Weekend Edition – Dear Writer, You are weird. Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips

Writers are not normal people.

Image from Screencraft

Image from Screencraft

It started when I was a kid. I would often carry a notebook with me, scribbling everything and nothing on its welcoming pages as I sat alone in a quiet corner of the playground, or – later, when I was older – at the end of a long table in study hall. When I entered the working world, my notebook accompanied me on the commuter train and was my lunch date on the Boston Common. Now, in my life as mom and freelance writer, my notebook is an even more constant companion. Tossed in the back seat or tucked into my bag, it is always at the ready. Whether I’m idling in the pick-up line at school, sitting at the edge of the arena watching my daughter ride, or waiting in the doctor’s office, my notebook is never far away.

Just yesterday, I joined a few friends for a late afternoon beach run. While the kids swam, the adults engaged in the kind of ebb and flow conversation that often develops at the edge of the sea. It wasn’t long, however, before I felt an urge to take out my notebook. Even after a lifetime of doing my “writer thing,” I felt a little awkward, but I needed to work out an idea for this week’s newspaper column. Happily, my friends are totally nonjudgemental and, after initial curious inquiries, left me to my own, writerly devices.

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Writers are weird. And, the sooner we acknowledge and embrace that fact, the better off we’ll be and the better our work will be.

I don’t often think about the ways being a writer makes me different from other people; but, when I do stop to think about it, the differences can be pretty striking. For instance, as a writer, I take on a lot of voluntary work that eats up hours and hours of my “free” time. While other people are heading out for a day on the boat or the beach, I’m often sitting (happily, I might add) at my computer, writing. I routinely dedicate substantial chunks of time each week to doing work that is not only unpaid, but often unseen by anyone but me.

Then there’s the fact that, despite being fortunate enough to have wonderful friends, I often choose solitude over time spent with others. It’s not that I don’t enjoy being with other people; it’s just that sometimes I prefer the company of my own thoughts. Without time to myself, I begin to feel restless and edgy and “not me.”

As a writer, I tend to question pretty much everything. I may not always do it out loud, but my writer’s mind is always asking “why” and “how” and “what if” while digging around for new ideas and truths. My mind runs off on all kinds of wild tangents that can leave other people a bit baffled. Like a slightly mad daydreamer, my thoughts can leap from one concept to another, connecting the dots in strange ways. I am sure that sometimes people wonder if I’m seeing the same world they see.

··• )o( •··

Writing in my notebook has always been a way of exploring the world while hiding from it. Like the Elven cloaks worn by the Hobbits on their way to Mordor, my notebook has the magical ability to render me almost invisible. In the same way that reading a good story transports me to another time and place, slipping between the pages of my notebook is like stepping into a shadow dimension. Though I remain physically in this world, my mind is traveling elsewhere, and people tend not to notice me. The movement of my pen across the paper is like a spell that allows me to peer unseen into the inner workings of our world. From this vantage point, I can observe life from a slight distance.

This is the strangest dichotomy of being a writer. Though I feel a frequent need to step back and away in order to observe and think in solitude, I also have an equally strong and seemingly opposite desire to connect deeply with the world and people around me. Though on the surface I may be perceived as something of a loner, my solitude is actually a means to creating stronger connections to others.

··• )o( •··

Writers, like all other artists, are people with something to say. We may share that something via stories, essays, or comics. We may write letters to the editor, screenplays, or poetry. Our words might be quirky or bold, gentle or inflammatory, academic or fantastic. Our stories may be frightening, inspiring, or heartbreaking. We might hope to make people laugh, or cry, or just see the world from a slightly different perspective. Though motivations, intentions, and styles vary wildly from one writer to the next, each of us goes out into the world wanting to share a piece of ourselves and our experience through our writing.

We are willing to invest an inordinate amount of time figuring out what we want to say and then crafting the piece of writing to say it. While most non-writers are content to either keep their opinions to themselves or share them on a much more modest scale, writers are compelled to “share big.” We are odd in our need to splay our inner thoughts across the page for others to read. With each word we write we say, “This is me. I am here. This is what I have seen. This is what I imagine.” Because we possess some crazy mixture of unintentional hubris and quiet courage, we are able to offer ourselves to the world – transparent and vulnerable.

