The few, the proud, the ones who don’t send us to the loony bin.

Writers are an odd bunch, and I’m happy to consider myself part of this group. We create imaginary friends, then put them into a tangled web of conflict to watch them break free. We devise the best ways to kill someone, woo someone, attain that Holy Grail and just plain survive this puzzle known as the human condition.

While writers know each other’s strange behavior patterns, the general public tends to not always understand how much bliss we feel when the muse is smiling. I’ve been known to write in cafes, headphones in and music going, an endless supply of Diet Coke a few feet away. When a scene begins to unfold, my fingers will dash across the keyboard as I giggle and smile. This generates a few glances from people sitting nearby.

On occasion, depending on the scene, I also bounce. (Only a little bit; it’s not like I become Tigger reincarnated.) This generates bizarre glances. And then there are times, like 2 weeks ago, where I’m listening to a phenomenal song and writing an emotional/gut-wrenching scene, and I start crying as I’m typing. This generates concerned glances.

Leading into today’s post…those behind the scenes, the immediate friends/family of the writer who know and accept our strangeness, and don’t become afraid when we do things such as:

* Asking off-the-wall questions at random times. Grocery shopping, driving somewhere, waiting in line. “Do you think a fireplace poker would kill someone, or just disfigure them?”

* Leaving the house, saying, “I’ll be back later, I’m going over to Annie Oakley’s house so she can point her guns at me.” Read archive topic on book research and Annie Oakley here.

* Listen to a song over and over again because it’s the one song which opens the vein of creativity for the muse. FYI, family members are great w/my music habit, though I usually wear headphones. On one occasion, I had the speakers on and was playing a song over and over because it was soooo intensely powerful at placing me right in the scene that I was writing.

It took family until the 30th time to become a bit irked, which isn’t bad in the scheme of things.
Conversation went like this:
1st time song plays: “That’s a pretty song.”
5th time song plays: “Nice. Who’s it by?”
20th time song plays: “Uh huh.”
30th time: “Are you still listening to that depressing chick music?”

So, if you’re a writer, thank those around you who don’t commit you to the loony bin. If you know a writer, accept their strange quirks and know that they may talk about random things at random times, but they really do have a point. There’s a method to the madness, as they say.

  • Great Post! I love the part about the music and playing the song 50 times in a row. I’ve been known to do that . . . constantly. I’ve also gotten strange looks as I’m driving down the road and appear to be having a conversation with myself. I’m not, truly I’m not, it’s just that there’s this scene in my head – dramatic, over the top – and the conversation the characters will have just needs to burst forth. I really try not to have too many of these noticeable conversations but, hey, I’m a writer, and things like this happen.

    Thanks again for the post.

    S

  • Thanks for commenting, Scott! Glad it’s not just me playing a song over and over again.

    Yep, I get strange looks while driving and talking to myself too. In fact I have a bumper sticker on my car that says “Writers drive and plot. And you thought cell phones were dangerous!”

    Having a mini recorder in the car can help a great deal too. I keep it on in the passenger seat, and then talk/plot/have conversations which can spur the writing later.

    Best to you and your writing! Thanks again,

    Elaine

  • You made me laugh out loud at the asking random questions bit. Mine never stop. I’ll be sitting on the couch writing a new piece, and I turn to my husband and say “Hey–do you think it’s possible for 2 girls to be thrown from a convertible and still live?” He used to stare at my as if I had 2 disfigured heads hanging from my ears, but now … now he just pulls out his trusty google search engine and tries to help.

  • Thanks Jess! Glad I could offer a chuckle or two. It really does seem strange to people at first, but eventually the people in writer’s lives just know it’s for a book and they try to help.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting…

    Elaine