Friday, 17 April 2009

Ten things only writers understand




We like to pretend we’re just like anyone else. Nothing strange about us.
Oh no. Trouble is, there are all those odd little foibles and habits…

1. When you hear about terrible tragedies on the news, there’s a tiny and very shameful part of you that’s thinking it would make a great story.
2. You long to have proper time to write, free from the distractions of work and life and family, but when you do finally grab some, you fritter half of it away by looking at websites and chat rooms and, um, blogs like this.
3. Your characters may be strolling around inside your own head, but that doesn’t mean they’re not living, breathing people. And when you have to finish a project, you feel a sense of real loss that you won’t be hanging out with them anymore.
4. The entire world can shrink to the size of your email inbox or your letterbox when you’re waiting for news on a writing project. Even though you’re driving yourself mad with the constant checking, you can’t seem to stop doing it. This has an added layer for the published, who have a condition known as OARCD. This stands for Obsessive Amazon Ranking Checking Disorder. There is currently no cure.
5. There is nothing quite as desirable as a lovely new notebook. Apart from perhaps a really good pen. And there’s the feeling of opening the cellophane on a new pack of index cards. Even if you’ve never quite been able to find a use for them, you will some day.
6. Sometimes a plot issue can tie your brain in knots for ages, causing much wailing, weeping and gnashing of teeth. Just as you become utterly convinced that you will NEVER EVER make it work (WAH!) you realise you’ve had a perfectly good solution all along. It has been sitting patiently in one of the waiting rooms of your brain hoping you’d notice it.
7. Your fingers ache and you can hardly turn your head because your neck's so stiff. But you're still smiling - you've just had an especially good sesh at the keyboard and it's all worth it.
8. Just as you’re dropping off to sleep you think of a brilliant line or plot twist but can’t face turning on the light to write it down. So you convince yourself you’ll remember it in the morning, only to find it has gone the moment you open your eyes.
9. Sometimes when you read certain other authors you admire, you feel so envious of their brilliance that your teeth actually hurt.
10. There's a particular bittersweetness in those words, ‘The End’. On the one hand it’s the culmination of months or years of hard work, but on the other, you’re aware that the really hard work has only just begun.

Any of these sound familiar?

45 comments:

TOM J VOWLER said...

Ha - brilliant piece.

Rosy T said...

Oh, so true, so true - especially 2,3,4,8 and 9.

Jenzarina said...

Yes yes yes!!!

Rebecca Nazar said...

Spot on. :-)

Helen said...

Very funny! I'm so glad to know I'm not alone. I was worried there might be something unhealthy about my love of notebooks...

CarolineG said...

Thank you all for your comments! I did have a scary moment, right after pressing 'send' when I thought, 'Hang on, what if all of this is only me?'

Caroline R said...

LOL! Great post - so true. Number 8 happens to me nearly every night.

Olivia Ryan said...

All SO true!! We may all be different, but it's reassuring to know we have so much in common! Sorry, got to go - it's been at least an hour since I checked my Amazon ranking ...

Emily Gale said...

Acute case of nodding at all of this!

Samantha Tonge said...

And there was me thinking i was unique!

Tania Hershman said...

Oh yeah. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes, shamefully, to OARCD. Support group??

Luisa said...

Oh, brilliant! Truly brilliant.

Though I would never read a blog like this during valuable writing time. Or comment on it. *whistles*

Deb said...

No it's not only you, Caroline. In fact I think it's part of the writer's job description, isn't it?

cmshevlin said...

Terribly familiar :-( especially Number 2

Niki M said...

I also need the OARCD support group. We should definitely start one. And talk to my husband about what happens when I walk into a stationary shop. lmao. Brilliant post.

CarolineG said...

Wow, thank you all SO much for your comments. Seems there are quite a few of us out there!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Fabulous, Caroline - and so, so true! Especially the bit about longing to have the space to write and then frittering it...
Susiex

Horror Girl said...

I was surfing the web putting off work (as ur rule number 2) and came across this. it is spot on!

Adrian Reynolds said...

Ha. I resemble those remarks.

Anonymous said...

Yes!!!

poppy (dammit - can't make my google ident work)

sarah fox said...

All so true!

CarolineG said...

Thank you all! Am so glad some opf this resonated with others..

♥ bfs~"Mimi" ♥ said...

Excellent!!! And I love the characters marching around in your head - still living - breathing - even though you're not 'writing' them at the moment. :-)

KAREN said...

I can relate to all of those! Someone was telling me an eye-popping true tale of family feuding recently and all I could think was, there's definitely a short story in there somewhere :o)

Sally Zigmond said...

Thank you. Now I can tell my husband it isn't just me.

Nicola Morgan said...

Oh yes, I go all strangely subdued during shocking news, and people think I'm being so sympathetic. But trouble is then I catch them looking at me, in a kind of "OMG you're not thinking of that as a STORY..."

Gonna be a writer said...

Completely true except for the Amazon rating thing. But that's only because I haven't got one.

Jane Smith said...

You wrote this piece about ME, didn't you?

And I'm spooked to discover how much like Nicola Morgan I am when the news is on. Lord. There is no hope for me, I MUST be a writer!

CarolineG said...

Thanks all.
Gonnabe, I too would definitely suffer from the Amazon disease, if on;y given the chance...

Geraldine Ryan said...

Great piece, Caroline and can identify with all of them!

Emma Newman said...

Any of them sound familiar?

All of them. Every. Single. One. I need help...

So reassuring to find that I am not alone in my madness though, thank goodness for the internet.

Lindsey said...

I dream of having OARCD and therein lies the problem

Mary A. Shafer said...

#1 - Absolutely. But I don't feel one bit guilty about it! And #5 - LOL! Yep, yep...I know this person. :)

Jason Flom said...

roger that. the new journal and a beloved pen -- my dual muses.

rjkeller said...

Number 8...SO stinking true.

Great post!!!

Zoe/Tsukushi said...

5 is so true for me. I must have 30 notebooks and I love to get new ones, despite the fact that I don't use them too much because every time an idea comes to my mind I don't have them at hand, so I end up writing in pieces of paper my friends give me.

Andy Shackcloth said...

No 9, No 9, No 9,

Funny my teeth are aching right now. ;)

Has anyone else developed a taste for cold coffee? (or tea)

Tina Chaulk said...

Oh yes, they all sound very familiar.

Rev. CMOT TMPV said...

I feel the same way..

Genesis said...

LOL! What a great list! My husband is constantly annoyed with the fact that my notebooks are strewn throughout the house . . . he just can`t understand why I would need more than one before the first is full. :P

Tisha Tolar said...

This list is incredible - hilarious - and so damn true it hurts! Thanks for giving some normality to my life!

Anne Rooney said...

All so true - and yes, I found this post while indulging in a little number 2 :-) I don't do the Amazon checking, though - it's too depressing usuallY!

CarolineG said...

Wow, thank you all SO MUCH for these comments. I hadn't realised people had posted after a new post went up! Thank you so much!

Larry and Jennifer Akers said...

After reading numbers 1 and 3, I felt like home. ;-) All of them are true, but I fight with those all the time - even wondered if it was just me. lol Great post.

Anonymous said...

Number 5 definitely hits home. I have, at least, 7 empty notebooks and 300+ index cards in front of me at this moment. I have no idea what to do with them, but boy, do I love getting new ones.