The question of the day, my Interweb buddies, is, “What do you do when you’re not writing?”
After I stopped laughing, several answers immediately come to mind, most of them somewhat flippant. (It should be mentioned here, perhaps, that this is what always happens when anyone asks me a question about anything. I have a difficult time with straight answers.)
A few of my initial responses, in no particular order:
- When am I not writing?
- I wish I were writing.
- Sleep. Eat. Go outside. Maybe go see if my friends still remember that I exist.
Writers, well, write. All the time. We’re like junkies constantly looking for the next fix. Even when we don’t have a pen and a notepad and act all obvious about it, we’re writing. When someone talks to me, I’m listening, yes, but on some level I’m dissecting your story. What words do you use? How do you use them? Can I steal some of your dialogue? What are you doing while you’re talking? Is it a movement I can take? When you’re telling me that story about how your great Uncle Murray farms chinchillas, somewhere deep inside I’m thinking, “Should I make one of my characters a chinchilla farmer? What if the chinchillas suddenly became rabid and attacked? Would that make a good subplot? Can chinchillas get rabies?”
Another thing: writers are magpies and we steal. Not in a kleptomaniac way. I’m pretty sure your good silver is safe. No, what we take is tiny bits of you. Which is why writers make terrible friends. Sure, we’re listening to your story, but we’re also mining it for our own needs. We want to take that funny thing you just said. It’s shiny and we need it. Trust me, my friends are used to me saying, “Do you mind if I use that?” I really can’t imagine why any of them still talks to me.
And that’s not all. When I’m not actively stealing your words, movements, and stories about people you know, I’m probably thinking about my own plots, characters and worlds. Maybe I’m not able to be at my computer actually writing at this moment, but you can’t stop me from thinking about it. Sometimes I even dream about plots. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to ask my boyfriend to repeat something he’s just said to me because I was thinking about something book related. So not only are writers terrible friends, but you also probably shouldn’t date us. We cheat on you with figments of our own imagination.
Sometimes, you have to go outside. If you don’t you eventually get rickets and run out of food and supplies. Then you’re that creepy person on your block and eventually people start rumors and before you know it the only visitors at your door have pitchforks and torches…
I forgot what I was talking about.
Oh. Right. Outside. When we finally do go outside, you can probably guess what we’re doing—we’re scanning people, places and things for stuff we can put into a story. We’re obsessed. There are times when writing almost seems like a socially acceptable mental illness. We can’t stop. Ever. But people seem okay with it. They put up with our crazy because it has a (hopefully) positive result. We tell them stories. We can’t stop that, either.
Most days, I struggle to balance my writing life with my real life. What I want to do is write all day and spend the evening with my family. Somewhere inside me is this perfect vision of a home office, a kid who respects a closed door and tiptoes around quietly, and a window next to my desk where I can stare out at the picturesque view and think. In this fantasy the house also cleans itself and someone else is running all the errands. Maybe I own a unicorn and the mailman brings me candy. I mean, as long as I’m dreaming, why not?
A few of you might even imagine this is reality. Well, at least up to the part where I brought up the unicorn. It’s not. I’m a new writer. I have to have another job because my kid likes to eat, and I’m pretty attached to having a roof over my head. My mailman doesn’t bring me candy, either. I have to get that on my own. So, in reality, when I’m not writing, I’m working at my day job. I’m volunteering at 826 Seattle. I’m ferrying my kiddo around. I’m walking the dog, doing the grocery shopping, and cleaning the kitchen. I’m looking at my calendar and crying because there is no blank space for me to not do things. Because when I have free time, I’m trying to catch up on my reading, my emails, my blog posts. I’m calling back my friend who texted me a week ago because she hasn’t seen me in awhile and I’m being a hermit again. Only I’m not. I’m just way too busy. And the more I think about all of this, the more I’m realizing that while my initial answers were originally my way of cracking a joke, they are also, honestly, heart-breakingly true.
When I’m not writing…
When do I stop writing? I never stop writing.
I’m pretending I’m not thinking about writing.
I’m working, cleaning, eating, sleeping, all so I can write.
I’m wishing I were writing…
She is also the author of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and Necromancing the Stone.
You may contact her at LishMcBride@gmail.com, should you, for some reason, wish to do such a thing. You can also find her on facebook and Twitter.
Ah, real life. The true torturer of all artists. Now you see why I love her writing? Everyone so needs to read this book! Even though I love nothing but a straight answer and no snark... *cough* Yea... right. ;)
Lish has provided me with a book for a giveaway. I'm footing the bill for shipping (woe is me) so I'm keeping it US only. Trust me international peeps, I still wuvs ya, and I swear you won't be sorry if you pick up this book. Now if I can only get my hands on Necromancing the Stone which will be out in Sept... Oh yea.. the giveaway...
Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.
Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.
With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?
Just fill out the rafflecopter form below!
PS Necromancer: A Novella is currently free! Whee!