Monday, November 7, 2016

5 Things No One Told Me About Being an Author

Many writers are currently pushing themselves for NaNoWriMo. I’m not. I keep saying maybe one year. Apparently, this wasn’t my year. Again. I think part of it is I’m always in denial when November comes around. I refuse to accept another year is almost over. Anyway, I figure those who are participating don’t have time for a long blog post (which I seem doomed to write). So here’s a quickie for you to enjoy during a break from your literary madness.

5 Things No One Told Me About Being a Writer

1. Reading would take on a whole new dimension.

Just about every established author tells the newbies they need to read if they want to be a strong writer. I considered it to be the best perk of being an author—justification for why I couldn’t take my nose out of a book. What no one said was that I’d start reading those books in an entirely different way. I can no longer just get lost in a story. I have to critique and edit and analyze the entire time. The way I rate a 5-star book these days is if it can make me forget I’m an author and pull me into the story.

2. My verbal communication skills would diminish.

This is especially noticeable for me since I no longer work outside the home, and I don’t get to practice my verbal communication as often. More often than I’d like to admit, I find myself in a conversation wishing I could run to my computer and send an email instead. My fingers have replaced my mouth and it’s a struggle. Maybe if I tried typing on an invisible keyboard while I talked. That wouldn’t be weird at all.

3. I’d become a creepy observer.

I always enjoyed people watching, but now it’s a required job skill. I am observing, taking mental notes of nervous ticks, mannerisms, reactions to situations—really everything you are doing, I’m watching. While creepy, I assure you I’m harmless. Unless you see me whip out my phone and start making a note. Then you may need to worry that I’m plotting your fictional demise.

4. I’d spend a lot of time on Google, researching weird facts.

Was there a full moon on October 10, 2014? What year did INXS become popular? Does a fire extinguisher leave a smell or residue? Do people say soda or pop in Colorado? On and on and on . . .

I had often chuckled at the search suggestions Google would pull up when I started typing in the search box. I’d think, “Who is researching this stuff?” Then I became and author. Click.

5. I’d become Dug.

You all remember Dug from the movie Up, right?

Yeah, creativity is like a magnet for distractions. I’d sit down to type and suddenly I’m rearranging my desk. I’d start researching some weird fact and then fall down a rabbit hole of fascinating useless facts. I’d go to answer emails and get sucked into blog post after blog post. I’d get on Facebook to post to my page and—SQUIRREL!

~ Carrie


Leandra Wallace said...

#2!!! That's me especially. Which is bad b/c I work in a call center, lol! It's like: Hold on, let me type out my thoughts & edit them before I reply to that question. ;)

Brenda St John Brown said...

I find myself looking up the weirdest things! Although I found a recipe for apple pancakes the other day in the name of research that I'm totally going to make this week.

Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

How about analyzing all my neurosis? I find I'm also looking for a story in everything. I take a walk around the block -- I wonder if I'll find a dead body. I also can't watch TV without being hyper critical. It's a sickness.

Carrie Beckort said...

Yes! It's like I can't process my thoughts these days without typing them out. I'm sure I sound like such a scatter-brain these days. Maybe we should start a group where we meet up and practice talking to each other :)

Carrie Beckort said...

Oh, sounds yummy! I love when weird research actually pays off in something useful beyond the story.

Carrie Beckort said...

Now that you point it out, I can see the TV issue. Fall TV wasn't nearly as exciting for me this year as it has been in the past. It is a sickness. I wonder if consuming higher amounts of chocolate would help.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

Carrie I love this post! OMG get out of my thoughts. You hit the nail smack on the head. Searches, creepy observer, I'd rather write than talk, and reading as an editor. This makes me feel like I'm with my people and I'm no longer alone. Thank you!

Carrie Beckort said...

Thanks, Cheryl! As you say, it's good to know we're not alone in our madness :)

Unknown said...

"I can no longer just get lost in a story. I have to critique and edit and analyze the entire time." You nailed it, Carrie! And as you noted, these days, it takes a really great read to leave my "author eyes" closed.

Carrie Beckort said...

I suppose it's one of the reasons reading more makes us stronger writers, but the reader in me just wants to get lost sometimes :)

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