The Best (and Worst) Things About Being a Writer

I realized something this weekend. Being a writer (better yet, a published author) is kind of like being an alien in a room full of normal humans. You kind of want to be asked about life on your home planet, but then again, maybe it’ll just weird everyone out and the conversation will get super awkward and you’ll never want to open your mouth again. You want to be proud that you’re different (because hey, writing a book is hard work!) but some part of you longs to not have all the pressures that come with being in the limelight. If writing a book is hard, talking about said book is sometimes even harder. But at the same time, our books are our babies and we love them, so we deal with the hard, awkward moments in order to savor the best ones. Here’s my list of the best and worst things that are just part of being a writer.

BEST:  Being Hit With a New Story Idea and It’s Like, *HAPPY DANCE*

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You know the feeling. You’re in line at the grocery store or driving home from work, and it just HITS you. Maybe you saw something that did it (I was inspired by sitting at a stoplight behind a whiskey delivery truck one time!), or you heard lyrics to some song that just clicked in your head like magic, but either way it swarms over you like a mad rush of awesome and you can’t help but dance for joy. It rocks and is something that pretty much only other writers can understand. The characters just start flooding in and the setting and the conflict…there’s absolutely nothing like it 🙂

WORST:  The dreaded, “So, what’s your book about?”

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Um…a lot of really cool stuff? Think Hunger Games meets Men in Black crossed with Lost. I swear that makes more sense in my head. Please don’t make me explain all the details. It’ll only bore you. *nervous laugh*

I don’t know WHY it’s so difficult to talk about our books, but it is. Especially to those normal humans I mentioned at the beginning. They just don’t understand all the intricacies that come with writing a book. The interweaving character plots that match up perfectly by the end. The side story lines and characters that have crucial importance to the overall feel of the book. Try explaining it to a layman who just wants a basic synopsis and you’ll likely weird them out. I mean, who puts THAT much thought into something? Well, we do. Because we’re writers. And details matter. YOU’RE WELCOME.

BEST:  Becoming One of Your Characters To The Point Where You Start to Think, “What would (insert character name here) do?”

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Who doesn’t love a good character? One that just steals the show and has all the best lines and comebacks and really makes a book worth reading? They’re awesome, and writing them is even more awesome. As writers, we like to escape our boring lives to chart adventurous new territories as our characters. I’ve been anything from a fiery redhead killing demons with a .38 Special to the vindictive heiress of a notorious hotel to the guileless daughter of famous rockers, eager to make a name for herself. It’s THE best escape money doesn’t have to buy and for many of us, it’s why we write!

WORST:  “Why Should I Buy YOUR Book?”

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Why should you NOT buy my book and support my dreams?? *wink wink* — Wait, did that not work? Um. How about because my book is a lot of fun and you’ll really love it? But if you don’t, then I’m SO SORRY. In fact, unless you know for sure you’ll love it, maybe we should just go our separate ways and pretend this didn’t happen. Unless, maybe you still want to buy it? *bites nails*

Self-promoting sucks, whether it be online or in person. Most of us feel REALLY awkward about peddling our books to strangers (or friends and family members, for that matter). We want people to buy our books and read them, but we don’t want to be pests, either. Being a salesman is hard, especially when it’s your own brainchild of a book. So usually we just slip in and share a few posts on Facebook or our blogs and then let the universe handle the rest.

BEST:  Getting a Good Review!

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YAY! We feel so loved and appreciated! In fact, we’ll just go ahead and re-read this lovely review over and over again and bask in the glow of happiness we feel. Nothing beats a good review!

WORST:  Getting a BAD Review *insert sobs of misery here*

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For me, this goes in stages. First, I see there’s a new one or two star review. Panic hits. Oh God. Second, read said review. Die a little inside. Third, get frustrated and think, “This person just doesn’t know what they’re talking about!” Fourth, wonder if maybe said reviewer DOES know what they’re talking about and I really do suck. Fifth, decide it doesn’t matter because I give up writing for good. They win. I’M DONE. Sixth, okay, maybe not so done. I’ll just do better on the next book. I WILL TRIUMPH. *drops mic and walks offstage*

BEST:  Finishing a Book. BREAK OUT THE CHAMPAGNE, BABY!

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Ah, what an accomplishment! Bask in it. Enjoy it. LIVE it! Worry about edits and beta-readers and marketing in the morning. For now, just enjoy that fabulous feeling of a job well done. Writing is TOUGH and when you finally type “The End” the whole world just seems to make sense. You’re legit. You’re a writer. And you rock! Time to celebrate!

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22 thoughts on “The Best (and Worst) Things About Being a Writer

  1. Very well said! Despite knowing my books inside and out, I still wind up freezing up when someone asks me the dreaded ‘what’s your book about’ question.

  2. YES!! It’s so wonderful knowing I’m not alone in these very feelings you describe here! Great post!

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