Sunday, August 22, 2010

Writer, the Lone Wolf

Writing is very much a solitary sport. Its an exercise of the mind and a practice in endurance. The writer's world is a lonely one. It has to be. To quote Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, writers live in a "world of pure imagination". The countless hours we spend playing with imaginary friends in imaginary worlds make us awkward in reality (there are exceptions, of course).

So when people ask us to describe our process or how we come up with ideas, it's very hard to explain. Sometimes the answers we give sound cliche, but in reality, it's hard to describe what goes on in our heads. A friend of mine once told me that if he didn't know me and what I do, he'd think I was bat-shit crazy.

Its hard sometimes to identify with people who aren't in the creative line of business. My brain never turns off and when I'm working on something, I spend 90% of my time thinking of plots, characters, scenes, etc. This makes regular conversation hard. It may seem like I'm not paying attention or I may come off as aloof.

Throw in the fact that I am rather shy, especially with new people, it makes it hard to socialize.

To some extent, the creative process is a harsh mistress. You give up a normal life, at the request of your muse, all in pursuit of your craft.

And the people in our lives, the people we ignore or have to remember to schedule in, are incredibly forgiving and understanding. New people may not be.

While we, as writer, try to forge some semblance of a social life, its difficult for us. So please, in dealing with your new writer acquaintance, be patient. And remember, we're not crazy (most of the time).

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