As a writer, it’s all too easy to focus on what’s going wrong. You can’t wrench the plot into shape; the deadline is looming and you have a million tasks to juggle; your publisher or agent doesn’t believe in your beloved project; your computer died; the dog ate your manuscript. Or you are struggling with a lack of self-belief. The life of a writer is potholed with angst. We sometimes need a reality check in order not to wallow in it.
After a week of emotional highs and lows, I decided I would make a list of the good things about being a full time writer. I plan to take this out and look at it every time I catch myself whining about how hard it all is during the busy year ahead. I figure the good bits must outweigh the bad. We love writing, don’t we? If we didn’t, why would we keep on doing it? Here’s my list:
Juliet’s good things about being a writer, in no particular order:
- Being your own boss; being in control
- Managing your own work time
- Being able to work more or less anywhere: inside, outside, on a plane, in a café, in bed
- Being paid to dream
- Access to caffeine at all times while working
- Tax-deductible research travel
- Characters who spring to life and surprise you on the page
- Being able to live in more than one world
- Continuing to learn and grow through your work
- Serendipitous discoveries that spark off brilliant new ideas (often made in unlikely places, such as the pages of a dusty research book or the aisles of a supermarket)
- Sharing your stories, characters and ideas with readers; communicating something worthwhile; touching others
- Losing yourself in the story, like Alice down the rabbit hole
- Felicitous moments in the writing – the bits you revisit, thinking, “Did I really write that? Wow!”
- The satisfaction (tinged with sorrow, as it’s a goodbye) of finishing a ms
- The thrill of starting a new project
- Sharing your work chair with a dog – who wouldn’t want that small, warm presence guarding her back?
- Last but not least, earning a living doing something you really love despite all the bad parts.
What are your good things about being a writer?