My kids are waiting for the snow to fall. It’s almost Christmas and all of the movies and television shows they have been watching have snow in them. At ages four and six, they think that without snow, Santa won’t be coming. This year, they will learn a valuable lesson—what they see on television and the big screen isn’t always reality (at least that’s what the weather forecast is showing for Seattle—a green Christmas).
The same holds true for the on-screen portrayal versus the reality of being a writer. Think about some of the movies and television shows about writers. Here are some that come to my mind:
· Castle (tv)
· Studio 60 (tv)
· Misery (movie)
· Funny Farm (movie)
· Secret Window (movie)
· Her Alibi (movie)
· Romancing the Stone (movie)
In each of these shows, we don’t see the writers sitting at the booksigning table, feeling horribly awkward while people avoid making eye contact as they pass the table. We don’t see the writers chewing on their knuckles as they wait to see how a newly released book is accepted by the reading world. Nor do we see them dealing with rejection and negative reviews. We don’t see them trying to decipher the complex math in royalty statements or going back and forth with their editor about cutting or adding a scene. We don’t see the reality of being a writer.
What we also don’t see is how amazing and determined writers often are, slogging through hell and back to make sure a book reaches the reading public. How supportive the writing community is when the critics hate the story and the rotten tomatoes are flying. How other writers are there to console when the sky seems to be falling. How sometimes just a single fan email or letter can inspire leaps of joy and make the world seem like a great place in which to live once again.
I was recently asked what I thought were the best and worst parts of being a writer. I answered: “Let’s start with the bad stuff. The worst part is the constant struggle to find time to write, not to mention do all of the promotion and marketing needed to find new readers. It’s not a marathon—it’s more like a triathlon. Some days, I just want to hide under the covers. As for the best part, it’s the peers, the friends, and the fans. I love meeting new people (even if it’s just online) and building new relationships.”
What is the best and worst part of being a writer in your opinion?
Until next time, let it snow and happy holidays!