Friday, September 11, 2015

Authors are People, too

I've been totally stalled in the fiction writing department lately. Probably from the stresses of my infant being nearly ready to walk and having an entire house to pack up before we move across the country in less than two months. Sleeping has been an exercise in frustration, so I'm feeling far from refreshed or overflowing with literary potential.

However, I'd been doing a good job of writing a little every day and I want to keep up with that habit. So here comes some blogging, y'all!

While trying to figure out what I could pop into a post that would be interesting, informative, and not too terribly wordy, I realized why I was having so many issues maintaining this blog in the first place. When you're an author, there's this immense pressure that all things in your life must revolve around the written word. You must sit around daydreaming, sipping expensive lattes, and spend your entire day clickety-clacking away on the keys as you pen your next masterpiece (or scrawling in elegant script in your Moleskine Journal, if you like keepin' it oldschool).

But the reality is this: authors are people, too. We have lives outside of our Word documents. We have children, pets, spouses, hobbies, and other interests that have nothing (or at least very little) to do with writing. What are my other life-consuming tasks? Well, my children are at the top of the list. Then I have a house to upkeep. And a dog, cat, and some fish to care for. We also have a vegetable garden that needs occasional tending. My next largest clock-eating activity would be crafting. Sewing, knitting, crocheting... Doesn't matter which. I love them all. I'm the kind of person that likes to make something with my hands, and be able to view my progress.

With all this digital technology, I don't get the same kind of satisfaction from a finished or lengthy document that I used to. With a typewriter, you could see each page add to the pile, growing as the story went on. Now, you can scroll from top to bottom with a keystroke, even if your story is 400 plus pages. I'm no George R.R. Martin, so I'm not going to revert to using an ancient piece of machinery to finish my works or anything. However, I found a bit of a middle ground that helps me sometimes when I hit a slump. Rather than getting out a notebook and pen, I have a tablet computer and a stylus for it. Combined with handwriting recognition software, this means that I can physically write the words and have them popped right into text without the added time-suck of having to type up what I've literally penned. I suppose that makes all this new fangled tech both a bane and a boon.

What's the takeaway from all this? Next time you're chomping at the bit because you just devoured a brand new novel in a day, which took an author a year to perfect for you, remember that--while they DO love and appreciate your fervor--sometimes they've got other things that need to get taken care of before they can shove you into that pool of the glittering fantasy world you've fallen so madly in love with.