Writers are, by nature, solitary creatures who find introspection a requirement and a painful reminder of all of our faults and shortcomings. This is a stereotype, but admittedly there is a reason that this rings true. Regularly, you can find me planted in my home, ink on my fingers and my hair frazzled as I stare at the computer screen and fight against the potential futility of being inspired under deadline.
Just like other careers and lifestyles, while the blanket of the stereotype fits, if you lift a corner you quickly realize that the stigma is only a thin cover of what lies underneath. In writing, we would call this difference between appearance and reality a person’s identity versus a person’s essence. Often, we put a front out to the world and only let them see what we wish for them to see.
I talk about myself here because… well, it’s what I know, but when I put on my “author’s hat” and head out to public events, book signings, conferences and/or conventions I force my body to contort to high heels and I iron my clothes. I attempt to provide my readers with an image that fits who they have in their minds as to the writer that they have imagined me to be. I have a fear that I will let my readers down if the “real me”, the one who wears cowboy boots almost every day, comes to the party. I have been writing professionally for years now, and as I write more and more I find that this “author” me isn’t who I want my readers to know. So, in an attempt to lift the blanket’s corner, I write this article.
When I teach new authors they tend to assume that I spend twelve hours every day behind the computer, sweating as I put finger to key. The truth is that, while I try to write every single day, I often fail. My kids get sick. I get sick. The kids have days off from school (right now my daughter is sitting with me in a coffee shop getting a very visceral experience of Mommy’s job). Sometimes, I don’t have a clue where I want my novel to go and I fear writing garbage. I scare myself into not starting. That’s right, even after millions of words written and more than nineteen books, I still feel insecure. I forget things that months before were an important part of a novel. I make terrible mistakes both in life and in writing. And often, I weigh myself down with unrealistic expectations.
When I talk to my die-hard fans and they tell me about who they are and their lives, I have come to realize that their quirks and insecurities, their true essences, are the reasons that I love them. I feel so blessed to have readers who want to be my friend. It’s a huge compliment that they share their lives and time with me and my books.
This part of writing, the bit where I get to pull back the blanket of stereotypes and stigma is why I love this job. I love seeing the truth. I love to see why people act the way they do. In general, I think people are incredible. Perhaps this desire to always see the best (and ignoring the worst) of others is what has driven me to be a romance author.
While the days are sometimes twelve hours behind the computer (but usually more like six) what I dream is, is to create experiences and essences that leave my readers with a constant feeling of hope and love. In both fiction and in life, things may not go as planned or may not be what is assumed, but just because it isn’t what you had expected, what is real may be better.
What mold do you break down? What is your identity? What is your essence? Tweet me (@DanicaWinters) or talk to me on Facebook. I look forward to getting to know the real you!
SAVANNAH SACRIFICE can be purchased in trade paperback or eBook format