This makes us weird.

But, as E.B. White once said, “All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.” And love, as cliché as it is, may be the answer. Though it may seem weird to others, we writers profess our love for the world with every word we write. We try, as best we can, to capture the essence of this life and our hearts, of dreams and the vast landscape of human imagination. Everyone lives his or her own internal life. Writers wear that internal life on the outside for all to see.

Whether we love nature or history, romance or vampires, talking cats, magic rings, or simply the diversity of human nature, we  let that love sweep us off our feet. Even when we write about tragedy or war or cruelty, if you read between the lines you will find love for the underdog, the valiant, and the kind. As writers, we are willing to make fools of ourselves for the things we love. We babble a lot. We do the unexpected and the absurd. Sometimes we fail, but our love is strong enough that we are willing to get up again and again, to keep trying.

If love is what makes us weird, I’m willing to wear that label with pride. They may look at us askew and think us odd or quirky, but that’s ok. The geek shall inherit the Earth, and I’m happy to be a love-crazed wordsmith who wears her heart on her sleeve. I’m good with that.

 

What I’m Reading:

book buried giantThe Buried Giant is the first Kazuo Ishiguro novel I’ve read, but I have a feeling it won’t be my last. Though the story and genre are a marked departure from his other works (you may have heard of a little title called Remains of the Day), it is more than my love for fantasy that made me fall for this novel.

Some books rely on an early burst of attention-grabbing action to hook a reader. Though I like an exciting read as much as the next girl, I sometimes feel like these kinds of stories are trying too hard. They are like the clichéd pick-up artist leaning on the bar who has to weave his salary, the make and model of his car, and some name-dropping into the conversation because he’s afraid that just talking to a girl won’t be enough to keep her interested. He may be a perfectly nice guy, but the approach feels slightly desperate.

Not so with The Buried Giant. This book felt more like a quietly refined guy sitting at the next table over in a little coffee shop, reading. This guy isn’t pushy or flashy. In fact, he’s probably more interested in his book than he is in you, but – happily – he’s still willing to engage in a real conversation. He has a slightly antiquarian air about him, something a bit out of sync with the modern world, but his presence is that of a person who has been places and seen things. As you begin to talk, the coffee shop starts to fade and you find yourself transported to another place and time that feels both completely foreign to you, and also like home.

This is the spell Ishiguro casts so well.

Though this story’s cast of characters includes ogres, a warrior, a dragon, and Sir Gawain, it is never about these things. Like Ishiguro’s other works, this is, as described on the publisher’s web page, a story about “the act of forgetting and the power of memory, a resonant tale of love, vengeance, and war.”

Also from the publisher’s web page:

The Romans have long since departed and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But, at least, the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased. Axl and Beatrice, a couple of elderly Britons, decide that now is the time, finally, for them to set off across this troubled land of mist and rain to find the son they have not seen for years, the son they can scarcely remember. They know they will face many hazards—some strange and otherworldly—but they cannot foresee how their journey will reveal to them the dark and forgotten corners of their love for each other. Nor can they foresee that they will be joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and a knight—each of them, like Axl and Beatrice, lost in some way to his own past, but drawn inexorably toward the comfort, and the burden, of the fullness of a life’s memories.

Though I have already said that I enjoyed this book for many reasons other than my love of well-written fantasy, it does seem that Ishiguro’s novel may have far-reaching influence on an often-maligned genre. An article for the New York Times quotes David Mitchell, the author of Cloud Atlas, as saying, “Fantasy plus literary fiction can achieve things that frank blank realism can’t.” Mitchell apparently went on to say that he hoped The Buried Giant would help “de-stigmatize” fantasy. Three cheers for that.

Ishiguro is very aware of the fact that his latest novel treads in new territory. The NYT article provides some back story about how be worried about whether or not his readers would follow him into these strange new lands (a topic I touched on in last week’s post, Just Be Yourself. Yeah, Right.) I am no expert on Ishiguro’s audience, but I cannot believe that many will abandon his beautiful prose based simply on a setting. More to the point, I’d be willing to bet that Ishiguro will gain a new audience with this book – people like me who might not have picked up Remains of the Day or Never Leave Me without having read The Buried Giant.

