And I wanted to make an inspirational list myself for all those writers out there who don’t realize their own uniqueness!
I asked my readers what they thought (since I know a lot of them write) and some chimed in with their specific talents as members of the writing breed. (Thanks to everyone who took the time to share!!)
1. Spend most of their life on something they hate, that drives them crazy, that keeps them up at night, that they can never master or perfect, that brings a lot of rejection…yet they keep coming back for more.
Thomas Mann described a writer as “someone to whom writing does not come easy” and Walker Percy explained it this way: “that writing is like suffering from a terrible disease for a certain period of time. Then when you finish you get well again.”
There is an old saying: Painters like painting. Writers like having written.
2. Prefer others’ writing to their own and yet insist on adding to the pile.
And so we all follow Austin Kleon’s advice to “steal like artists”.
3. Constantly analyze what happens to them in the real world in second and third person. And reconstruct the scene from other characters’ points of view.
“Some writers think in the third person…” –Hope Hanson, Journey’s End
4. Create alternative universes.
“We take our imagination and construct an alternative reality. That reality can be so extreme that it is called fantasy/SciFi or can be very real and call it historical fiction or even biography. Because even a biography is the writer’s interpretation of events as seen through their own lens of experience. Then we screw up our courage and invite strangers into our worlds! The joy is when they enter and are so enthralled that they reluctantly finish the book only to pick it up to start over again!!” —Murisopsis, A Different Perspective
5. Have ‘normal’ jobs to earn a living, still introduce themselves as a ‘writer’ — even if they never have time for it anymore — and take up blogging to keep from going crazy.
6. Spend way too much time trying to figure out which genre their writing should fit into: Is it thriller of mystery or crime or action? (What even is a Milesian adventure novel?!?!?!) And then, once they have altered some of their book to fit the genre, realize that there is actually a hybrid genre that fit their old idea perfectly.
7. Have this struggle: writing is hard work and exhausting. It’s an uphill battle most of the time and sometimes all they want is to never write another word, but if they admit that out loud to someone who is not a writer, the person just asks why the writer don’t quit because obviously you should enjoy what you love and then the writer doesn’t know what to say.
8. Try to find another passion/interest to pursue (anything at all!!) rather than writing because everyone says (and they are probably right) that “there are too many writers anyway and every last joe is a writer”… But they finally stick up for themselves and follow their dream — because at least there will be a lot of other writers around to explain how to do this thing…and then they realize that they don’t know anyone who is a writer and that they are alone on this planet full of writers that they can’t seem to find.
9. Know too much information. “They know tons of generally useless but really cool facts discovered while researching and probably know 50+ actions that describe what a character can do with his/her eyes…how to find the coolest instrumental music for inspiration…probably have the most Spotify playlists.” –-Maria Copeland, Maria T. Copeland
10. Spend their highschool years cramming grammar and classical literature into their brains in order to be ahead when they enter the real world of writing…but then getting out of school and realizing that no one really cares if you understand grammar and that there is a whole separate list of books and authors that they should have been reading because good literature in writing circles means something else entirely…
11. Hope they aren’t on the FBI watch-list for their google searches but also secretly hope they are because the publicity for their work would be amazing (and maybe they could also write a book about the whole experience). Because even psychopaths like to be recognized for their genius and dedication…or maybe they just need some mental help…
12. Love everything about the writing process except the writing. Because who actually wants to do that?
“World-building, drawing maps, outlining, putting together collages, creating playlists, surfing Pinterest… just not starting a new book.” —Maria Copeland, Maria T. Copeland
11. Love Amazon and used bookstores because they are broke and still want to get books, but then hate the evil establishments that allow people to get away without paying full price for their years of work.
12. Have an incredible amount of courage and imagination. They write about what no one will talk about and put their deepest struggles out where others can analyze and criticize.
“Writers…show their emotions through permanent words…turn a simple picture or image into a whole story…” –Hope Hanson, Journey’s End
Writing is a gift, a passion, and a burden. It isn’t easy. But for those of us who are called to it, there is nothing we would rather do.
What do you love or hate about it? What makes you, as a writer, unique?
© When Almonds Blossom, 2019