisher lined up who was eager to see it. The writer insisted that her mother call only after 2:30 P.M. then quit answering the phone and let the answering machine take the calls when her mother persisted in interrupting her work just to chat.

The friend who wanted to go to lunch every day like they used to do when they were in college, who got angry when the writer said no, only once a week.

Please examine what you've been doing, not only to the creative people in your life, but to everyone you know. If what they're doing isn't illegal, immoral, or ungodly, what do you care how they live their lives and achieve their goals? It's their lives, their dreams, and their goals, not yours.

Go get your own.

John 21:22. Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

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