The fact that he was recently featured in an interview with fantasy rock star Neil Gaiman certainly won’t hurt Ishiguro’s reputation with this new audience. In Let’s Talk About Genre for the NewStatesman, these two heavyweights explore the idea of genre and make some pretty interesting observations that make a strong case for genre being nothing more than an industry-manufactured filing system.

But, I digress.

I highly recommend The Buried Giant for readers of all types. Whether you are a lover of fantasy or a disciple of the literary form, Ishiguro’s novel holds something for everyone.  It is a beautifully crafted story that manages to successfully balance the magical and mythical with the very essence of our mundane world. I have a feeling I’ll be returning to its pages before too long.

 

What I’m {Learning About} Writing:

imitation bunniesI have been meaning, for a while, to write a post about the art of imitation in writing. I have read many times about writers who “grease the wheels,” so to speak, by writing in a way that channels a favorite author. Some writers will even copy passages verbatim from some favorite text as part of their writing warm-up.

Though novice writers may fear imitation (assuming that everything they write must be entirely unique), seasoned writers seem to accept imitation as part of the creative process. In a piece for The Write Practice, Joe Bunting cites several examples of “copier” writers including Steven Pressfield, Cormac McCarthy, and even Shakespeare.

While you ultimately want to discover your own voice, allowing your writing to be influenced by writers you admire is a good way to get a feel for patterns, cadence, and overall style. Often, you’ll find you’re influenced whether you want to be or not. For instance, looking back over a few recent entries in my morning pages journal, I noticed that even my “brain dump” writing took on a very different tone while I was reading The Buried Giant. To get myself rolling on these entries, I usually start with a very basic listing of where I am, what I’ve done so far that morning, the weather, etc. It’s painfully mundane, but it gets my hand moving across the page, and then I can go on from there.

Written before I’d read The Buried Giant:

Meghan is just up. Bella is sleeping in the bay window and Cinder is running amok, all jazzed up from a play session with her fleece-y whip toy. Funny girl. The crows haven’t been by yet, and even the sparrows are scarce. It’s just too hot and humid. And I’ll be riding in about an hour. Yikes!

Written while I was reading The Buried Giant:

All the animals are fed and the composting is out at the curb. A scourge of sparrows feasts greedily at the feeder, which is more than half pillaged even this early in the morning. The crows have been, but many peanuts still lie on the deck. A strange cry from distant trees sent them wheeling away across the road, and they have not yet returned. It is a cry I have not heard before, but – though it made me catch my breath – I would hear it again to try and name its source.

Is the second entry any less “my” writing because my choice of words was influenced by the book I was reading? I tend to think not, but this is a topic I’ll need to explore further in another post.

 

And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:

Finally, a quote for the week:

Melissa Frances - Blackboard Canvas Print - Blessed are the Weird

Melissa Frances – Blackboard Canvas Print – Blessed are the Weird

Here’s to embracing your own brand of weirdness, not being afraid to be influenced by other people’s weirdness, and finding a little magic in even the most mundane of days. 
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Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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Imitation Bunnies Photo Credit: adametrnal via Compfight cc

66 thoughts on “Weekend Edition – Dear Writer, You are weird. Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips

    • I agree, Anna. We have to be a little strange to choose this writer’s life. 😉
      Thanks for the share!

  1. Throughout reading I imagined myself as the person- A writer you talked about. I felt that’s me who always have a story to tell to people. I just pick some tragedies out of my life to give a voice to my thoughts. While it’s not what everyone does. They hide an untold story.

    Yeah, sometimes my friends has called me mad or crazy. That’s so because I’m an imaginative and a day dreamer. I like those movies much in which inclusion of writer as the main role has been shown. Indeed in Bollywood there are many. It doesn’t matter to me if that movie was flop. Because I have been watching myself in the role of a writer. Even I liked a dilouge from a bollywood movie ‘Khamoshiyan’. ‘Hey, Mr.. I have seen an amazing writer inside you.’ And that guy turns to hear and walks far away from her eyes.

