People who find out I’m a writer are always surprised to hear the realities, so I stopped sharing them long ago. I think people would rather imagine their writer friends in their garrets smoking, sipping whiskey, pounding out ten chapters a day, and collecting big checks. I’ll post my top five writer realities here:
1) Writers usually have to keep their day job. Not everyone does, but for various reasons I choose to keep my day job. One of those reasons is health insurance, the other is because I want to help with college tuition should my children choose to go.
2) Published writers still have to wait. The publishing world is just as slow as it was before I got published, and the waiting is just as difficult. The difference is now when I wait I don’t worry that I’ll NEVER get published, I worry that I’ll NEVER GET PUBLISHED AGAIN.
3) The muse has her own timetable. I’m pretty busy. When I scratch out the time to write the muse doesn’t always meet me for the writing date. When this happens I have to pull out every single word. The opposite is just as likely to happen. Meaning, I could be reading an awesome book aloud to my class (this week it’s The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan) and I find myself possessed by the incredible writing and it makes me want to run home to my laptop and be just as great with my words. Do you think they’d notice if I were not there?
4) Stuff happens. Even if, by some miracle, I am able to juggle #1, #2, and #3, people get sick, stress abounds, and storms rage. Writing has to get put aside until things settle down a bit.
5) Writing is my life. Even while jobs, illness, stress, and the stuff I can’t control are happening, I am still writing. It may not be at the laptop, but the stories continue in my head and I take notes. It’s all material. For example, while I was out, the dog took the pot scrubbers, sponges, and bottlebrush out of the sink and chewed them up and left them on the rug. Bizarre. But I bet I’ll use it in a story.