Seriously, do they think we don’t notice or something?
If you’re a writer, you know what I’m talking about. That moment when you refer to a character as if they’re a real person, or get ridiculously excited because the bitch of a plot tangle you’ve been fighting with for months has finally sorted its sorry self out. Or the conversations you suddenly interrupt because you had a brilliant idea and must write it down. The face your classmates make when they see you’ve scribbled conversation snippets all over your class notes. (Okay, maybe that one’s just me.)
Either way, if you’re a writer, you’ve gotten that look before. It’s the look of “Are you freaking nuts?”
We admit to having characters talking in our heads, have arguments with said people in our heads, and on a good day make little to no sense to our loved ones. (But they love us anyways, and we thank our lucky stars for that, because sometimes, despite all the arguing in our heads, writing can be very lonely.)
I’m pretty sure some writers would like to deny that they’re crazy, but I see no problem admitting it. I like going through life mulling over what conversations and anecdotes could be worked into my writing. I enjoy having stories in my head, stories that I try to get from my brain to the page so that I can share them with people. It doesn’t always go well, and that’s when I stare at the notes I’ve written and wonder what in sweet hell I was thinking when I decided to write a series. (Or, alternately, sometimes I’m just trying to read my writing. It’s messy at best.)
But then sometimes, it goes brilliantly; even if you can’t write at that very second, you get an idea that clarifies the knotted snarl of plot that you were having trouble with, and you scramble to get it down–on your phone, on a whiteboard, on a Post-It note, on whatever you have at hand–before you lose it, because you know it’s big. Or if you can write, it’s that moment where you sit down, you forget the world around you, and get completely lost in the story. Background noise fades out, growling stomachs, aching heads and cramping fingers are forgotten, and all you do is write until finally, slowly, whether you exhaust yourself or something brings you back to earth, you slowly come back to yourself and sit looking at what you’ve accomplished. Sure, you’ll have to edit it later, but that’s the non-fun part of writing, where the inner editor makes us all feel like terrible hacks who can’t string a proper sentence together. What matters is that moment where you know the stuff you just wrote is good, and it’s good because your characters, your setting, your plot and all those other factors clicked and you just wrote for the pure pleasure of it.
That’s why I write, anyways. The incredulous looks I get from people every now and then–just a rather amusing perk.
If you’re a writer, why do you write? I swear, I really do want to know!