I love to write. I love that I can express myself on paper in a way I never could in conversation. Sometimes, writers can be a little hard to understand—we spend a lot of time in our own minds. Writing is a life of late nights, overactive imagination, and obscene amounts of coffee. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are some things writers know are true.
1. People Think You’re Crazy
In my experience, it baffles people just how much writers care about people and places that aren’t (technically) real. But that, along with spacing out, jotting down ideas at strange times, and loving all things quirky and unconventional, seems to be how our brains are wired.
2. There’s No Such Thing as “Just a Character”
This is true for books we read, but especially for stories we write. The characters we create become our family.
3. You’re Forgetful Except When Writing
Appointments? Laundry? House Keys? Be forewarned: we will not remember any of these things. But precisely halfway down page six in our story, we’re not sure if our dialogue is effective and natural, and it will haunt us at night.
4. Story Ideas Are EVERYWHERE
The grocery store, family gatherings, bus stops, in class. Wouldn’t life be more interesting if that happy family walking by were really from another planet? Or if the train you’re on were taking you west to a new life in the nineteenth century? Or if someone you knew were the president?
5. Your Imagination Is a Blessing and a Curse
It’s great to be able to vividly imagine things that will never happen. However, there’s an obvious downside. For example: What if a person I like is really a dangerous criminal? What if our world gets blown up? and What if our entire world is a massive illusion anyway? are just some thoughts that occur to me regularly. No wonder so many writers are anxious people!
6. When Reading, You Imagine the Author Writing
Maybe this is just me, but I can totally imagine Jane Austen sitting with her quill and parchment, or Hemingway sitting at a typewriter, or J.K. Rowling writing chapters of Harry Potter on napkins. It makes me appreciate books so much more to know what writers go through.
7. Happiness Is a Complex Character
They’re fantastic to read about, nearly impossible to write, and they present the human condition in both a beautiful and painfully accurate way.
8. You’ve Become a Hermit at Some Point
On occasion, our families may have wondered if we’d ever take a break and come out of our rooms. We have wondered if we’d ever have free time again. However, the end product of all this, at least for the writer, is so worth it.
9. “What’s Another Word For…?”
The importance of exact vocabulary is a very real issue sometimes. We know what we want to say, but we would love to be able to say it eloquently and precisely.
10. You Have a List of Names for Characters
“Collecting” names is a somewhat strange hobby of mine. I have a running list of names I like—first names and middle names. I suspect other writers do something similar. I find that it makes naming characters easier. And finding the right name for a character really brings that character to life!