Being a fulltime novelist is great. I can sleep 'till noon, wear my pajamas all day, grow out my beard and my hair so they grow into the same big thing, write a few words and call it a day. Right?
Well, despite this being a major stereotype (which has some truth in it), the reality is this. Right now. It's Saturday afternoon. It's beautiful outside. I should be riding my bike. Or working in the yard (not sure what I'd be doing--I cut the grass yesterday--but that's an aside). Or watching baseball on television. Or relaxing.
But when you're a writer, you write. I'm finishing rewrites, so that's why I'm glued to the computer. But I'm always writing.
On holidays, I'm writing.
Late nights, late late nights, I'm writing.
On business trips, I'm writing.
I'm always writing. I'm usually always thinking about the project I'm working on, trying to stay in the "zone" for the book. But I'm also thinking of other story ideas. Yes, I try to live life and enjoy it, but even while I'm doing so, I'm thinking of possible story ideas. I take notes. I sketch out storylines. I write quotes. I jot down interesting thoughts. And I'm always, always writing on something.
I don't reach 4:30 p.m. and go downstairs and drive home. Because--well, I AM at home. But too, I don't shut off the lights and turn it off. I know there's this magical, mystical thing in life called balance, and maybe one day I'll have it. I really try. I don't want to zone out thinking DEEEEEEP THOUGHTS while I'm having dinner with Sharon and Kylie. I try to turn off the "writing", but it's hard.
When you're a writer you have homework for the rest of your life. That's a great quote and it's true. And when you're as driven as I am (note I didn't say talented!!), the homework is stacked up. It's not just about pages done. It's not just about the quantity. It's about the quality. It's about the intent. It's about the journey.
I've been a writer since third grade. I can't not write. And maybe for some writers, it really is about the image I wrote about above. But for me, it's about so many things. And whether it's first thing in the morning or midafternoon on a beautiful day or late night when the house is still, I'm working.