I recently saw one of those fun posts on Facebook, you know, the type with a funny picture and a quote, or something like that. This one was Why I Love Being an Author. It made me think about why I want to be an author. Well, let me restate that, I want to be an author making enough to support my style of living which does not imply that I would need to be the next Stephen King.
These are my ten reasons why I want to be an author. If you disagree, you can create your own list.
(1) I get paid for exercising a creative outlet.
Let’s face it, I’m bored with my Corporate America job. I’ve been doing it for 25 plus years now, and it hasn’t fulfilled a single dream, other than it has provided me the funds to fulfill some short-term dreams. I started writing because I needed a creative outlet. Now I’d like to make what was once just a creative outlet my full-time job.
(2) I can work from home, in my jammies, with bed-head if I want. Or anywhere.
I live less than twenty miles from work, and most days my commute is an hour each way, and that does not include the time to get ready for work.
And when I get to work, I sit in a cubicle. I started out my career in Corporate America in an office, but Corporate America has deluded itself into believing that cubicle farms are the way to engender productivity. Or at least that’s the take away from the rah-rah “what’s good for the company” speeches, from the “this is a good problem to have” lectures. I haven’t found this to be true. Most days I feel like I work in one of those chicken coops, you know, the corporate farms’ coops with tiny cages stacked ten deep in which the chickens at the bottom are literally smothering in the poop from above.
Plus, I can live anywhere and still be an author. I could move out of the city or move into the inner city. I could have a small house in the woods or on the beach. The options are limitless when you aren’t tied to an office.
(3) I can work in the middle of the night. Or take a nap, whenever.
I am not a day person. Ask my co-workers how lovely it is to work with me in the morning, especially after only a few hours of sleep, which happens more often than most understand.
Like Ms. BlackBeary, my cat, I could take a nap any time of the day, maybe two.
(4) No need for a psychotherapists. (Most days.)
Writing is a great release, a great way to address issues without having to confront people.
I’ve had a lot of unnecessary trauma in my life. Most writers have had f’ed up lives. I think that’s what makes their writing compelling. Because of my particular dosage of f’ed-up-ness, I try to dodge confrontation if at all possible, which makes it seem, if you don’t look too closely, that I’m an easy target. Not true. At least, not for long. I have a limit, and if you cross the line I’ve drawn in the sand, then I got nothing for you. But some people can’t let it go–whatever it is–and have tried to back me in a corner or use me. If I ask you to leave me alone, I mean it. If you cross that line, not only will I fight back in real life, I’m sure a character a lot like you will end up tortured, maimed, or even killed in one of my stories.
(5) I can kill people. And get paid for it.
No, I’m not a hit man. But I am known for having my characters die in strange and sometimes frightening ways. I’m pretty sure that I scared some of the people in my writing classes.
For me this is a type of internal release valve. It keeps me from acting on my fantasies of revenge. It keeps me from harming those who have caused me serious injuries. Just like with (4) I can use my imagination mingled with my memories to heal my wounds, sometimes by inflicting imaginary wounds on others.
Have I scared you yet?
(6) I get paid to lie.
I get to make up stories for a living. When I was a kid, way down in South Georgia, accusing someone of telling a story was a nice way of calling them a liar. But now, that’s what I do. I tell stories. Although now, some of my stories are closer to the truth than I’d like. As Stephen King said, “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”
(7) I get to create my own worlds.
–direct corollary to (6)
Don’t like Seattle, Atlanta, or New York? Doesn’t fit the story? Well then, I can invent my own world/place/city. If it needs to be so different that it won’t even fit on this planet, then I can write science fiction or fantasy. I get to use my creativity to make a world for my use only.
(8) Likewise, I get to create people.
–another direct corollary to (6)
I named this blog Literary.Schizophrenia because I invent people, people who become real in my head after a time. When I first start on a story, I come up with the idea of a character and then I put them in bizarre situations. At that point, I just follow them around to see what they’re going to do. Some are interesting, some not. The interesting ones get to hang around.
(9) Reading novels is considered research.
Good advice from one of my favorite authors: “Read everything–trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out.” –William Faulkner
(10) Authors are glamorous.
Well, sort of. Authors are interesting and smart and …
Authors can move around easily, much more easily than someone in a soul-sucking, cubicle-squatting, 9-5 job. And so, authors often tend to end up as the protagonist in novels or movies. Which makes it seem somewhat glamorous to be an author.
Just think of all the movies that feature an author as main character: Wonder Boys, Barton Fink, Misery, The Dark Half, Secret Window, Midnight in Paris, Deconstructing Harry, Finding Forrester, Capote, The Hours, Naked Lunch, Evidence of Blood and a bunch of others. Don’t believe me? Check out Films about Writers at Wikipedia
And apparently authors have all the skills required to be detectives. Jessica Fletcher made Cabot Cove, Maine the murder capital of the world. I still think she was committing all the murders and was smart enough to blame it on someone else.
To say the least, authors are one special group.
And I want to be a member of that group.