    That’s how the writers have been. They have their own thoughts. They just don’t wanna waste it instead write it. No one knows at which point you’ll get a story or may be you are holding one within you.

    • Stories are everywhere. Writers are just tuned in to that channel, so to speak. And, sometimes, that means that we’re going to dance to music that no one else can hear … until we write it down for them.
      😉

  2. I loved the post, truly capturing the ‘weirdness’ of us writers. Similar to the description above, people may feel that i’m a loner as i am mostly shy to open up. But, i am a different person altogether when i’m writing – writing from the depths of heart, expressing freely everything i want to say.

    • It’s interesting how many writers are reserved or shy in “real” life, but can let loose on the page in a way that contradicts their in-the-world personality. I love the way that kind of contrast highlights the duality of existence. It’s kind of like we get to have it both ways. 😉

      Thanks for sharing here!

  3. None of my writing is published at the moment so I feel reluctant to call myself a writer or seek out writers (I usually prefer being alone somewhere anyway). Generally the reply is ‘no, not really’ if people try to figure out my creative background. When I read the ‘weird’ things, I could relate to it. Thank you. It’s a relief to feel understood. Perhaps I am a writer.

  4. Great post. I feel a lot of these things as a writer too. I think on the influencing thing this can have really interesting results, especially if we focus on counter-balancing the work in progress. So instead of just reading things that might be like what you are trying to write, pick the thing that’s not like what your writing at all. By adding this more random influence it made bleed into your work in progress in interesting and innovative ways. I really believe in the sort of, dare I say, magical effects of being a writer, which I think you brilliantly pointed out with you notebook as invisibility cloak example. I think it is more than just some flimflam (how’s that for a great word) to start analyzing the writing process as moving in other dimensions, as you did. Anyway, very interesting read, thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks so much. Great comments!
      I love the idea of mixing influences and choosing works that might offer a counterpoint to your work in progress. As you point out, that could result in some really interesting and innovative hybrid work. Nice idea!

      I’m also intrigued by where you took the magical effects thought. Stories are full of magic – the language, the alternate realities, the way they can take us away. It only makes sense that the act of creating stories should hold at least as much magic.

      And – yes! – “flimflam” … excellent word.

      TKS for coming by. 🙂

  5. Jamie, your sentence “Though on the surface I may be perceived as something of a loner, my solitude is actually a means to creating stronger connections to others.” Is such a perfect encapsulation of how I feel about being a loner and what rich connections I feel to people and nature because of my solitude. I have written that quote in my ‘Specials” notebook.

    I think often about the practice of imitation – whether it is indirect by reading countless books/articles by authors with whom we relate or by directly copying or structuring practice prompts, we are influenced by those we admire. While much of the time we are simply repeating what’s already been written, it is the unique way each of us writes something that reaches out and grabs a reader who previously missed a similar message.

    Great column as always. You truly inspire me!

    • I’m honored, Sammy, to have a place in your “Specials” notebook. Thank you. 🙂

      I agree that solitude is an essential part of creating intimacy with others. I suppose it’s related to that old saw about being unable to love someone else until you love yourself. How better to get to know (and love) ourselves than to spend time alone? In our hyper-connected world, though, those of us who crave solitude are often seen as odd.

      What you said about the art of imitation made me think about the idea of writers & readers being collaborators on story – though the writer puts the words down, it’s the reader who ultimately “finishes” the story through the act of reading it. I wonder if maybe something similar applies to your idea of each writer “repeating what’s already been written” … but just adding a new layer, so to speak. It’s like all writers are maybe working on the same stories … just bringing them to life in different ways. I love the way that makes each of us writers another link in a long lineage. Hmmm … you’ve got me thinking!

      Thanks so much, as always, for being here.

      • That’s what I have found so fascinating about blogging and the reading & writing I do for my posts. I keep finding broader and deeper connections through it which is so energizing and soul fulfilling. You obviously find similar connections. It’s a way of being tightly bonded even in our solitude.

