Let me guess.
Ideas distract you and scratch away at your attention so much that sometimes it’s tough to be present, really present, when you’re with other people.
Maybe the scent or sizzle of burgers on the grill at the neighborhood BBQ takes you back to your childhood, to a story waiting there that you haven’t thought about in years. And suddenly you’re no longer there with your friends, but someplace else. Somewhere in your head.
The people you’re with will notice this, of course, and might think that you’re either rude or aloof. So there’s that. But there are also those times when you are present, listening to your friends in a way that others don’t—grasping the hard truth and soft emotion and life and love and passion hidden beneath their words.
And so people don’t know what to make of you.
You’re a writer. You believe in once upon a time. You channel your dreams. You wrestle with words in ways that are hard to even define. Angels and fairies won’t leave you alone. Thoughts of the bogeyman still keep you up at night.
Writing a book devours your time—and since time is life, that means it’s consuming huge, unrecoverable chunks of your precious, momentary, miraculous life. But for some reason that doesn’t bother you. It inspires you. And drives you to write even more.
Unless you’re a prodigy or a literary genius, it probably takes you about a month to write what it takes people an hour to read. So you might legitimately be investing a thousand hours or more into a novel—a thousand lonely hours in solitary confinement.
But it isn’t so solitary. Because when you’re alone with your story, you’re never really alone. The characters keep you company. The story gets the best of you and time races by.
You know what it’s like to wake up at 2 AM with an idea, and slip out of bed so you don’t wake your partner, and then tap away at the keyboard in the basement for four hours until you make your way back under the covers to try sneaking in a little more shuteye before you need to get up and go to work for the day.
Which you do.
In order to pay the bills.
Until this writing thing takes off.
Even if that takes forever. [Read more…]