What is a writer? In my imagination I see a guy hunkered over a typewriter, pounding away on the keys, eyes glazed with passion and fatigue, mouth set in a grim line due to a flair up of hemorrhoids.
Yes, writing is a sedentary vocation or past-time. According to my friend Bev, “I like writing because it is something you do sitting down.” I thought in a similar vein until NaNoWriMo 2005. I discovered sitting at a computer for 8 hours a day makes me antsy, jittery and eyeball achy. It also makes my brain feel like bees are in there dive bombing spiders. No wonder so many writers turn to drugs and alcohol.
On the plus side, there is nothing like the feeling of nailing a scene and learning a character, created in the imagination of a writer, has a mind of its own. I imagine it is similar to what God felt when he discovered Adam and Eve sporting fig leaf underwear.
Before taking on a job, I believe, a person should review the pros and cons. So, here it is. The Indy writer’s no surprise list…
1. Making stuff up and not getting in trouble for it.
2. Prestige, somehow people assume you are smart when you mention you are a writer.
3. You get to sit down.
4. You get to set your own schedule.
5. A great excuse to get a new computer.
6. Eating chocolate and drinking coffee are automatic perks of the job.
7. Seeing your name in print is a high that never dims.
8. Stealing things from real life are not only expected but encouraged.
9. Eavesdropping is totally excused.
10. Hanging out in libraries, book stores, coffee shops, restaurants and office supply stores are more perks of the job.
11. It is a way to be creative without messing up your clothes with paint, clay, sawdust or rock dust.
12. In rare circumstances you get paid, I haven’t found any of those rare circumstances but I’ll save that for the cons list.
1. It is all you. The writing, the editing, the marketing, the re-writing, the making stuff up and remembering all of it.
2. No plot? Big problem.
3. You will be judged from the moment your words go up in print or are sent into the digital world. Opinions are like rectums. Everyone has one. (I cleaned that up, my dad used the non-anatomical version of the word)
4. Those characters you created that surprisingly have a mind of their own? They keep running their mouths until the wee hours of the morning. I have this unreasonable fear one of them might decide I have to die in my sleep.
5. Prolonged writing sessions make you butt-sore, hand-cramped, stiff-legged, back-cricked and brain-fried.
6. All that sitting leads to flab and vitamin D deficiency. Just think of Morlocks with cellulite.
7. Warning: Prolonged exposure may cause headache, dizziness, dry eyes, caffeine, alcohol, drug and chocolate addictions, flatulence and leaky bowels. Just kidding with those last two. I was thinking of those crazy drug commercials that list the side-effects.
8. Self-scheduling is great when you have discipline, but a disaster when you are a procrastinator.
9. Interruptions are a given. Even when people are impressed you are a writer, they don’t actually think of it as a real job.
10. The pay is low or non-existent unless you draw the writer’s winning lottery ticket and become a sensation of written word.
That’s all for now. My brain is fried. Make your own list of pros and cons and let me know what I missed.