It’s almost enough to make me wonder…but then I get caught up in the sheer joy of writing once again and all the doubts disappear. I’ll leave the angst to those who’ve earned it. Here are a few ways I don’t fit the typical writer mold:
I don’t suffer to write. I suffer when I don’t write. If I can’t put something down on paper or enter it with a keyboard I get a bit weird. Okay, stranger than usual. Let’s call it that. I’ll write things down on my hand if I have to. There’s something about getting the thoughts in my head out there for others that’s absolutely necessary for me.
I don’t get writer’s block. At least, not for any length of time. All writer’s block does is tell me my story needs to go in a different direction. The characters don’t want to go where I’d planned. It’s out of character for them. Which means we need to do something else. And like magic, no more writer’s block.
I don’t like writers’ groups. Mostly because we are nowhere near being on the same page. I will help writers who come to me for advice, which is rarer than you might expect–and something I may have to stop doing if my life gets more complicated. But groups tend to cover (what is for me) old ground or become too introspective.
I never worry about finding ‘my voice.’ I’m far more concerned with the voices of my characters. It helps when I’m editing to be able to recognize words and expressions they would or wouldn’t use.
Writing often feels like I’m following the characters around and recording their action and dialogue. There are times when they surprise and shock me. One character evoked empathy in readers even after all the horrid things he’d done.
So far I’m never at a loss for inspiration. (One writing ‘instructor’ I disliked intensely all but insisted inspiration didn’t exist. We couldn’t work together.) Without inspiration I’d have nothing to write. My problem is not a shortage of ideas but an inability to write at warp speed.
I recognize that there’s always more to learn. When my film class instructor mentioned that authors don’t tend to make good screenwriters I accepted the challenge. I spent two years reading everything credible I could get my hands on. And I think the reason most authors will never be good screenwriters is because they refuse to do that. They think they know how to write.
They do, of course. They know how to write books. Learning to write screenplays was like rewiring my brain. There were times it was physically painful. But I kept studying until the material started to recycle itself, with the same concepts holding solid in different ways as stated by diverse experts.
I’ll never stop learning. Language changes over time. The comma, for example, used to be everywhere. Now it’s deleted more often than not. Technology alone has created a wealth of words and added new meanings to several. (I’m looking at you, icon.) A writer has to keep up.