The Top 10 Best and Worst Things About Being a Writer (in no particular order):
1. Being able to put the stories, dreams and characters that talk to me down on paper. Some may say this is a bad thing, (this MIGHT make an appearance on the worst list...read more for confirmation) but it thrills me to no end when I'm able to take a single dream or idea and transform it into a novel.
2. That moment when someone says they love your words or your characters. Perhaps they tell you they totally get the main character or that the bad guy really pissed them off. I LOVE THAT. I love when someone completely understands what I was trying to do and falls in love with the characters as I have.
3. Revenge. Don't piss me off--I can and WILL use you as a character in my novel. You could be the bad guy, you could be the dead body. You never know. But believe me--if I dislike you-- you're in one of my novels :)
4. I have an excuse to be crazy. Because ya know...writers are crazy. No one thinks twice when I say weird shit. They just say, "Oh, that's Jade...she's a writer." People don't even think twice when they look at my Google search bar anymore because things like, "How to kill someone using a fly swatter" are just natural for writers. Right?
5. Drafting and being completely in love with the story/direction it's going. There is not a more euphoric feeling than that initial drafting stage where everything is new and pretty and you feel all THE FEELS and you just want to scream from the rooftop about THIS. AWESOME. NEW. IDEA. It's really one of my favorite things about writing.
6. I can't NOT do it. Writing is akin to breathing for me. I'm grumpy, lost and very depressed when I don't write. I crave it like I crave ice cold water, coffee and my husband. I'd still write my heart out even if no one ever read my writing or bought one of my books. I'd still do it because I can't NOT write.
7. When you're a writer--you play God in a sense. You get to breathe characters and settings to life and for some writers--myself included--that feeling is powerful. When I'm writing, I get to journey to places I've never been or might never go. I get to build characters that have all the traits I don't have and wish I did. I get to make my character's do things I would NEVER in a million years do (some good, some very, very bad). For me--this is one of the most exhilarating parts of being a writer.
8. When it all comes together. I love being able to look at my entire novel and know that while it may need some tough love, there is a real and powerful story underneath. It's a huge achievement to write a novel...but it's an even bigger achievement when you actually have a beginning, middle and end that actually makes sense.
9. Doing the most bizarre research. I love learning, (if I could be a student without pressure for the rest of my life--I would) especially when it's something I have no previous knowledge about or it's something I've always wanted to learn about. And on that topic--anything that constitutes as "research" also means it's included as a tax write off.
10. Getting to do what I love every day. Even if I'm not a full time fiction writer--yet, even if I haven't gotten paid to do what I love--yet, I have the freedom and the ability to put my thoughts, dreams and visions on paper and see it come to life. That is priceless. I can't tell you how many people tell me "That's so cool that you're following your dream! I've always wanted to do x, y and z but haven't found the time, energy, motivation etc." It's not easy, but it's my passion.
1. Self-Doubt/Insecurity/Comparitis is really all wrapped into one because it stems from the same thing--the inability to believe your novel is anything except complete and utter shit. In my opinion, this is the absolute WORST thing about being a writer because it's deadly. The fear we possess about our writing and our stories can break a writer and it takes A LOT of work and motivation to keep it at bay. Even the most respected, successful authors feel this way. To me the trusting and believing in myself is the hardest obstacle I face as a writer.
2. Lack of time and sacrifices. The time thing is really a issue. Especially when you have a full time job, personal obligations and a million other things tugging you in any which way. It's hard to find the time to write--but that's the thing about being a writer. You find the time. You carve it out of the time you're supposed to be doing other things like laundry, dishes or being with family. You make sacrifices. Lots and lots of sacrifices. As much as I love writing, there are plenty of times when I'd rather be reading a book on my TBR list or watching the next episode of Duck Dynasty. And if I indeed act on those desires--I feel guilty the entire time because there's always a chapter that needs editing or a new scene that needs written. Always, Always.
3. Shiny New Ideas Syndrome aka SNIS. This one could also be in the "best" list. Shiny New Idea Syndrome is great when you have nothing to work on and you've been stalled for a long time. It's detrimental when you're already editing two novels, drafting a new one, outlining a completely different novel and SNIS knocks you on your ass. It steals all of your time, energy and creative juices unless you possess the power to satisfy it in pieces.
4. Loneliness. It's funny because the writing/reading community is so amazing, so welcoming and supportive. But it's also a very solitary, lonely craft. Unless you're co-authoring a novel--you spend countless hours by yourself, beating on your craft. Reading, writing, learning, writing, writing and did I mention... writing? Sometimes, you'll be so involved in your own novel world...in your own mind, you forget there are actually human beings that need your attention. There are obligations you need to fulfill.
5. Stigma that it's "just" a hobby. There have been so many people in my life--including family and friends who look at my writing as just a hobby. As something I do to pass the time, or maybe it's just a goal or an ambition. It IS a goal and an ambition but it's as real and as serious as someone wanting to be a doctor or lawyer. They go to school to develop their knowledge for their career. I write to develop my knowledge for a future career. It's so difficult to tell and even show other people how much writing means to me and that it will someday be my career. I think it's one of those intangible things--they can't really see the fruits of my labor until it's in their hands and some people aren't that patient.
6. Sometimes it just plain hurts to write. We immerse ourselves in our craft--blood, sweat, tears and all. We spend countless hours writing, editing, revising. We write through headaches, migraines, health problems. We stay up far beyond our bed time to get things done. We push the things that demand our attention to the side so we can continue writing. And the worst part is--sometimes it doesn't matter how much time, effort or blood we put into it. Sometimes it still isn't right. Sometimes it's STILL not the best it can or should be. So any writer who says writing isn't hard work or doesn't hurt is lying.
7. Living up to expectation both internally and externally. Every writer I know (me, included) wants to be the next JK Rowling. But ya know...no one really is. She is who she is and I don't know a more inspiration writer than she is, but we are who we are and JK Rowling we are not. We strive to live up the expectations we have of ourselves and for me--I often feel like I have to live up to the expectations my family and friends have set for me indirectly. Every time I mention a book of mine, I constantly worry if it will be good enough. Will they like it? Will they think I'm a terrible writer? Will it live up to everything they think it should be. Then of course there is the whole mind control thing we have with ourselves. Am I good enough for anyone? Do I live up to my own expectations? It's a constant battle, but one that needs to be fought because this fear is always a creativity killer.
8. The characters in my head won't shut up. Seriously. In the shower, in the car, while watching a movie, while reading. Eating dinner. Working. Talking with family. Talking with friends. THEY ARE THERE ALL THE TIME. It's a damn good they're supposed to be there. But getting them to shut up sucks.
9. Wondering if sometimes your life would be easier without writing. Even though I'll never know the answer, sometimes writing just takes SO much out of me that I wonder what my life would be like if I was content to go to work, come home and do things that other people do like cook dinner, watch TV, have other hobbies that don't take up 110% of my time. My life certainly would be easier but it wouldn't be as fulfilling.
10. The fear of never getting everything down I should and not being able to share them with people. So many ideas, so many things I want to say. So many characters that want their story told. My greatest fear and the worst thing about being a writer is never knowing if I'll have the time or ability to get them all down. And even more to that--I fear that I'll never get to share these stories with people who would understand, people who need to read what I've written.