Most 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?