      • Exactly. And I’ve also found that the more consistently I “reach out” – both in my reading of others’ blogs and writing on my own blog – the more instances of “magical” serendipity I find in my life – little connections that fire like synapses and help me understand the world a teensy bit more. It’s pretty darn cool.

  6. Hello,
    That had such a resonance for me, thank you. But who are the real weird ones here? Maybe writers have simply have found answers to be lacking out there in the world of careless talk and throwaway away remarks. Instead they gravitate to a place where words are considered maybe even crafted; the written word.
    I think it was Graham Greene that said, writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can mange to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in the human situation. – Now who is weird?

    • I SO agree, Paul. I have often said that if I couldn’t write, I would probably go mad. Writing is definitely a form of therapy and, in fact, a way to process life, the universe, and everything (affectionate nod to Douglas Adams).

      We may be a little crazy, but at least we’re working with that crazy to bring something beautiful and interesting into the world. AND, we’re also sort of “self-medicating” with words, aren’t we? We could certainly do much worse.
      😉

      Thanks for the great add!

  7. Inspirational to see in words what is working inside our minds. Oddly, I don’t think what others are seeing when I am being who I am, with Tablet or notebook in hand while out in public. Maybe they feel I am eccentric. But it is essential to be able to record at a moments notice, even as you are falling asleep, to write down that word or sentence or thought. Thinking it will be there once you get home or when you wake in the morning, so wrong we know that would be. How foolish if we let escape what the Muse is offering up. It might just tick her off if we act so cavalier, to dismiss a gift she deems as precious. If she goes to the trouble to communicate with us, it is only polite to pay attention by taking notes.

    TY for your brilliant piece on the weirdness of us writers. Notebook: never leave home without it and while at home, always by my side. jk 😎

    • Intrigued by your handle and your avatar. Nice! 🙂

      And, I agree in spades. We should be grateful and respectful of whatever inspiration comes our way. I have let too many ideas drift away into the night or slip from my mind out the window while I’m driving. I have learned through hard experience to get my thoughts down in ink (or audio) as soon as I possibly can. It’s too easy to assume we’ll be able to “hold that thought” until a more convenient time, but there’s an expiration date on that kind of “gift,” as you put it, from the Muse … and it’s an expiration date usually measured in minutes.

      Thanks for being here. Love your take on the ideas & sense of humor.

      • ‘the secret keeper’ & avatar of the Celtic Tree of Life, they all fit with my persona, Irish and lots of secrets kept when too young.

        Inspiration does exist, as we know, its source to me is mystical. The words & ideas come floating or drifting into the mind. Learning to pay attention to those with importance, it may take a practiced mind or just an attentive one. I write everyday, unless I need rest, and I think it does encourage help from the Muse. She takes those who create more seriously when we actually do attempt to create. It leads to a successful encounter. Those minutes do slip by unnoticed if we aren’t taking notes.

        Yesterday, while sipping juice at the kitchen table, zap, what I was working on but couldn’t quite see yet, came crashing through. An definitely profound Aha! moment. Say back down at my laptop and the poem I wanted to write started to appear. Bit by bit it came together. I was stunned. I have never written in that style before.

        So when we least expect the answers to come, surprise, there they are on the page. We wrote them. Wow!

        Thank you for you comment. We seem to be traveling a similar path in our ways of perception. And sense of humor is a necessity. I laugh at the weirdest things. 🙂

  8. Thank goodness being weird is normal! I was sitting in a cafe the other day when the muse grabbed me. I scrabbled inside my bag for a pen and my notebook and penned the outline of a character who had just ‘popped’ into my head. I didn’t want to lose him so I had no option but to get his details down as quickly as I could.
    Not sure what the three women on the next table thought of this frantic behaviour, but c’est la vie – it had to be done 😂.
    Great post, thank you.

    • “It had to be done.”
      Exactly.
      And, as writers, we’re so much better off when we finally realize that that’s the way it is, and that’s our “job,” so to speak. Forget worrying about being “weird” and just get your job done! 😉

      TKS for being here. I hope that character outline is working for you!

  9. I have been called weird most of my life. Then one day I was diagnosed with a mental illness. Now I’m writing a book about mental illness and it is good to be weird, I guess. Nevertheless, Thank You.

