Note: I wrote this AGES ago and it was going to be a guest post. Since that still hasn’t happened, I’m posting it here. Enjoy.
Writing novels: more than just “a hobby”
On Wednesday the 2nd of June 2010, I had to write a 10-line speech about anything I wanted in my French class. Racism, inequality, war: anything that I could defend or argue against. I chose to defend writers. Being one, I knew it’d be easy to write about it, even if it did have to be in French. Here I am saying it in English and expanding what I wrote that day.
Now if you’re writer, then you already know that writers in general aren’t always taken seriously. Many writers probably hear “It’s so nice you have a hobby” when they tell someone they write novels. This is what Kiersten, a writer, heard when speaking to someone she vaguely knew. You can read her blog post about it here: http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com/2010/05/zombies-are-only-funny-until-you-become.html
Sure, not every person who writes dreams of being published, but most do, so being told that the months or even years they spent with a cast of characters, telling a story, being involved emotionally, falling in love with the story and the characters they worked hard to make realistic is just “a hobby” is a big insult. Only other writers can truly understand what it’s like to ignore things like social outings and homework and sleep and to instead choose to spend your free time writing. Alone. In a, most likely, small and messy room. (Like my room…)
When writing a novel, you sit in a chair for hours at a time with your door closed. You lose your mind, your fingers cramp up, you get frustrated when you’re stuck, you cry when you have to kill a character, you smile when the main love interest is shown as nice and caring and your main character is watching him, smiling as well. And you lose a lot of sleep.
So why do we write, people might ask? Surely that cannot be healthy, right? All that time alone and staying up all night worrying about our characters’ problems and isn’t that a bit crazy? What’s wrong with us?
Well it’s better than never telling all the stories you have in you and losing your mind in a completely different way. It’s better than being depressed because you’re not fulfilling your need to write. It’s better than not writing.
And if just one person can say they loved your novel, then it was all worth it. But that’s not the only great thing about writing.
Just think about it: writing is like being a god or goddess. You create a world, characters, a story. Those characters fall in love and they fight and cry and laugh. They become your children, they become real and they surprise you. You become attached and when you make something bad happen to your MC, you talk to them at night, apologizing. When they don’t want to reveal why they’re depressed, you talk to them, and they tell you. Or not.
Huh, I guess at first you’re the god/goddess, but pretty soon the characters take over.
Still don’t get why writers love to basically inflict torture on themselves? (If sore hands, bouts of depression and not getting enough sleep isn’t torture, what is?)
How about this: we don’t need drugs to feel high or therapy to deal with our issues.
Write 6000 words in 8 hours? You’re “high”, so to speak. You fall asleep with a smile on your lips. Who cares if no homework got done and you have a long day of school the next day and nothing else in your life is going right: all that matters is that you wrote 6000 words in 8 hours.
Got a problem in your life? Somebody you hate? Failing classes? Anything bad like that?
Write, torture your characters. Or talk to your characters about your problems. Being a writer means you never need therapy. Well, almost. It can’t cure everything.
And I honestly can’t think of anything else I’d want to do for the rest of my life.