Tuesday, 14 August 2012

8 reasons why I love being a writer ...

Plenty of writers work all summer. I’m not one of them. 
Married to a teacher, with two teens and a young dog, my house is never quiet in the summer. 
See #5
We are riotous, busy, loud, which is great, but it's no place for lengthy, distraction-free writing time. Oh, I do write, but output is nothing like during the winter months.
So every year at about this time, I start to miss all the projects I've put aside for a few weeks. I start itching to roll up my sleeves and get at it. Perhaps this hiatus is just what refuels me, every fall.
I’ve also had enough time away to stand back and really look at what it is I do.  I’ve had a great career as a copywriter, a poet, and now a children’s author.
So here, in no particular order, are 8 reasons why I love being a writer:
1. Words are clean and tidy. Until they get messy, but it’s never a mess that requires a garbage bag and a pair of work boots to fix. Unless something has gone terribly wrong, of course!
2.  The story is always waiting. No matter how you leave it, your story is always waiting for you, patiently, to get back to it. You're rewarded in a way that you aren't by say, doing the laundry or feeding the dog.
3. People value books.  Years ago on the way to work one morning, I saw a guy reading Macleans magazine on the subway. A piece of paper fluttered out of the magazine: a subscription flyer I’d worked on for weeks! I was a little chuffed … until the guy got up and stepped on it (tough lesson, best learned early if you’re a copywriter). Copy is valuable and has a job to do, sure, but a book? I’ve never seen anyone step on a book.
4. Getting lost. Writers will get this: you really can lose yourself in the story. I’ve looked up from my screen to find that it’s 4:00 in the afternoon, and I’ve been writing for 6 hours straight. Perhaps everyone can be so engrossed when they like their job, but I’ve never found anything that takes me so far from my couch without having to move anything but my fingers, with the possible exception of reading a great book.
5. A book, what a marvel. Lots of people toil at things they love, of course. People are no doubt proud of a wonderful spreadsheet or a well-painted house, but for me, seeing all my work finally compose itself into a printed, bound book is something that still delights me. It always will.
6. Acclaim? For me? I have to admit, being nominated for awards is a rush. Let me state that there are lots of great books out there by very talented writers who have never been nominated for anything, and it doesn’t stop them from continuing to write great books which people enjoy. And really, if I’m never nominated for anything ever again, that’s fine. But getting nominated, receiving just a tiny bit of acclaim … always a lovely surprise.
7. The people are interesting, too. Editors, promotion people, sales people, booksellers, librarians, other writers, everyone stays in this industry because they love books and storytelling. Is there another industry in which so many smart people do so much, for let's face it, so little?
8. Nothing like pyjamas. Oh, if you’re a writer you know. If you’re not a writer or someone who works from home, you’ve likely heard this and winced. But it’s true: there’s nothing like working in your pyjamas. And going to mid-day yoga class. And walking the dog whenever you feel like it. Or making tea when you need it. Yes, writing is risky, so that’s the price we pay. Not knowing if the work will be good, enjoyed, published or read by anyone at all. Not knowing if we’ll make money at something we’ve worked at, hard, for months, years. But, putting all that aside, I’ll say it again: working in your pyjamas rocks.

Those are 8 top reasons. What are yours??



Ted said...

must say these are reasons to make anyone interested....my problem with photography is light,the best is very early or late...so we get up early then sleep to stay up late...its a passion, just without PJ's
must say on occasion it was early enough that no one cared what I was wearing!!

Philippa Dowding said...

your talented eye is wonderful with, or without, pjs Ted!