Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Book Within

What's the difference between a writer and a non-writer? The writer has that constant inner urge to write. It might be poetry. It might be a gossip column. Sometimes it's a book or a short story--or a blog. But deep inside a restlessness shifts until the writer sits down to write.

Back before I was a professional writer, I had a lot of misconceptions about the process. I thought all writers used outlines and plans. They wrote on a specific schedule. They led glamorous lives with TV appearances and interviews with the press. Hah. Boy, did I get it wrong.

Yeah, that's true for some writers. But for a LOT of writers, the struggle to find time to write, the fight for publicity and recognition, even the grappling with the unfamiliar tasks of synopsis and blurbs can be exhausting and discouraging. More--the solitary life can lead to depression and loneliness.

The single factor most readers don't understand is what hard work it is to write. I live with a complete non-writer. When we married, he read about second grade level and writing was...not pretty. So he had no concept of what it takes to write anything--even something as short as a blog post. When I'm in the midst of writing an actual book? Forget about it!

Once, I was so frustrated, I told him to stay away from me until he produced a one page document. "What am I supposed to write about?" he whined. I shrugged. After all, no one tell me what to write about. "I don't have time to mess with this," he grouched. Really? REALLY?

Well, he muttered and belly-ached and moaned and two weeks later he slapped one sheet of paper down on my desk. My friends, it was bad. But it was a full sheet.

I looked up at his mutinous expression and said, "Now do that a couple hundred more times."


"Then check the spelling. Fix the grammar. Make sure there are no run-on sentences..."

He stomped off back to his room. But he never asked me again why it was taking so long for me to finish my book. I wonder how the public perception of writers would change if every reader did the same exercise? Would they have more respect for their favorite writers? Or less? What do you think?


  1. ROFL! My spouse can hardly write an email, and I use the term 'write''s more hunt and peck, and constant 'how-do-you-spell-xyz?' He told me once he admires the way I can transform a blank document into several pages in just a few short hours:) I also have non-writer friends who simply blink and say 'WOW...' when I've come up with a short poem or story on the spot. Our 'writer minds' work differently than others, and sometimes they don't 'get' that, while others are simply amazed:)