If I had a pound for every time someone asked me what being a writer entails, I’d be… skint. Not just because the British pound is worth naff all nowadays (moving on, non-politics zone here) but mainly because no-one asks.
I think it’s because some people assume that they know what a writer is and does. Like them, before I became a writer I thought I knew what it was all about: have ideas, write ideas, chop it up a bit, check spellings and grammar, publish…
Oh to be so gloriously naive.
Being a writer isn’t just about doing the writing malarkey. To fully get on board with this gig, you have to be a serious multi-tasker and juggler of multiple roles.
Admittedly the ‘team’ consists of just me but believe me, rounding me up in the morning when I’ve just got out of bed is harder than being the manager of 100 unruly employees.
I can be a hard task master sometimes, although my team leader is fond of coffee breaks so we rub along together quite nicely.
My team leader also fakes encouragement on procrastination days when we both know that I’m just skilled in making it look like something happened.
The biggest surprise for me when I began writing was how much other stuff you have to do beside writing. If you are going to self-publish, you have to market yourself. I’ve heard that even if you do go down the traditional route, you can also be expected to do a fair bit of this yourself for your debut novel.
I’m not going to write much about it here as I have firm views about how far I’m prepared to go with this. I turn into the Hulk when I get ranty and it ain’t pretty.
Self-promotion is a personal strategy. All I will say is, I engage as well as promote. That makes me a failure as hard-nosed marketing Exec., but possibly more savvy and genuine.
I’m working on developing the skills of a multiple bilingual boss of a translator. This is necessary if I’m ever going to make sense of my freely written first drafts.
What the actual hell is this strange language? I’m currently looking for a course in ‘How to translate the mysterious ramblings of Lisa Sell’. It must be out there somewhere…
I was a teacher once (read more about it here: Lessons Learned from Teaching). I loved planning lessons. I think this has transferred into coming up with ideas for blog posts and my fiction writing.
As an ex-English teacher I’m more hard on myself in terms of my grammar, punctuation and spelling than I ever was on my students. This works well for writing in some ways but it hurts when editing. I’m learning to step away from the red pen. It’s a shouty tool.
Mrs Sell can be mean, and she regularly confiscates my phone for looking at Facebook when I’m supposed to be writing.
My ideas are often like naughty sheep; they need serious shepherding. I have considered chanting ‘Bah Ram Ewe’ at them, like Babe did in the film. Do ideas relate to sheep based mantras? I can think of other statements I make that end in the phonetic ‘ewe/you‘, when I can’t sort the ideas out logically. However, from experience, I’ve found ideas aren’t amenable when you swear at them.
I need a trusty sheep dog to rustle up those woolly little ideas that run amok in the middle of the night, bleating in my ear. There’s no way I count sheep nowadays to combat insomnia. Those little suckers get enough night time thinking space as it is.
I need to find my pushy parent persona. I’m working on that scarily focused mother that instills Teflon-coated confidence in their protege.
My inner parent is far too nice and a little inappropriate at times. She tells me to have a go, threatens to cuff the bullies round the head if they’re mean to me, and instructs me to ‘woman up wet pants’ when I’m having a pity party.
I prefer unpushy parent. At least she’s not a narcissist and she doesn’t withhold chocolate for fear of me piling on the pounds.
I’m going to start billing myself soon for all the therapy I’ve dished out to my my stressy, doubting self. My client is so needy.
Thank goodness she’s now on meds as I’ve started pretending I’m not in recently just to escape the mood swings.
This is a role I love! From childhood, I’ve devoured books like a less furry book version of the Cookie Monster. Since I’ve started writing, even more so.
At home, we have recently acquired a new bookshelf because I am becoming the hoarder and keeper of all the books. I married a man who loves books too. I allow him to be Assistant Librarian when he’s on his best behaviour.
My negotiation skills are being honed. I’ve had words with myself when I’m on the edge and ready to jump to escape the novel. The drama created here is better than any action film.
I’ve negotiated with social media that it really must stop seducing me away from my writing. I often fail.
I’ve come to an agreement with coffee that it has to cast its magic spell upon me from morning onward so I can do the day.
So there you have it people, this writery business requires multiple personalities. This is no ‘one role fits all’ kind of gig. It’s exhausting. I’m off for a
nap writing session to ruminate upon it all.