Let me Streeeeeeeetch Your Imagination a Little:

As a writer, I like to stretch my imagination. For me, this sometimes means looking at life from both sides of the coin. I like to analyze people’s behavior, determine what motivates them. I like to step inside their shoes, try them on for size, and be that person for a brief moment in time. I like to forget my opinions on subjects and think about how someone else might view the exact scenario. We all see life though a different set of eyes. Writers often speak about wiggling inside the skin of their characters, becoming them, breathing and laughing, feeling their emotions, understanding what their reactions to life’s circumstances are. One of the most important qualities a writer can posses is the ability to become that other person, to view them as people( take them or leave them) without passing judgment. Our characters can not always be the people we’d like them to be. Not if we want to write stories that keep our readers turning the page. Characters who are too good, too perfect are good for little more than putting the reader to sleep. We all have faults, some of them big, some little, but they are there nonetheless. And these faults that we seem to despise in other people, we love to read about. It’s interesting, what can I say?

Remember when you were a child and played make-believe?  Perhaps you took on a specific role to play. Were you a character who was looked up to? A villain perhaps? Did you act out scenes? Did you become angry and upset over some of the perils your character faced? Did you feel those emotions for yourself? Were they real?

I can vividly recall those feelings of anger, frustration, hurt, happiness as the character I was portraying in my games went through a series of life altering events. Who knew imagination could be so strong or evoke such emotions?  But our characters can not always chime out our own preferences or opinions, they can not view the world the same way that we do, or else we’re simply creating characters that mimic ourselves. Little mini-mes, if you will. I tend to think that would get a bit boring after awhile. I’ve got news for you all; I’m just not that interesting, seriously. So quite often I like to take a reverse role and try to imagine life through the eyes of someone totally opposite from myself.

This was partly the reason why I asked the questions I did in last week’s post, Cast Out the Writing Sob. I was hoping to have you reverse roles and view this subject from someone else’s point of view. Just because I don’t believe myself to be a writing snob, I was curious as to whether or not someone else might see me as one. Is it possible, I wondered? I have a awful lot of non-writing friends who maybe don’t understand why I have a blog or why self-promotion is pretty much a given once you’re a published writer. Maybe they see all these things as simply bragging on my part. Hey, you never know! Then again, I was also thinking (I  tend to do a lot of that sometimes) that perhaps the non-writing community can relate to what we writers go through just a bit more than we writers give them credit for. I received some great replies. Thanks! You’re all awesome and so very articulate. I love throwing out tough questions to you all, challenging you and asking you to stretch your imaginations.

So, I hope you don’t mind if I ask you to stretch your imaginations a bit by asking some tricky questions from time to time. I really like what you all have to say.  While I won’t admit to being nosey, I’m always curious as to what your thoughts are, not just my own.

Do you enjoy a good challenge and the chance to streeeeeetch your imagination? Or do you just enjoy life the way it is?

Cast Out the Writing Snob!

As writers, are we too quick to make the assumption that people who are non-writers simply don’t “get us”; that somehow they have absolutely no concept of what a writer’s life is about? We blog about it, maybe even whine about it, acting like the elite group we believe we’re a part of—-the poor misunderstood writer. I’m sometimes moved to wonder, does this line of thinking make us writing snobs?

Have you, dear writer, ever pondered the question: Do non-writers see this as snobbish behaviour on our part? Do non-writers look at us and wonder if we think we’re somehow better?–And do we? Be honest. Are we secretly a bit smug over the fact that were are writers/authors?

As writers, nothing pleases us more than to have another writer to talk to about our craft. That’s only natural. I’ve experienced this myself with my “gab sessions” with a few local author friends. When we get together, we always know the purpose for our meetings. We talk about our current Work in Progress (WIP), we discuss the various publishers we’ve submitted to, and what’s happening in the publishing industry, and then we whine. Yes, we sometimes commiserate, lament, grumble, and then vow to keep on going. And while all this is happening, it’s as if the rest of the world does not exist because no one understands what we writers go through except another writer. Right?

But perhaps we writers are simply kidding ourselves. Perhaps this thinking is only true on one level—the writing level, that is. Perhaps we don’t give non-writers enough credit. Perhaps they do understand part of our plight as writers, perhaps more than even they realise.

