Good Morning. Sorry I skipped out last week, but I've been super crazy nuts busy getting the old house painted. Still not done, I need more paint, but there's also wood to haul, a shed to clean, a bathroom to gut, and the downstairs I have yet to decide what to do with (graffiti would be an improvement).
All that being said, I wonder how big name authors spend their days -- writing in their air conditioned offices with a plethora of researchers, housekeepers, maids all catering to their every whim. Let's not forget they all have wonderful Scottish nannies to take care of the kids, and their spouses are marvels in the kitchen so they don't have to scrape together another round of mac and cheese and hot dogs.
I know most big name authors have schedules, and probably more than a few of them have maids and/or some kind of outside help, but I keep remembering Danielle Steele's appearance on Merv Griffin (remember him?) way back in the late 70's early 80's. She wore pearls and a long flowing chiffon something, could have been a gown for all I know, she kept playing with the scarf, flipping it between her fingers. She reminded me of Elizabeth Taylor. And then Merv did an expose on her house. California big, with a pool, and a view. Back then, she and Jackie Collins were big name authors. And I guess somehow, that's what stuck in my head. Glamorous, elegant, rich.
This image people have of writers is so not how it really is. Well, at least it's not for me. Like I have all this time to just write every day. Yeah, like that's possible when the kid is sick, the dogs pooped all over the carpet, the cat knocked down five of my african violets off the shelf, and my mother has been bitching the grass needs to be cut. Add the fact we're going back to school in less than a week, I'm dealing with financial bullshit from the ex, and it's raining -- AGAIN.
I know I'm whining. You know I'm whining. I think we're all entitled to it once and awhile.
The reason I bring this up at all is -- I had an outside interview last week. Our new house is in a golf community and they have a monthly newsletter. The woman who writes the letter is a friend of my mother's. Well, when she found out we lived here now, she called me and wanted to know what I was doing. When she met me five years ago, I was a caterer. When I told her I was now a writer she said, "How unusual."
What does that mean exactly?
Are we, as writers, unusual? Are the five million of us currently writing books weird, or kooky, or out of the ordinary? Sure we're introverts, sure we have our little rituals before we tackle those revisions, sure we don't speak to people between the hours of 8-1. Sure we eavesdrop on stranger's conversations, have a penchant for back booths and corner tables in coffee houses, and we might even push the bounds of research occasionally and have the Secret Service show up at our door. But does that really make us unusual?
I explained to Judith I wrote in a niche market, Regency romance, and that I had two novels and several short stories out, and I had also just published my first contemporary romance. She oohed and ahhed in all the right places, and then she asked, "So are you going back to catering anytime soon?"
Why do people automatically assume you won't be able to hack it as a writer? Why do people automatically assume you need to have a "job" because you also write? Back in the day, I was a waitress who wrote. Or a housekeeper who wrote. Or a chef who wrote. Now, I'm a writer. That's it. Just a writer.
The Image of a Writer's Life isn't glamorous. Well, at least not this writer. But I'll take a two hour nap after weed wacking, just so I don't ever have to go back to the "real world" again. I'll put up with disappointing reviews, and writer envy, and not meeting my word count, just so I can stay home. Perhaps agoraphobia is the culprit. Perhaps it's just my way of being the black sheep. Just a little unusual. It doesn't matter. I am who I am, and I'm a writer.
I wonder if Nora Roberts cuts her own grass?
Tell me -- what kind of reaction do you get when you tell people you're a writer?