A lonely life…

 

lonely-writer-2Most times when people say “tortured artist” you think about visual artists, people like Vincent van Gogh, chopping ears off! But I think some people don’t realize that being a writer is just as torturous. You spend long hours by yourself, in front of a computer or paper, sometimes in total silence and without seeing or talking to anyone for ages. If you don’t have family around, sometimes you go for days without having a real conversation (talking to your plants doesn’t count!). It’s no wonder so many writers become famous for their drinking habits!

And that’s just the writing part – then there’s all the turmoil around publishing the book, getting it reviewed, and getting into the hands of readers. It can take a toll on you, that’s for sure. Now I’m lucky that I don’t ‘write for a living’, exactly. While it takes up a lot of my time, I don’t depend on it to pay my mortgage or feed my family. But I still feel a lot of the same pressures.

That’s why it’s nice to hear about gatherings like the one they’ve written about in Atlantic Monthly. Over 10,000 people in Washington got together to share their experiences living the writers life – the joys and the sorrows! Because sometimes on that very lonely journey you need a reminder that there are other people out there who know what it feels like.

A trip to Washington isn’t in the works for me, but that’s one of the great things about the internet nowadays. Living in a rural area like I do, it’s really hard for me to connect with other creative people, so I’m grateful for the virtual networks of writers and readers out there.

So if it’s such a difficult path, why do we do it? I guess it’s because at the end of the day, there’s nothing else we’d rather be doing! We live and breathe books, what could be better?

 

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“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

1010101010That’s a quote from Pablo Picasso, but I read a great quote on twitter the other day (I visit it sometimes, but I’m not on there, yet!) that I wanted to share with you all.

” Writers get paid for what other people get scolded for: daydreaming. We’re supposed to wander.” –Richard Walter. I can’t find the original source for this, but it was too good to share, regardless of whether he said it!

It reminds me of what a privilege it is to be a writer. It’s true, really. We often hear a lot of talk these days about ‘gratitude’ and I’ve realized how very grateful I am to be able to share my thoughts and ideas with you all through the written word. But it also occurred to me that the opportunity for expression shouldn’t be considered a privilege, but a right.

I think we forget about how much the expression of all types of artists contributes to our every day life—it’s easy to take it for granted. People talk about cutting funding the arts when they forget how much of a role it plays in our lives every day. Look around your house, odds are you’ve put out some paintings, prints, or objects to decorate your home. Now why did you do that? Well, obviously because they’re pleasing to you and it makes you feel good to see them? Behind each of those objects is an artist.

Think about the music you tune into on the radio or on your ipod—tons of artists there!

And think about each and every name that goes on the credits of your favourite movie or television show. Yep, they’re all part of the arts industry!

And of course, think about that book you’re reading right now that gives you so much pleasure (hopefully!). Writers (even non-fiction writer) are all artists too!

So next time you hear somebody talk about how we need to cut funding for the arts, just remember how much artists do for you every day to make your world a more beautiful and wondrous place.

So many stories to tell, so little time…

I’ve said before, I have a pretty amazing location in which to pursue my craft. I feel like I’ve got the ultimate ‘room of one’s own‘ for writing. But of course, that’s only one piece of the puzzle. For writers, probably the most important part is finding the time to actually write.

As I mentioned, I tend to write very late at night into the wee hours of the morning—not out of choice, but out of necessity. Just like everyone out there, everyday life just seems to get in the way. I’m a mom, a grandmother, and up until a short time ago, I was also taking care of my ailing mother. Not to mention the fact that I work full-time on our farm, which involves tending to seven acres. I have a garden to look after, and a couple of houses to clean and run. And then of course are those annoying tasks like laundry and cleaning that, much as we’d like to skip, have to be done.

Oh yes, and then there’s that whole ‘sleep’ thing that apparently we humans have to do.

So at the end of the day, it really doesn’t leave a tremendous amount of time to write. And sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel like there’s no way forward. But at the end of the day, writers write. So if you’re truly driven to be a story-teller, then you’re going to have to make it work. Have a read of this blog entry by another female author with some really helpful tips on how to make that happen.

Instead of getting frustrated about not being able to find time to write, remember that you might have to make the time to write.