There are all sorts of reasons for being a writer. (Money isn’t one of them, in case you were wondering. Unless, of course, you are a masochist. Then again, many writers are. We’d have to be, to put up with this biz. But I digress.)
Many of us write because we can’t help it. All sorts of demented characters have taken over our loopy minds. If we don’t let them out to live their own lives on paper, all sorts of bad things will happen. For instance, they may induce us writers to perform their fantasies in reality, on behalf of their little selves. This might be fun if you are writing erotica. Not so great, if you’re a crime writer, like me.
That aside, there are many reasons that being a writer can be great fun. You get to kill people on paper. (Okay, I’m just now realizing how twisted that sounds.)
Moving on, being a writer gives you all sorts of excuses for bizarre and socially-inept behavior. In social situations, friends can look over at you, shake their heads, and say confidentially to others, “It’s okay, really. She’s a writer.” Sort of how being an Australian explains things.
Here are some things that can really work to your advantage (reword: you can work to your advantage.)
The Research: writing a book gives one all sorts of excuses to do research. This can be as innocent as merely looking up things on the internet (exactly what is the distinction between hot romance and porn? Checking Yutube…hey, every writer knows Show Not Tell is best.)
The Bar: all writers meet in bars, right? Certainly all agents and editors do. Especially those from out of town who don’t have offices in the vicinity. “I have to meet my editor at The Drake,” you call out to all concerned. And then you gather up your laptop, notebooks and cell phone. The hard part is, you must remember to bring all those things back from the bar after your ‘meeting’.
The Deadline: your major excuse for getting out of any dull social obligations, including ant-infested picnics and relative-infested gatherings. “I’m on deadline!” you cry frantically, even if your deadline is nine months from now. (Nine months…nice metaphor. Probably, I came up with it while in The Zone. See below.)
In case you are still not convinced that being a writer is the best excuse ever, let me introduce you to The Zone. This is the place your writer-mind travels to when it really doesn’t want to be where your body is. You can zone out at any time, in any social situation.
Enjoy this. Milk this. Smile and look distracted . Your boss, inlaws or editor will nod knowingly, as if they are a party to a big secret. They will look upon you sympathetically and say to each other, “Oh. He’s planning his next book.”
Which can be really useful if what you are really planning is how to do away with your boss, inlaws, or editor.