While talking with someone earlier it became clear that its hard for others to envision what life is like as a career writer. My world is almost entirely cerebral. I am a sponge and a translator of emotional stimuli.
Writers rarely, if ever, leave their job. Often their best work goes unnoticed, while some of their worst receives attention. Where others receive a paycheck for services rendered, a writer lives on the roller coaster of never knowing if and when they’ll see another deposit into their bank account.
Many is the day when frustration reigns supreme. Its easy then to wonder why a writer chooses such a path. All I can say is, when one is a writer, it’s like being born a horse that knows it’s meant to run. When standing still it looks into the distance and dreams of running. When running it dreams of running. Everything about its existence is about running.
When a writer is hired out to write for another its one of the hardest jobs imaginable. To write without using one’s writing voice is like Ella Fitzgerald trying to mask her timbre while singing. It has the potential to be absolutely excruciating. And yet this is how many ensure the in-flow of money.
I too had the romantic notion that a writer spends their days sitting in peaceful contemplation. But the reality is that once one is a career writer, their every thought carries a price tag. The rule in the business is that the first line sells the book. In many ways, this is true. So then please know that the first line has the potential to be worth a year’s salary. But thoughts such as that snuff the voice of the muse. It’s a constant reality we must ignore. When we acknowledge that our livelihood rests upon our words, the words fail to dust across our mind. In many ways its like living in constant torment. But the horse was meant to run, and so it runs even when the whip hits hard.
It’s a blissful thought, setting out to do a task, one completed based only with action and skill. But when creativity is the force that completes the task, the mind must be open. Due to such many writers hide away from the weight of the world. If I knew then what I know now about life as a career writer, I would’ve bought stock in a few wineries. Because even when I’m not imbibing to clear my mind, I know there are plenty of writers who are. It’s the nature of the beast. It’s what life is like when one is perched dead center between yin and yang; the hand of the writer needs to touch both. Because when writing an adult novel, the full spectrum of human emotion must be instantly within reach.
Rarely in today’s world though, is anyone allowed to simply shut off their working mind. So we all have this in common now. But even with shoulders that often scream with tightness and the deathly suffocation felt when watching one’s muse vanish in the distance, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Within me is the portal to all things. More than that, within me is the portal into all the people I could hope to be, meet and know. Any life I want to live can be played out upon my keyboard. And when I do it just right, I touch the lives of my readers. My words, softly float into the minds of strangers as they lie in bed at night. And some of those thousand dollar sentences make them look at life and love in a whole new way. The day I no longer write is the day I stop running. It’s an overpowering cerebral world that of a career writer, but the horse was meant to run. So it runs. And the writer was meant to write. So she writes.
PS ~ There will be times when I mention my BlogTalkTadio show, such as today. As last night’s episode may be useful for to some of my readers. Although all questions within the publishing field were not addressed, Nicholas Ellison answered all that he could. If you are a writer, I encourage you to listen. It’s not an easy path we’ve chosen. But, in my opinion, its one that allows us life’s best view. Enjoy and much love ~ S. Nicholas Ellison on The Rich Life