It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums to get rid of.
The occupational hazards of writing are something my writer buddies and I discuss frequently. Every job, hobby, or past time comes with its own unique quirks. Writing, I think, comes with exceptional hazards. Here are a few of the ones I have experienced.
1. An irrational phobia of a blank page or computer screen. I must have wordage...I love the look of a blank page for about 30 seconds...then I must fill it up!
2. Never being able to simply read a book without my internal editor occasionally popping up to scream, “There’s a mistake!! I saw a mistake!!” or “How can she get away with all those adverbs? My crit group would shred my manuscript if I had all this stuff in there!”
3. Never being able to take simple pleasure in going to a bookstore or library. Sure I can still browse the shelves and choose the perfect gem to borrow or add to my collection. And of course bookstores and libraries are still my favorite places in the world to be. But somewhere in the back of mind is the unavoidable daydream of seeing MY book on the shelves next to those I am looking at. And while I am browsing for something to read, my internal researcher is checking up on what’s out there, who is publishing what, what titles are filed under what genre, and a million other things other than simply finding a book to read.
4. Never being able to answer the question, “So what do you do?” without getting strange looks, eye rolls, and a few dozen ridiculous, weird, or obnoxious questions, story ideas, requests for you to write something for them, or the ever popular “oh yeah, I’d do that too if I had the time.”
5. Never being able to open your email inbox or physical mailbox without at least a slight flop of the stomach or skip of the heart…after all, a publishing contract complete with an advance check for $25,000 or an offer of representation could be sitting there just waiting for you. Right? :D
6. The danger of being considered mentally slow or just plain weird because you have the tendency to stare off into space at odd moments or walk around the house muttering to yourself about (or to) fictional people that no one else believes exist (but we know better, right?) ;-)
7. The danger of your significant other jump to the wrong conclusion when they come across all those sticky notes that you leave all over the house that say things like “be sure to hide the murder weapon where no one can find it” and “break up after huge fight over how to say pall bearer” (this one actually happened to me – my husband saw that note on the fridge and said, “We are breaking up over pall bearers?” Poor guy…I still crack up over that one. :D
So how about you? What occupational hazards have you come across since entering the wonderful and strange world of writing?
This is one of the hazards of trying to write at my house...his name is Cyrus...and he would prefer that I spend my time petting him, not writing. Or reading for that matter. He sees an open book of any type and this is what he does. :D