Or should that be Perspective?
No matter. What I’m trying to do is find out – as in: translate – what it means when a person says they are a full-time writer. What does it mean?
One person says 9 to 5; another says she’s writing all the time, but not always sitting down with pen or keypad; another says 3 hours a day.
So I went out and looked and asked and got some numbers and some mud-maps. And this is what I found:
Full Time Writers Write from a few words, a few minutes, to thousands of words and the majority of the 24 hour period – depending on … stuff.
So, to be a full-time writer, what do you need ?
1. A desk is a good start. But that’s more for the end of the brain-engagement process.
2. Silence or music or normal sounds or … whatever it is that lets your mind wander while you try to steer it in one direction or another.
3. Pen, paper – anything that makes marks that you can later interpret as the result of one of the thought-paths.
4. An inquisitive mind, a wandering mind – but you need the strength to be able to call it back onto the main path, or give it permission to go wild, or … writer prerogative there.
5. Understanding people – the ones who live with you need to be the most understanding of all – who realize that when you walk around arguing, you’re not talking to yourself and that there’s probably a whole army of people there they just can’t see – because when you write and create and imagine, the imaginary are real and the real miss out (in their minds, anyway).
And then we get to the good stuff, the writerly stuff:
- A good idea. One that can be turned into a great concept. A compelling premise. A mind-explosion of pictures created from the rush of it.
- Someone to talk it over with, to find out if it is as compelling as you thought. If it’s not, or if it’s been done before, how can it be turned on its head, rearranged, rethought, to become something bigger and better than what’s gone before?
- A structure (or confining space) to place them while you count the ways, or consider the consequences, or find the stakes, etc.
- Time. A lot of time. It takes time to find the best. If you rush, you end up with the first pass, or someone else’s concept, or … not the best. So, take the time necessary to make it the best possible story.
- An outline of what’s going to happen, who causes it and how, consequences and … yes, this is when it gets all stitched together. There may be some minor adjustments, some shape-altering at a later stage, but you put it together. Sometimes, this stage is a few sentences for each scene, sometimes less, sometimes more. Each writer seems to have their own process. This is process time.
- Write. If the time is now, and the story is ready to become real, spend the hours it takes to put it into a real space.
The (6) point is the one most people mentioned, not any of the others. A writer thinks of writing. The other stuff is peripheral. Not writing. And the only time allocated to the other stuff is time they call ‘not writing’ even when it is associated with writing.
So, to find the answer: A full-time writer thinks about the story 24 hours. They eat it, sleep it, dream it, act it out, etc. Whether they spend a few minutes or up to 18 hours a day doing the actual writing, their mind is constantly in the writer-looking-for-story mode. Always.
And when it stops doing that, they call it ‘Blank page syndrome’ or ‘block’ – but it’s not; the mind decides (occasionally) that it’s had enough for the moment and it wants a rest and if you don’t give it a rest, well, the consequences …
And there you have it, clearly defined for all to see and try to comprehend, is the definition of a full-time writer.
Now, I’ve just had this really good idea …
copyright Rose Brimson 2017.