Monday, September 30, 2013

This Writing Thing

I have a friend that told me he hated that I was a writer.  He thought that all writers were arrogant and thought their ideas are better than anyone else's.  Good enough to write them down and share them with the world.  Good enough to record them forever.  

He said I wasn't like that, and writing didn't suit me.

I never shared my writing with him.  In fact generally, I haven't shared much of my writing with anyone I know outside the writing group. 

This writing thing has been inside me as long as I can remember, but I've always felt a little ashamed or embarrassed by it, like I'm a dreamer who doesn't know how to work.  Like I have my head in the clouds, and I'm going to live on an unrealistic hope and a dollar.  Like I think my ideas are better than everyone else's and I think they're good enough to put them down on paper forever.

That's not really me.  

In my more optimistic moments, I try to think about writing as my secret identity, slipping into an alternate universe to sort out the fictional world like only a writer can.  I put on my glasses and imaginary cape and jump into whatever world I have created through the rabbit hole in my laptop.

But mostly, being a writer is a burden and a struggle and a blessing and a lovely curse.  Writing helps me to make sense of the world, and when I go a week without writing (let alone six weeks, like it has been), I feel a little lost and disoriented.  Writing is such a part of my life that it leaves a hole when it's not there.

Funny, other writers understand this.  Other people nod and may relate to this in some way, but I don't know if they really do understand.  

When it comes down to it, I don't particularly think that my ideas are better than anyone else's, but I do work at them and weave them--maybe more than others.  I have a drive and passion to get them down, but there is no drive in me to share them with anyone else beyond the hope that someone might get something out of what I write and the possible--and unlikely--financial gains.  

I need to write.  This writing thing?  I don't know.  It's tricky.


  1. Fascinating view your friend has! If he had his perfect way, no one would ever have written anything and no one ever will! I wonder if he'd be happy in that world? At any rate, a good psychologist would have a field day with your friend's view of writers and our sullen craft.

    I think the key is that we, as fiction writers, don't believe our view is better--unless of course you have a polemic to spew like some dazed politician or ranting zealot or shrugging objectivist--it's simply that we each believe it's our very own way or vision of seeing the world...and the hope, as you said, Heather, that a reader finds something when we share that vision with them. Only that.

    And if we believe and dig and work and express our view of the world as honestly and faithfully and artfully as we can, then whatever follows is wonderful.

  2. I suspect Heather, that your friend's friends statement hating that you are a writer is more about him and less about you. It could be a statement of wishing he COULD write. There are so many important statements in your posts. You say you are often ashamed or embarrassed about being a writer. It know the fears you speak of. Is what I am doing worthy of all this effort? Will anyone notice? Can I tolerate the critiquing? Is all this worth it? I went through all that. We all did. The answer is simply that it is worth it. Look down the road to the end result. We are here to help. Let us do it.