So let’s look at a few of the myths we writers tell ourselves about non-writers.

*Non-writers do not understand rejection:

Come on—-Who are we trying to kid? If you live in the world, interact with people on a regular basis and have never experience rejection than YOU’RE quite possibly in an elite group yourself. To be human is to experience rejection at one time or another, and in one form or another. It started out on the playground when we were in elementary. Maybe someone didn’t like us or didn’t want to play with us.  BUT…but.. a writing rejection is different, we writers might argue. Someone didn’t like the story I put my heart and soul into. It’s so, so personal. Well, what’s more personal than, Get away from me I don’t like you and I don’t want to play with you?  How’s that for personal? And just think, it’s said to a kid who doesn’t understand the meaning of the word rejection, let alone can figure out the reason for the rejection. Rejection is all around us, in one form or another. It is not specific only to writers. We writers need to face up to it.

*Non-writers do not understand the long wait times we writers must endure:

Really? Do we really believe that non-writers have never had to wait an excruciating long time for anything? Wow! Aren’t they special? Life is also about waiting. We wait for appointments, wait in line, we wait for a lucky break, we wait in traffic, we wait for months to hear the results of some test, we wait for our ship to come in, we wait, and wait and then wait some more…I could go on. Everyone must wait unless you have a magical lamp or a genie to grant you your every command. If you do happen to have one of those, please send me a private message, would ya? I’d be interested in hearing all about it.

*But…. we writers have a special talent:

Hello, I see many talented people around me every day. Perhaps they don’t exhibit their talent through words, but the written word is not the only way to exhibit our talents. I have friends who are musicians, crafters, artists, scrap-bookers, card-makers, gardeners, cooks, who have just as much talent, or even more, than I. My talent is no more *special* than the next person’s; my talent just happens to be writing. Being a writer is not the epitome of talent in this world. It’s just one form.

*Non-writers do not have to constantly provide the self-motivation/self discipline to get things done.

Well, that’s just silly. We all need to be our own cheering section from time to time. If we didn’t exhibit some kind of self-motivation we’d spend our days doing absolutely nothing. We’d be zombies, mindless creatures going through the motions. Maybe we’d sit and stare out the window all day. Sure it takes motivation and discipline to be a writer, but that is true for any job we undertake, especially when it is something we have to do all on our own with help from no one. Nobody can do the studying for that English exam that’s coming up but you, and I don’t know anyone who’s going to arrive at my house with a mop and broom just to help me with my housework. What will make you finish that new scarf you’re working on, or get that Christmas baking done, if you possess no motivation or self-discipline. And if you want to change jobs because you’re under-appreciated and over-worked? You got it! Motivation and discipline, is what keeps us sending out resumes in search of that perfect job.

*Non-writers do not really care about what we are writing:

I have several people in my life, non-writers that they are, who ask me what I’m working on. Sometimes, if they see something they think I might be interested in they bring it to my attention, because you just never know what might end up as fiction one day. When a writer is coming to the area to speak or sign books, some of my friends will mention it. While a non-writer might not be interested in the research I’m doing, or even how many times I’ve revised a story, they are usually anxious to hear what’s new on the publishing horizon for me. “Are you writing another book?” I get asked that one a lot. Non-writers do care. Why wouldn’t they? We are all human, all with the ability to empathize with one another, to hope for one another, and to share in our joys and triumphant.

As a writer, I’m attempting to stop thinking in terms that separates the non-writers from the writers in my life. Instead, I am willing to think in terms of what connects us together as people, what parts of our lives that we universally share. We have far more similarities than we do differences. I’m attempting to stop thinking like a writing snob and start thinking like an ordinary person who just happens to write. This does not mean that I will stop enjoying my “gab-sessions” with my writer friends, or the wonderful connections I’ve made with writers in the blogging community. It will simply make me more mindful of all the areas that my non-writing friends can relate.

Do you agree that we writers can sometimes exhibit a bit of an attitude when it comes to the non-writing population because we believe ourselves to be misunderstood by them? If you consider yourself a non-writer have you ever felt a bit inferior while in the company of a writer? 

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Follow Laura Best on WordPress.com
  • Publication date April 30, 2020. Available for pre-order NOW.

  • Laura Best

  • Blog Stats

    • 85,976 hits