On the craziness of being a writer

It suddenly hit me the other day just how crazy it is to be a writer.

It was late evening, and I’d been to my local cafe to get a couple of hours of intensive editing time in. I meant to work my way through a scene, but instead a couple of new ideas popped into my head, for additional scenes to incorporate into the story I was working on. I got excited about these new ideas, and instead of editing my current scene, I started sketching these ones out.

The reason why I was so excited about them was that they seemed like the perfect way to fix a problem I’d had with the story: I have a character arc that’s crucial to the plot, but I didn’t have a clear idea of the events I could tie that character arc to. And, for some reason, ideas for those events popped into my head that evening in the cafe.

On the way home, I thought: this is crazy.

I am excited, because I made up some stuff to fix a problem with something else that I also made up. The whole thing is entirely made up. It doesn’t exist. It’s all just in my head. (Sure, one day I hope it will become a published book that exists in the real world, but still.)

Writer's Cafe NZ

If you think about it, it is pretty crazy that we writers spend so much time just making stuff up, and that we feel so strongly about the things that we make up – we get attached to our characters, we spend hours weaving our plots, we feel like punching the air when we come up with precisely the right word for the right situation.

But at the same time, aren’t we all grateful for the existence of fiction, and therefore by extension the craziness of writers?

(PS. We’ll be chatting about exactly these sorts of writerly experiences at our Writers Cafe social sessions – if you’re an Auckland writer, we hope to see you there!)


EllieCourse Co-ordinator