As writers we stand alone in that we are probably some of the few people who can stand our own company—for hours at a time. If asked the question: “If you were to be stuck on an island for a year with only one other person, dead, alive or imagined, who would it be?” A lot of us would most likely choose a character from one of our books, or another person's book, and think, “I'll get that novel finished finally.”
We are drawn to places like Staples, Office Max, or the office supply aisle in any store, to brows the pens, paper, notebooks, thinking of ways to use them. We all have our favorite color pens, paper, and brands.
If we're really into having a little fun, we're most likely to be found at a bookstore, drinking a chi latte, or mocha caramel-something-or-other. We may have our laptops with us (if we own one), and at some point will brows the magazines for the latest writing news, and then a good deal of time will be spent in our favorite genre section checking out what our favorite authors are up to, and see who is new, dreaming of our books appearing on the shelves right next to one of these authors.
If we get a call from a friend, or relative who we have not seen in a while, and they ask if we want to go to lunch, and we're in the middle of the scene, we're split between our loyalty to the page, and that friend/relative. Many times more than not, we usually decline, make up an excuse (because who would believe we'd spend so much time just writing, and that this is a viable excuse—unless, of course you are considered a “professional” writer and you've been making money this way?)
Yes, we might be the few people on the planet who are very comfortable with being alone with our thoughts. Because, lets face it, our mind is ripe with a fantasy going on all the frigging time, day and night. Speaking of which, we suffer from lack of sleep because we may have to get up in the middle of the night (yeah, when every one's asleep and can't bother us), to get to the computer and work on that scene or dialogue that just won't shut up, or that you know if you don't get it down, it might never come back. And when you get finished with it and think, omg, is this the best thing I've ever written or what???
We give ourselves restraints on our lives, knowing that if we don't plant our butt into the chair before the computer screen, the job ain't gonna get done. We need time, a quiet place, and as few, to no distractions as we can possibly have. The island for a year starts to look real good when job, kids and a few other things begin to push us around, keeps us from our “happy place”.
We are of one spirit. I know all of you out there have these qualities. I'm so happy to have you, whoever you are, in my life, and hope to gain new writer friends, and eventually readers as well, to join me.
I plan on continuing this WORDSMITHING 101, on a weekly basis, give tips, ideas—many of them basics for beginning writers, and maybe a few seasoned writers who tend to forget some of the basics, or for those of you who need a little boost in moral. We're all made of the same stuff. We are creative people, nourished by the smallest things, like a song, something we see, or experience. We need to connect with one another, to know that we are not alone!
So, if you read this today, and have a like-spirit, and enjoyed this entry, return here next Monday. I plan on doing a piece on words, and helping you create your own collection of words, so that you will become a better wordsmith. Future Wordsmithing issues will cover "creating suspense", dialogue basics, and more when I come up with them.