Monday, September 2, 2013

The Long, Lonely Writer's Journey

You've seen those looks. That special smile somebody gives you when you announce "I'm a writer." or boldly say "I'm an author." to an acquaintance.

Of course, the next words heard are: Have you written anything I may have read?

Really? You just read without looking at the author's name?  It would be like reaching up in the library, grabbing a book and saying "Oh, let me read this." If you don't know the author, how do you make the judgment to read it? Yes, sometimes a reader must pick up an unknown author but remember, the author is only unknown until read.

I may not remember every author's name of the books I've read over the years, but I do believe if I heard the name when being introduced, it would ring familiar.

A writer at a party always gets the same response, repeatedly.  "What have you written?"

But let's step back a little.  Forget that many authors are intimidated by the possibility of any type of interaction with another human.  Not really, but since we, as authors, tend to work alone, most people consider us hermits.  Trust me, we are far from the stereotype, nervous ninny who bangs away on a typewriter.

I mentioned the lonely life.  Authors work alone and therefore are considered loners.  But, in truth, we, as authors, are not alone and we don't work alone.

Think about it!

You write an article.  What is the first thing you do?  Okay, you go back over it to do edits. THEN you send it to a friend or two for their reviews and insight.  You aren't done yet.  You take the feedback and fix parts of your project. Plus, you aren't finished.  You now send it off to a professional editor - that person who will rip apart your little baby and leave you feeling like the loser in the boxing ring.  That feeling is only a fleeting moment when the edits are realistically evaluated and you decide that some of them are of actual value.  Yes, as the author, you have the right to accept and reject those edits.  Now you send the article to a publisher... or two... or three.  You get accepted and again, you deal with another editor who suggest changes that must be made.

Did you catch the two operative words in that last sentence?  Suggest?  Must?  This is the publisher and unless you can validate your reasons for not making their suggested changes, they  must be made.

So, other than in the creative process -- a writer is not alone.  A writer has anywhere from one to perhaps twenty friends to work with as the process moves forward.

Therefore, in reality, only to an outsider does a writer's life appear to be a long, lonely existence. To those in the know, we have a rich collection of friends and acquaintances whom we are in daily contact.  Maybe many of them are cyber connections but I know, in my life, several are those who I visit, relax with and discuss writing issues - theirs and mine - over a wonderful cup of coffee. (And a muffin, if I'm lucky!)

When confronted with that look of sympathy as a poor, lonely writer hermit, I can hold my head high and smile inwardly, knowing I have a wonderful existence, filled with fantastic people who share my excitement by blending words to create a marvelous work to read.

Until next I ramble on...

1 comment:

  1. Agree! On many fronts! As a writer I cherish the "alone" part -- but it's a relatively small part of my overall existence. I write and I live fully. I'm not a loner though my writing exists initially in perhaps the most private part of me. I like the voice of this post and look forward to reading more!