Friday, March 27, 2009

Am I the only writer still toting around a spiral notebook and my favorite fine point pen?

Okay, let's face it: there is a very stereotypical view of what a writer looks like floating around out there in Hollywood. On one hand it is nice to see the writing world authenticated as a real profession, but why does it have to be romanticized and appear so glamorous everywhere I look. On Sex In The City, Carrie eats Chinese with chopsticks while rattling off her thoughts cross legged before her keyboard, completely unhampered by a sexy phone call or the honking taxi's outside her window. Hell, she might even stop mid-article to put on a super-glam outfit and meet the girls for brunch. I mean, wow, that looks great! It makes me want to be a writer! And then in Something's Gotta Give, Diane Keaton dresses angelically in pure white and writes her plays in a crisp, clean room in the Hamptons, taking long walks on the beach and heated rolls in the hay. Now that looks great too...I want to be a writer like that.

But in truth, I have yet to meet a writer that lives or works quite like that. The ones I have met are holed up in dark rooms wearing yesterday's faded sweatpants and a fun-bun hair-do surrounded by stale pretzels and several half empty coffee mugs. And have I mentioned that they write amid the piles of clutter that never fails to gather as their work begins to pick up steam. Sleep? Never. Long walks? A thing of the past. The only thing that exists is the work.

I, for one, write when I can - in the parking lot at school, on a bench at the playground, on the beach (my most productive!) - I steal every spare moment. It seems that my characters stubbornly move along at their own pace and rarely wait for a convenient moment for me...the mere documentarian of their lives.

So I watch these writers on TV and in the movies and wonder why everyone hasn't tried to become a writer. Or have they? Is that why it is almost impossible to get published?


  1. I say blame the romance of writing on the likes of Ernest Hemingway. What a fabulous testament to laying a claim on the ultimate glorification of wannabe Hollywood novelists today! The difference then was that he lived to write and not write to live!

  2. Maybe that's why I haven't written my book yet. I am waiting for my beach house, ocean breeze and golden retriever. The fact that you wrote your first book--any book-amid soccer games, packing lunches, playdates and pregnancies is an inspiration!

  3. Hi Johanna,

    Your piece here summarises my thoughts exactly! It's nice to find a kindred spirit. In addition to the random scribblings in parks and beaches as you've mentioned, I've had the opportunities to travel extensively and my trusty notebook and pen have served me well over the years. I've looked up at the night sky from the Sahara desert in Morocco, nearly frozen in a tiny tent on the Inca Trail in Peru, sailed down the Nile on a felucca ... all with my journal and pen (and torch!) handy for those flashes of inspiration.

    Best of luck with your quest for publication of your first novel. I'm interested to hearing more about it!

    All the best,


    PS. This is my first ever post on anyone's blog so please forgive me if I'm not adhering to the normal format (whatever that is!) I'm sure I'll improve as time goes on ...