Late night is a quiet time, a respite from your chaotic day. Work doesn’t start for a few more hours, supper is digesting with leftovers in the fridge and dishes in the dishwasher, the kids are in bed, your spouse is dozing off while playing solitaire. So how do you wind down the day?
You could veg out in front of the TV. You could fire up a video game. You could flop into an easy chair and enjoy a few more pages of that novel.
What do I do? All of those things, but I also like to write. I feel most creative at night and writing relaxes me. There are a few of us out there, we midnight writers.
Why do we do it? For the money of course.
Hahahah, sorry, that was a little writer’s joke. Writing is a lonely pastime that fills endless hours with no promises of remuneration and the only realistic expectations are rejection and disappointment. If you do get paid, and divide it by the hours it took to get it, you quickly realize you are better off stamping out shoe soles in a third world sweatshop.
So really, why do we do it? Insanity, or an explanation just as simple: we enjoy it. We hide in the refuge of our imagination and tell ourselves a story. Do all amateur pianists expect to turn pro? Does everyone who goes out for a morning jog aspire to run a marathon? Does everyone who takes an introductory Spanish course expect to become fluent?
Of course not. And if the pianist doesn’t fill Carnegie hall, does she decide all that time playing piano was wasted? Does the weekend painter throw down his brush in disgust if he doesn’t get his own show? Probably not. People do most things because they enjoy doing them, and that’s all there is to it.
So why do writers always get asked, “Oh, are you published?” And why do writers feel they have to make excuses if the answer is no?
Stephen King said “Writing is a creative pursuit that is only fulfilled if someone reads it.” Well, to a certain extent, yeah. However there are no writing recitals where friends and family will come armed with camcorders. Anyone who reads poetry on Youtube will be called a fruitcake (but really, is that any nuttier than posting videos of your drum solo?). The only people who come to writers groups are other writers — it’s not exactly a spectator sport.
What is different about writing? What makes writing different from other pastimes and creative pursuits?
Sorry, I don’t have an answer, just this website. Besides, that was a rhetorical question. You can find herein some musings and links to some of my stories.
FYI all content was created by me, unless otherwise noted. Therefore I hold all rights to it and it is illegal to reproduce or distribute anything here without my permission.
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I am in the fortunate position to have ‘turned pro’ last year, giving up my real job and earning a living from writing/selling books. It is, without question, for me the best job in the world. Having made a good living from my first ever published book (Book 2 was released two weeks ago) I believe I know the secret to living my dream!
Thank you for the enjoyable prose above.
You are welcome. Fiction or non-fiction? Do you do any freelancing on the side?
My dream job is to ghost write for an actor or politician so I can pocket my $10k in obscurity while they pocket their $20 million for having their name on the cover…
It’s not the same as a FB friend, or maybe it is. Whatever keeps you sane.
I would love to work full time as writer like most of us would. Keep working for the dream!
I write to stay relatively sane, therefore I feel fortunate I have a career doing something that keeps me sane — even though the general lack of pay drives me crazy sometimes… 🙂 Cheers to you for following your muse. However, given that you like to write at night, be careful she doesn’t let you walk into something.
A full time writer? Very cool. My work drives me sane, it’s the world outside that drives me crazy.
That’s affliction is becoming more and more common.
Yes definitely! We should get together to clear the air.
No need to clear the air. We are not in dispute!
I believe this is called a mind fart. You are rambling as you are
Digesting. I use my piano for the same effect. Still hope to see you in Edmonton so we can fart together!