Those who’ve tried it will know from experience that the creative process of writing is not a walk in the park. It can be tough to invent serious dilemmas and then save characters from them, and that’s especially true when you don’t tell everyone what’s going on in your head. Being a fiction writer means the whole world could be on the brink of disaster, and you’re the only one who knows about it!
Okay, not usually.
That’s the way it feels sometimes.
While we have moments of disappearing in search of pen and paper, forgetting about the soup we’re busy stirring, and losing track of conversation in the desire to insert a comma onto a billboard (and these moments make perfect sense to us), this can’t always be easy to live with.
So, if you have family members that don’t write books regularly, this little list may help them understand you better.
- We love you. When our eyes glaze over, it might be because what you just said was so eloquent that we want to remember it forever. Or use it in the next chapter.
- Sometimes, food will get burned in the cause of a paragraph. We are very, very sorry, and hope it will be an amazing set of sentences—that is—er, we hope it will taste okay.
- *Please do not burst into the writing space unless there’s an emergency. It can take a few seconds to come back to reality, and if in the middle of a sequence that is flowing along, we really really want to be able to finish the paragraph before forgetting it.
- *Please do not sneak into the writing space and yell “Boo!” That kind of thing can induce fright, spilled coffee, and most definitely the interruption of a thought. Depending on the genre of the work-in-progress, it could also induce an operatic shriek, a self-defense move, or a faint.
- Knocking before entering is nice. Yes, please; knocking is awesome!
- Please do not disturb when the headphones are on.
- If we emerge from the creative realm with sadness, the reason might be that a character has died. It’s not that you smell of garlic, or anything personal.
- If we are sad and the weather is sunny, send us outside on a long walk.
*Generally addressed to younger siblings. Image credit: Vintage Telephones of the World
Now, I’m not a non-writer, but those that are would probably have a list for us too. I imagine it would go something like this:
Our Dear Writer,
- We love you. Please stay here ... with us ... why are you staring at the wall?
- Calling food “carbonized,” “well-coloured,” or “torrefied” instead of “burned” doesn’t change the taste.
- What exactly constitutes an emergency? ;)
- Please don’t wear headphones. You can’t hear when the laundry needs to come out the machine, or when we call for supper, or anything else.
- Please don’t make your characters die! Learn to play nicely.
- A walk sounds good. Can we talk about an upcoming deadline?
Here’s your chance! Whether you’re a writer or not, what points would you add to either list?
Caitlin R. Hedgcock is a Christian author who aspires to use storytelling for God’s glory. She lives with her family in England's picturesque county of Hertfordshire. Visit her blog or Facebook page to find out more.