Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Are ALL Writers Crazy--or Is It Just Me?

For a long time, I held the theory that certain writers were just plain nuts--you know, the ones who came up with the scariest storylines, the most horrific plots, or creepiest characters. Lately, though, I've had to re-evaluate that idea and what I've come up is truly scary. Close the curtains at nightfall scary. I forgot to pay my electric bill scary. Gasp! Even Stephen King scary.

I realized all writers are nuts. Yep, every last one of us.

Here's a photo from my Crazy Folks file showing just what
can happen to people who go nuts writing their books.
Wait! This is from my Very Ugly Moth file. Sorry about that.
Easy to get those two mixed up.
Now before any of you non-writers (What? There are people who don't write? How do they survive their days?) think I've cast aspirations at a healthy portion of our earthly population, let me explain. Yes, all writers are crazy. We're a silly bunch of folks, and we're proud of it. Some of us might even be insane, but I'm not naming any names or pointing any fingers. Rather, I'm complimenting those who write for a living, or for pleasure, or at their jobs, or in their daily journals.

You see writers are (among many other things) curious, intelligent, diligent, relentless, often tireless, and love learning and reading and even editing. But those fine attributes aren't what make us crazy. What defines us as a little "off" is our determination to spend all the time we do crafting homes, towns, cities, countries, even worlds or universes; honing the unique traits and mental and physical characteristics of the people we plunk down in those places; and finally devising a nearly insurmountable problem for our protagonist to solve all the while trying to overcome the hurdles put in their way by the antagonist. When all that's in place, we make our story compelling, exciting, whimsical, humorous, inspirational, scary as all get-out, true-to-life in some areas and larger-than-life in others, and entertaining--all the while producing elegant prose, excellent dialogue, and proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar.

And then hope like crazy we find an agent, a publisher, or a reader.

Now if that doesn't qualify writers as certifiably crazy people, I don't know what does. (Well, maybe allowing oneself to be launched into space atop a megaton bomb, parachuting from a plane on purpose, or volunteering to climb to the top of an active volcano to take a look at the lava levels could be considered a bit weird. Other than that, though, forget about it.) When you realize that most writers (Stephen King is not a part of this elite group, by the way) must hope they find one or two readers to like their work, let alone develop a fan base, and yet still go through all of the above on the off-chance their work will bring them a modicum of success, you have to wonder at their sanity.

Yet every writer I know does this. We take the yearnings we hold inside, nurture them, and finally set them free, exposing our worlds and characters and plots to the world. To those who will hopefully appreciate them. To readers. Like you.
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