Friday, August 30, 2019

Writing: It's A Lonely Business

Anyone who's been in an allergy course I've directed may find it difficult to believe, but I'm an introvert. When it came time to face 250 or so attendees, I often said, "Time to put on my game face." At that point, I was an extrovert. But at other times, not so much.

Writing is like that. We sit down in front of a computer and imagine words that we might not say out loud in real life. We imagine people in situations that are made up of whole cloth, saying words that we pluck out of the air, and keep on doing that until we've filled our allotment of pages for the day. And when it comes time to send our manuscript forth into the world, we "put on our game face." However, instead of facing people for a limited amount of time, we're going to  put our words out there for thousands (we hope) to read and comment on for as long as the book is in print. 

Some people like to use a critique group for the exchange of ideas. Others prefer to do it solo. As one author of my acquaintance says, "No one reads a single word I've written until the manuscript is sent to my editor." Whichever way a writer prefers to do it--whether with others contributing ideas and reacting to what's written or by never sharing the manuscript until it's completed--ultimately the responsibility for what's going down on that paper is the sole responsibility of the author. And that's a scary thought.

I love the quotation that I sometimes use as a signature line. "Some people hear voices when no one's around.  They are called mad, and sit in a room all day and stare at the walls. Others are called writers, and they do pretty much the same thing."  I may not have the words exactly the way writer Meg Chittenden said them, but writers will know what I mean--and nod. How about you?


Patricia Bradley said...

Absolutely, Richard! While I'm an extrovert, when it comes to writing I have to be alone, almost to the point of no one even being in the house. I'm too ADHD for anyone to be around when I'm working. And my tag line for years was, I asked God to explain patience for me and He gave me a book to write. :-)

Richard Mabry said...

Even the extroverts among us are introverted when faced with a blank computer screen, especially when a deadline's looming. Like that tag line.

Diane B said...

love this post about writing and being an extrovert or an introvert or Both! :) thanks for sharing this side of writing.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Diane. Yes, it can be both at times.