Thursday, July 24, 2014


    My friends don't understand how I can write so much. For that matter, my family doesn't get me, either. Only other writers, with the same devotion, the same passion, the same drive as I have, get me. Which is why attending critique groups and writers conferences can be such an important part of being a writer - just a couple of hours' exposure to other writer can energize the creative batteries more than almost any other writing-related activity.

    So what is it that others don't get about writers?

    Well, for one thing, they think it is a lonely, solitary profession. What they don't understand that when I'm sitting alone at my computer writing, I'm not as alone as it may seem. That room is crowded elbow-to-elbow with characters, all clamoring to be heard. Granted, not all of them are very likeable people, and some are down-right despicable human beings. But it's anything but lonely, and the furthest thing from boring that I can imagine.

    Another thing they don't understand is how I can have so much to say. "How do you come up with all those stories?" they ask. As fellow writers, you know that our minds are never idle. Any snippet of conversation, song lyric, grocery store mishap, traffic altercation, overheard argument, etc. can spark the flame of inspiration in us. We are constantly thinking in terms of storyline and plot, meaning and subtext. I once drove by a restaurant with a fountain out front. There was a single young girl sitting alone on the low retaining wall of the reflecting pool, dressed impeccably and even a little provocatively, in a tasteful way, looking into the water, lost in thought. I began to spin a yarn centered around that single image out loud to my companion in the car and by the time we got to our destination I'd woven a complex plot involving inchoate love, loss, epic war and a solitary gold Roman coin that had inspired men for centuries, both to the good and the evil. My passenger was gob smacked at what I'd done. But to me in was all in a day's occupation.

    Something I hear often from my non-writer friends is that they often thought about writing a book or short story, but hadn't, yet. What they don't get about writers is that when the urge to write hits us it isn't a vague impulse, but an obsessive drive that gnaws at the base of our skull, much like a migraine, until we finally feed the beast and sit down to write. If you're like me, and you haven't written anything in a few days, you start to get irritable, snippy with other, and sometimes downright cranky. A writer needs the outlet of writing like a full bladder needs pissing. And you can quote me on that!

    Others don't get us, but our fellow writers do. That's why every o9nce in a while we need to be around other writers. To be reminded that there are others out there just as haunted by phantom characters, inspired by seemingly mundane events around them, and just generally grumpy little crazy us!

    For just such a fix, look into attending this year's Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Writers Conference this year.

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Blogger Janet Lane said...

Spot-on blog, Kevin! A writer friend (who shall remain anonymous)ran into the car in front of her while lost in thought with her current WIP. And years ago I forgot to pick up my daughter at theater rehearsal because I was lost in the 15th century! Have a great day! --Janet Lane

7:41 AM  

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