Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life. ~ Lawrence Kasdan
Really think about that quote. As writers we are spending more time on writing
than probably any single (non-family) other part of our lives. Those of us unfortunate
enough to have to work 40 hours a week (or more) at a day job might find a
close tie in time, but otherwise, most likely no other part of your life takes
up so much time.
And for what?
The other day I heard an editor, when asked if she ever wanted to write, say,
“OMG- no.” This is someone who loves what she does, loves being a part of the
writing world, but doesn’t want to be at our end of it.
Part of me understands. We spend tons of time on our “babies” with less than
optimistic odds that they will end up on a bookshelf somewhere. We give up
parties, bbq’s, dinners, spending time with friends, family events, and
vacations- all so we can write. So that we can have homework for the rest of
our lives. Homework for which we may never get a passing grade.
And it’s never going to end for most of us. The unpublished will keep working
on the next book, the next project of our heart and soul that screams to be put
to page. Growing stronger and better with each book. All the while trying to
find a way to get our worlds out to the public. The published will keep racking
their minds for new ways to keep their fans and readers happy. Hopefully
growing better with each book also.
The part of me that reads those above two paragraphs completely understands
that editor’s quick and definite reply.
But the other part, the part that takes joy in creating new characters, jots
down plot twists on napkins in restaurants, steals cool names from her day job
(modified of course ;)). That part can’t understand. How could someone not want
to write? How could anyone who understands the power of the written world not
want to play god in it? To have your own creations suddenly take on lives of
their own- going places you never expected. To re-read something you wrote a
few months (or longer) ago and think that it’s really pretty good.
I guess that part of me will never understand why everyone doesn’t want to do
this. I guess I’m just a homework junkie. (Or all writers are really stark
raving mad- but that’s for another post completely. ;))