On many occasions I’ve heard that the way to know whether or not you’re a “real” writer is this: “A real writer is always writing.”
I think this is poor criteria. Nearly every writer I know, both published and unpublished, have periods in which they simply can’t write. Whether it’s a demanding job, or a new baby, or relocation, or just depression, things happen that can’t be controlled. And if you take those difficult parts of life and add in additional stress of thinking you’re not a ‘real writer’ because you can’t write, and you stand to risk losing the nerve that is necessary to follow a creative lifestyle.
So I propose that we change this motto. Maybe we could change it to “a real writer is always creating.” I think that even during the worst parts of life a writer is always seeing stories, and recording events in their mind and heart in order to put it on paper someday.
If you’re going through a time when actual writing seems impossible, don’t lose hope. It doesn’t mean you’re not a real writer. Just focus on getting through the tough parts of life so you can get back to your true passion: writing.
We are all human beings. We all experience stress. Breaks in our “routines.” What if disasters of one type or another keep piling up on us? How do we deal with them? What decisions to we make? Are they good decisions, or bad decisions? How do we deal with the aftermath of each?
Personally, I cry. A lot, I suppose. But Saturday was a marathon: I woke very early in the morning thinking about the night my father died — YEARS ago. I was sobbing by the time I awoke my husband and told him the story of that night for the first time.
We had planned to go over to the club house in our 50’s-plus community that afternoon to see the old movie musical of “The King and I.” A show that ALWAYS makes me blubber . . . and we’d just seen an excellent live performance of it the last of June.
As we were about to start the film, we found out that the adult son of one of our neighbors had been killed by a speeding motorist, along with the family dog he was walking. To make matters even worse, her husband, a police officer, had been murdered by a criminal some years ago; the son had been living with his mother, helping her, as she is not in very good health.
Why tell you all this? It was an over-burdened day of crying over reality, fiction, and real life. We all have moments like this. So MUST our characters. They need to feel as real to the readers as actual experiences feel to us. They must find ways to deal with deaths, accidents, loss, money problems, or whatever. How do your MC’s handle these NORMAL life-stress situations. Do they crumble and weep like I do? Do they punch holes into the wall? Or the nearest person? How realistic are their actions? How effective? What would EACH character be most likely to do — in hope, or retaliation, or desperation, or anger, or glee, or hysteria, or . . . . . ?
Lots of projects ahead for me. But, at this point, I wonder if I can ever write again. No, not writer’s block. I don’t believe in writer’s block. However, I feel as though I’m too worn out to write. Too tired. Too stressed. The ideas are there, but the will to really work, isn’t.
This is why I’m hoping when Ann Dee and I run the upcoming marathon, you all will be able to help me through.