Potters, painters and photographers all have tangibles to work with. Writers work in a sphere of the unseen. What an ethereal realm we are engaged in…weaving the fabric of our stories from little more than imagination and inspiration. Sometimes I feel like one of the weavers from ‘the emperor’s new clothes’, spinning my story from invisible thread and inviting my readers to believe in the fantasy I’ve created. Or, perish the thought, am I the foolish king, unfit for this position?
What elements compose the substance of this elusive calling? Just what are the raw materials of our craft? Although it was difficult to pin down, here’s the start of my list:
- A writer is abnormally consumed by the desire of putting ideas into words. Subcategories can include the love of actually writing with pen on paper (even if you use a laptop most of the time), scribbling notes about the most inkling-est of ideas in the most unlikely of places (think showers); and a penchant for writing implements, which can often lead to pen fetishes and petty thievery.
- A writer should have an overactive right brain that gets really cranky if it kept too long in the box of left brain constraints of making a living. (click on whirling dancer and see which side of your brain is engaged).
- A writer should be overly mental — not able to shut the internal dialogue off. Writing creates an outlet to focus all that cerebral energy and direct it into something hopefully positive, entertaining and inspiring.
- A writer must have an overactive imagination which stops just short of getting hopelessly lost and going stark raving mad. A healthy dose of reality checks with the outside world is necessary to stay sane.
- A writer’s greatest resource is simply Life. Living it, surviving it, questioning and observing it.
- A writer is not fit for most normal jobs because of they have never answered the question, ‘what will I be when I grow up?’
- A writer will have something to add to this list.