At my last class for my certificate in editing and publishing, my lecturer said this: "When someone asks you at a party what you do, say you're a writer."
The thinking was that if you claim it, own it, then you can become it. Say it with enough confidence and no one will contradict you. I am writer. It's what I am. It's what I do. But in my experience, the judgement is always there. People have this image in their minds of me slumped on a couch, buried beneath open packets of chips and marathoning TV shows.
If I have a "bad" writing day, I feel guilty. Like a failure. How can I defend this day to someone who thinks I sit around doing nothing? Is my pitiful word count proving them right? Was sitting at my desk, clutching a cup of tea and glaring at my computer not good enough? Should I not have read that book because I had Writer's Block?
They say you need to read to be able to write...but is it acceptable as work?
And then there are months (for example, May just gone) when I pound out 50 000 words in 13 days. Nothing can touch me then. "I am invincible!" My name isn't Boris and I'm still not published but I can throw out this trump card when someone gives me that stern disapproving look.
Work for me consists of :
1.) Sitting at my laptop, be it in my study, in bed, on the couch or in a cafe sipping at a green tea latte. I will write. I will edit. I will plan. It depends what mood I'm in. But something will get done. Failing that, there's always my blog!
2.) Going for a walk or beating up my Wii balance board. Exercise gets my brain going. My mind sorts through ideas and characters and dialogue. Blocks get shifted. Showers are also helpful for this.
3.) Reading books, especially ones in the genre that I am writing in. This helps put me into the "zone". It's good to check out the competition.
4.) Not always sticking to a specific time. 8:30am-4:30pm is my usual aim. Sometimes I get overzealous and get back into it later at night. Sometimes I just can't go any longer than mid-afternoon. I can't force creativity. It feels hollow if I do.
Thing is, even though I do things with my day, I still have to prove it.
Friends think I have more time and more energy to hang out - I don't.
My family thinks I have all the time in the world to cook and clean and be a doting little wifey - I don't.
Sure, I'll put the washing on and write over it (sometimes leaving sheets in the washing machine for a wee bit long) but writing comes first. I am a writer first. A wife second. My husband-to-be is happy to support me because it makes me happy. I feel like I actually achieve things now that I set my own goals. And sometimes I wonder if the judgement from others has its basis in jealousy. It does not matter because this I know -
I am a writer. And I actually do shit during the day.
Alyce Caswell is an aspiring writer who apparently lost her mind, threw away a steady job as an office junior and entered the realm of imagination.
She has blamed her accomplice and husband for giving her this most excellent opportunity.
Alyce has written articles, poems, short stories, books
and several embarrassing blogs. She hopes this venture will avoid the usage of cat gifs.
Links of Interest
A Rambling Rover
Alyce's travel blog which features various castles, stone circles and bemused musings about the Northern Hemisphere.