So you want to be a writer? Most people think that writers sit down at their mahogany desks, summon the muse, and start writing only stopping every now and then to gaze wistfully out the picture window overlooking a serene Koi pond or a view of the ocean. Yeah, that happens…in the movies. The reality is much more gritty, aggrivating, and soul draining.
The writing life is not for everyone. That is why I’ve composed a list of reasons why it drives most of us to drink. My hope is that you will see the writer’s life a little more clearly but I also hope to make you laugh. If you don’t learn how to laugh about it, you will not ony drink heavily but you will also pull all of your hair out. You’ll be a bald drunk. And we don’t want that, do we?
1. You haven’t taken a shower or slept more than four hours a night in a week. When you get into the zone, the zombie apocolypse could come and you wouldn’t have a clue. It’s like nothing else exists when you hit that writer’s high. Shower? Forget it. Sleep? Who needs it? It’s only a problem when your partner or spouse visits you wearing a gas mask and tells you that you look like an actual zombie.
2. You worry that the people you love feel neglected when you are writing. You know you’ve got to write to practice and get your 500 WIPs (work in progress) done but you worry that those who love you will think that you care more about writing than you care about them. In some ways, you do care more about writing because it’s this urge, mission, or calling and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it but write.
3. You worry that your WIP will get neglected when you are with the people you love. Your WIP is like your child, or beloved pet, and you must nurture it or it will not thrive. The people you love also need your attention, and you need theirs. The whole thing is an awful Catch-22. So what do you do? You go write about it.
4. You sit down to write, and you got nothing…for hours.Why is it that when you make time to write, your brain freezes? This time is supposed to be used for pouring out your soul and getting some serious writing done but all you can do is stare at the wall or watch funny cat videos on YouTube.
5. You lay down to sleep, and you get an idea and you write…for hours. You lay your head on the pillow. You breathe in deep and close your eyes, ready to drift off to slumberland. Then it happens. You get the most awesome idea ever for a book. Or your idea could be something related to your WIP. Whatever it is, you’ve got to get up and write it down or you’ll lose it forever. Why? Why?! Why does this happen all the time?!
6. Your book doesn’t get published. All of your soul went into your book. You may have an agent, or even a publisher who is seriously considering your book. For days, weeks, or months you’re elated daydreaming about book signings, interviews, or movie offers. Then you get “the email” or “the call.” We are unable to move forward with your book at this time due to unforseen issues. Maybe you didn’t even get this far. You may have 23,471 rejections emails and letters in storage that you know someday you’ll laugh at when you’re published. Right? Yeah, right.
7. Your book gets published. It happened. Your book is published and out in the world for all to see. What? For all to see?! OMG! Your mother might read it. Why didn’t you think about this before? Fast forward three months and you still don’t take showers, you don’t have any appearances on the Oprah Channel scheduled, you made exactly $1,000 on book sales, and you wonder WTF just happened, if anything.
8. People tend to think you are always sick because your skin is ghost white since you rarely go outside. You are tired of people asking you, “Are you okay?” So you wear a t-shirt that says, I’m okay. I’m a writer and I never go outside. This helps a little bit except when teenagers think you were in the Twilight movies.
9. You are out of coffee and chocolate. Enough said.
10. Facebook. This time suck is both your sanity-savior and your nemisis. You can’t live without it yet you curse Mark Zuckerberg for ever having created it. You know you’d get tons more writing done but then you’d probably be playing solitaire on your computer if it weren’t for Facebook.
What about you? Do you have one of your own reasons why the writer’s life drives you to drink? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.