    • Sounds like you are putting your “weird” directly to good use. That’s a good thing.
      I hope that your writing is going well. Thanks for stopping by to share a bit of your story & good luck with the book!

  10. Wow! I enjoyed reading this. I too spent so much of my life with a notebook in my hand. During the children at home years I had a notebook in every room of the house even the toilet. Is that weird? Now I’m older the passion is more latent but write I must even if its only a thought at the bottom of the shopping docket. Thank you and continue to enjoy the journey.

    • Hello, Faye! 🙂 Thanks – glad you liked this one.

      It’s not weird at all (having a notebook in every room in the house). I have always kept a scratchpad in the laundry room because it seems I’m often being struck by ideas while I’m either loading the washer or folding the clothes from the dryer. I suppose it’s the routine of the tasks that frees my writer’s mind up to dally with other things.

      Thanks for being here, and for taking the time to leave a comment. “See” you again soon!

  11. Dear Jamie: so many lovely things.
    Firstly; the geek shall inherit the earth lol :). Confession: I don’t carry a notebook. I am going to use one, from today. Also, I have been thinking about morning pages and how to incorporate them into my schedule. I think, after reading that article on morning pages, that I have the answer. Thank you! I loved your example of your morning pages, oh my!
    Also, The Buried Giant sounds fabulous. I’ve put it on my to read list. Literary fantasy? Yum.

    • Hello, Sara! Hope your studies are going well.

      Yeah. I don’t think I can take credit for “the geek shall inherit the earth,” but it’s a good one, isn’t it? We could certainly do worse as a civilization. 😉

      Yay that you’ll be carrying a notebook from now on … hope we get to peek inside via your blog. And double yay that you have found a way to incorporate morning pages into your schedule. I so miss my morning pages when I let my practice slide. Now, if I could just get back to my morning yoga, too …

      And – triple yes to The Buried Giant. Such a lovely read – full of poetry that I think you’ll especially like. Love to know what you think when you get around to reading it. Enjoy!

  12. As I read through your opening section, I felt like I was reading sections of my journal throughout the years. I’ve always been the girl with a pen and a notebook and it’s always great to know that there are others in my “tribe”.

    Your thoughts on imitation are a great reminder that reading other great writers makes us better writers, too. It’s not just imitation, it’s inspiration–an aha moment with a fellow writer who has conquered the siege that is publication. Thanks for the great post!

  13. Great post. It’s so true that we walk that fine line between wanting to tell our story and wanting to hide away. The first piece I ever published was about a baby that died in our family. When the editor called to say they wanted to publish it, I was first elated then panicking in case someone from my family read it. Recently I published a piece about the family home being sold after 58 years and the sorrow I suffered as a result. I think my husband was a bit shocked that I would submit something so personal for public consumption, and in a way I was too. But as you say, that’s what writers do. As one of my uni tutors told us, “If you’re a writer, that’s your lot”.

    • I often marvel at the courage some writers have to share so much of their personal experience in their work. I do share my thoughts, but rarely get too deeply personal. (Though, I did start my public writing with that whole blogging-my-divorce thing …) 😉

      I agree with your university tutor – this is all part of having a writer’s life … all of it.

  14. Pingback: Weekend Edition – Dear Writer, You are weird. Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips | metamorphosis

    • We may be hardwired at heart, but I think many of us take the better part of a lifetime to figure out that that’s how we want to live … and then even more time to work up the courage to live that way.

      Long live the geek!
      😉

      TKS for the comment.

    • So glad you enjoyed the post, and – no worries – I’ll never stop writing. Hope you don’t either!

  15. Pingback: Weekend Edition – Dear Writer, You are weird. Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips | are you who you think you are

  16. I loved it! This is a great post and makes me feel better about myself somehow. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us . Your post is very inspiring. Regards from an argentinian amateur and weird writer.

    • Hello, weird writer. 😉

      I’m so glad this made you feel “better.” Several people have said that, and I don’t think I could think of a better compliment. Makes ME feel better to hear it!

      Thanks for taking the time to send a shout out. Glad to have you here.

