To write. "The activity or skill of marking coherent words on paper and composing text." Simple in theory. Beyond difficult in verb form.
Here are a half a baker's dozen things about writing that if you fancy yourself a writer or have ever written something, even a speech or a blog, you just might be able to relate to.
Wait, is a half a baker's dozen even a thing? Welp. It is now. I didn't want to make this outrageously long for a list of 10, okay? We've all got crap to do today, guys. Ain’t nobody got time for 10. Sheesh. Trying to edit Book 2 over here before I get murdered in my sleep!
1) You have a running notebook of all sorts of "ideas" and never the time to create the masterpieces. Doing dishes? In the shower? You are ALWAYS thinking about your work. Talk about a hyperactive imagination…alternate endings, conversations, plot twists. You immerse yourself in your projects. It's like having an imaginary friend, but on steroids. No, not a muscular imaginary friend, though those are nice too. An imaginary reality that you more than once wish was real so that in the very least, you could visit all your friends. And don’t you dare look at me with those judgmental eyes right now! Your characters feel like real life people.
2) You are probably on the FBI watch list because of your Google history. For my first book some of my research included: chemical warfare, types of bombs, bomb radiuses, types of guns, military terms, and torture techniques. My husband wouldn't be surprised at all if the FBI or CIA comes knocking. In fact, we half expect it at this point.
3) You love/hate what you do and will forever be on an emotional roller coaster. I can go a month thinking I'm the worst writer in the history of wanna-be-writers but one beautifully crafted sentence can lift my soul. It's a part of the process. It sucks. It's amazing. Oy.
4) People who say to you, "I could do that", have NO STINKING IDEA the time or energy that is required to finish even the first draft of a manuscript. Back off, hombre. Or better yet, put in the work and do it! Writing is an art and the world will always need more beauty. Do. It. I think you'll find it's much harder than just "sitting in front of a computer and typing". :)
5) Death by editing. I'm sure that will be on my grave. I mean, holy crap, batman. And if you have to ditch a part that you worked hard on and enjoyed, a little part of you dies inside. Editing or "polishing" is the worst. Soooo many commas, so little time. My sanity was gone about 50,000 commas ago in case you’re looking for it.
6) TIME. You can spend 20 minutes and write a few pages of solid MS (manuscript). You can spend 20 minutes on one sentence. There are so many "rules", i.e. don't use adverbs, don't use said, use said, use the Oxford comma, don't use the Oxford comma, show don't tell...unless you need to tell. I once took out the word "quickly" from one sentence and spent 10-15 minutes trying to reconstruct the sentence or look for a better word to get rid of the adverb. In the end, I just put it all back the way I originally wrote it. SO. FRUSTRATING.
However, I will say those quiet moments where it all just flows from your fingertips, as you know exactly what you need to do or where you need to go and everything slides in together beautifully...those moments are few and far between but pure magic. Almost as good as my sugar addiction. Almost.
This picture I found somewhere sums up the time it takes to write a book perfectly:
6.5) And the cold hard truth is that after years of hard work and putting in all that time and effort with no reward or recognition, you are not guaranteed a single person (other than your mom) will buy your book. But somewhere in the hours and hours and hours spent honing your craft--the late nights, few hours of sleep, and early mornings--in those parts of writing that no one ever thinks about or sees, you've found what you're made of. You've found yourself. And no amount of book royalties will ever outweigh that.
So yeah, that’s me…I write. I've been super afraid to dub myself "a writer", thinking that if I couldn't make a living off of it, it wasn't what I "do". But it isn't what I do. It isn't just an action or a verb I sometimes sort of do.
It's part of who I am. And that's a truth I'm finally proud of.
I'm a writer.
(Cue the action movie pump-up music, explosives, and a very dramatic mic drop.)