Thursday, November 17, 2011

Explaining Things

Sometimes it's not easy to explain writing. I'm not talking about a conversation with family or close friends who get us, I'm talking about the second-tier associate. The acquaintance. The, dun-dun-duuuuun, co-worker.

Co-Worker: "You look tired. Late night?"*

Me: "Yeah, I was revising one of my stories and lost track of time."

Co-Worker: "Writing? As in a book? Like Twilight?"

Me: "A book, yes, but a different genre."

Co-Worker: "Oh." (awkward silence) "So. . . what's it about?"

Me: "Uh, well it's a space opera about a faction that is creating zombie warrior ninja pirates in order to invade the Beltrakian Empire and overthrow the. . ." (passage of time) ". . . BUT, as they make their escape, the Evil Lord Pepperschmitt attacks and . . ." (more time) ". . . happily ever after. Until the sequel, of course."

Co-Worker: *yawns* "Is it going to be published?"

Me: "There's no guarantee, but I hope so."

Co-Worker: (pregnant pause whilst he/she thinks on this) "Wouldn't you rather spend your free time doing something more, I dunno, productive?"

Me: ". . . "

Granted, I wouldn't go into gory details with anyone except a family member, beta reader, agent, or Miss Tennessee, but you get my drift. To us, the story makes sense. So do the hours, days, months, and years we put into them. But to those who don't know us or share our passion, it can seem like a waste of time.

The difficulty is when we begin to convince ourselves of the same thing. Maintaining motivation can be tough, especially when your inbox is stacked with rejections. It can seem like all the time and energy is spent in vain.

The key is to realize that even if we aren't knocking down The Big Bucks or negotiating which scene of the movie version we'll make our cameo, we're certainly enjoying ourselves. We spend hours and years transitioning a plot bunny from the ethereal mist of our minds to the black and white of actual pages because we love it. And because we want to.

When you think about it, isn't that the only explanation we, or anyone else for that matter, ever truly needs?

*this conversation is 92% fictional.


  1. Grrr. I tire of the "why bother doing that if your words aren't magically, instantly published the second you spew them out" questions.

    One, things worth having are generally difficult to attain. That's what makes them so valuable.

    Two, unless someone's hobby is either building trebuchets capable of launching VW bugs or includes the words "sans frontieres", they really ought not to be criticizing others.

    Writing is fun. Creating worlds and characters and then blowing them up, sometimes repeatedly, is amazing. Doing so with people named Rick or maybe Ron (I'm a writer, I don't have time to learn new names) peering dumbly at you and poking you every so often, not so much.

  2. so true. All my coworkers know I write and I talk about it endlessly but I don't always get into detail. I mean... why worry their poor little heads. None of my coworkers are readers. None. Not a one. Seriously.

    Pity me.

  3. @Hillz: "Writing is fun. Creating worlds and characters and then blowing them up, sometimes repeatedly, is amazing."

    Exactly. Our hobbies fulfill us whether or not we make money from them. Although, I'd love to get paid to build trebuchets. How amazing would that be?

    @Bettie: Like Mr. T, I pity the fool, not you.