More often than not when I tell someone I’m a writer I receive the response, “I have a great idea for a story!” And sometimes they add, “Maybe we could talk about it…” Why? Have I mentioned something about running out of my own ideas? Has my well run dry? This may indeed be one of the first lessons every writer learns…everyone has an idea. I’ve had old friends, people I hadn’t spoken to in years, call to ask if I wanted to write these interesting ideas they had because they had learned that I was now a writer. I understand their enthusiasm for wanting to share their story, sometimes it is indeed interesting (I mean, we all have stories…you tell them at parties while standing around the kitchen with a glass of wine), but (and that’s a big but), I feel almost like they’re trying to validate not just what I do, but themselves as well for having lived with this glimpse of a story for as long as they have.
Maybe this sounds a bit callous, but in the end, I think their eye is on the possibility of money. Novels can have hordes of followers and then can be turned into movies, and writers have a level of celebrity now that I don’t think existed prior to the internet. I write because I have to. I don’t want to do anything else, I’ve tried other avenues and this is it for me (and what would my poor brain do if I didn’t do this? Hmm…), and hopefully, in time, the money will come, but that’s not why I do it. This is my lot in life.
I was reminded of this pet peeve when I read an article about The 6 Things Only Writers Understand About the Writing Life on the site The Write Life. Here’s a snippet from this particular pet peeve:
I always feel a little disrespected when someone brings up their story like we have something in common. Do they think my job is just me wistfully going about my day with big ideas?
If you find yourself cornered by someone else’s half-baked dreams, try to steer the conversation toward the reality of your career and lifestyle to help them understand that you’re more than fantastical ideas. Explain what your day really looks like, and the deadlines and commitments that drive your work toward the finish line.
And usually we have to try to find time for our passion in between family, work, friends, and other commitments. So stay strong fellow writers!
I wish you all the best of luck and a productive weekend (if you’re working and not “taking the weekend” like I’ve suggested)!
*Image from DL Koontz site