I read a post this morning on a writer’s blog and the whole thing was a complaint about how hard it is to be a writer. Not how lonely, or how uneconomical, or how time-consuming, although he did mention all those things, but how hard it is. How you sit there and see visions between your eyes and the keyboard and how writers should, perhaps, be medicated. And when he sees a talent amongst his creative writing students he says, “you’re a natural-born writer. God help you.” He finishes by saying, “who would choose this?”
I stopped and I thought about it. Who would? Well, I would. I have waited all my life for the opportunity to concentrate on my writing and banish all the other things demanding my time and attention. There is no greater feeling in the world than sitting alone with the characters you’ve invented and allowing them to take you on a journey. I used to plot every scene and write long character studies with back stories. Not any more. Now I trust the process. If it ends up going the wrong way, doesn’t matter, backtrack till you find where it went wrong and start again. If you create characters with real heart and soul, and a sense of humour, they will never lead you far astray.
I simply don’t understand why he thinks it’s such a curse to be a writer. He says he can do nothing else and his retirement plan can be summed up in three words. Write. Best. Seller. Maybe that’s his problem, maybe his motives are wrong. I write because I love to do it, because I do it better than anything else, because I enjoy it, because I’ve always wanted to. When I was a kid I used to say, “if I don’t write, I’ll burst.” If I don’t write, eventually I get grumpy and then I feel hollow. Like a light inside has gone out.
I know I have a vivid imagination and I love story telling. One of the reasons I love playing with Lucas is because we take two toys and a sofa and create forests, deserts, oceans, caves, iceflows and volcanoes. He gets to be the predator and I am usually the prey. When I asked why I was the plant eater, he shrugged and said, “Well someone has to be.” Fair enough.
At the moment I’m creating a new novella in my head, the continuation to “In Vino Veritas.” The reason I split it in three is because it has three voices. The first was from Vinnie’s point of view, the scallywag who does the right thing and then pays for it, over and over again. The second one will be from his wife’s point of view. Anna loves him and wants to be with him and because of one choice he made in a split second, she has to go to the end of the world and become someone completely different. The third installment will be from the detective’s point of view. Peter Harper is an ambitious man and he will chase Marcus Lane no matter what the cost, to himself and others. I love these people, they make me cry and laugh and they teach me things.
The nicest thing anyone has ever said about my writing was an email I got from someone who told me that she reads excerpts of my novel, “The Secret Keeper”, out to her husband and then they discuss the characters as if they were real people. Why on earth would you not love this profession? Where else are you allowed to name people, manipulate them like chess pieces and kill them…and get paid for it?