    • Thank you so much. I love having such wonderful readers who appreciate that and respond in kind.
      Happy to have you here. 🙂

  17. I agree. My family members and my close friends understand. But most others think I’m weird. I voluntarily took early retirement at the height of my corporate career to write (among other things). Check out “About Me” in my blog, “Living The Writing”, if you wish.

    • How wonderful that you were able to take early retirement & thought your writing life worth the time. I imagine that’s a decision you will look back on without any regrets! 🙂

      Congrats on both your books. Sounds like you’ve been putting your time to good use.
      Thanks for being here & sharing.

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  20. Hey Jamie, this is such a great piece. I’m starting to learn that being a writer is where I belong. Would you please have a post on your first fiction book. I would love to read it.

    • You’re so nice, James. I would love to share more of my writing (and, I will) when I’ve got something to share! 😉 Meanwhile, very glad you’re feeling “at home” as a writer. That makes it all worth while.

      Thanks for coming by. Nice to have you here.

      • You always have something to share – and you know that. You are both wise and nice. I just want you to know that I’m glad that I relate with your words, especially this:

        “My mind runs off on all kinds of wild tangents that can leave other people a bit baffled. Like a slightly mad daydreamer, my thoughts can leap from one concept to another, connecting the dots in strange ways. I am sure that sometimes people wonder if I’m seeing the same world they see.”

        I know greater things are ahead of you. Unbury your full potential and see where it takes you – you benefit for yourself, and then we benefit from you too. You’re such a great writer. 😀

  21. Jamie, have you been peaking inside my life? You’ve captured the essence of what being a writer truly means to me. I’m still struggling to find my “niche” but find such a disconnect between what I “know” and what I want to write about. I’d really enjoy writing about things like this but wonder who would actually pay to hear my ideas? Confidence issue? Perhaps. More likely…I’m just weird. 🙂

    • Oooh. That’s SUCH a good question, Debbie. There are so many conflicting feelings in play there – a desire to explore one thing, but feeling unworthy or unready … the issue of mixing money with art and how that works (or doesn’t) … the question the role confidence plays in the making of art. LOTS to think about here.

      I do not have any answers (and not even any guesses that could be shared succinctly enough to be appropriate for a comment), but I can tell you that you are not alone in your wondering and worrying. I ask myself those same questions all the time. I let my inner critic chastise me for writing about a creative life when I haven’t been published. I wonder who am I to be sharing my thoughts about this process. The only reason I’m able to get past all those doubts (and fears of being called out as a fraud) is to remind myself that I’ve never claimed to be an expert. I’m just a fellow traveler on the road who enjoys sharing her experiences and is delighted to hear about other people’s experiences.

      I think that sometimes the people who know less can actually teach us more. And there is always someone who is walking in the footsteps you took yesterday, someone who would benefit from hearing your story. It’s hard to put down our insecurities, but with practice it becomes very doable. Trust me. 😉

      Thanks so much for making me think more deeply on this subject. Great stuff!!

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  26. It’s intriguing to think about what makes someone a writer and I guess conversely why others don’t write at all. I come from a very musical family with artists, writers and photographers. I do think there’s a part of the brain which is more active in creatives and that this thing, when over-stimulated, can cause serious mental illness. Like you’ve mentioned in another post, curiousity to me is the hallmark of any writer or creative. You have to look beyond the surface of things and ask questions. Indeed, question after question. My 9 year old daughter is quite bright and what stands out most about her is the incredible amount of questions she asks us. She wants to know how everything works. What it is She doesn’t so much pull things apart but is frequently making and building things instead. Her brain is always firing. She probably needs to actually practice calming techniques.
    Just a few thoughts.
    xx Rowena

    • Asking questions … that’s kind of the crux of creativity, isn’t it? Why? What if? How Come? Could we … ?
      I sometimes forget to ask questions, and then my train of thought grinds to a thought and gets mired in all the things I already know. That’s not a good place for me to be creatively. Better to fully embrace all that I DON’T know and let fly with all the questions I can think of! 🙂

      Sounds like your daughter is off to a great start on her creative life! Hooray for 9 year-olds who ask questions.

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