By Julia Rogers Hook
Columbia II Chapter
Becoming a writer is not an easy task.
Oh sure…people will tell you that you “tell great stories” and that you should write them down.
“You should write a book!”
“You are soooo funny! You should write a book.”
“Did that really happen? You should write a book!”
I probably SHOULD write a book. I WANT to write a book. I also would like to learn to play the piano but I hate practicing my scales. Is it the same thing? Sort of.
When the general public meets a published author, they tend to think it’s all been an easy ride ending with television shows and book signings with wine and cheese and photos in the local (and sometimes national) papers. It’s not.
As any writer will tell you, before the glitter and the glamour, it’s hours and hours and days and weeks of sitting alone in front of a computer screen and living in a world of your own making. Instead of having dinner with your spouse, your mind is somewhere in some anomalous place running for your life from the bad guys created in your imagination or engrossed in whatever story line you’ve created.
If you’re really into it, I’ve known writers who say they can go as far as to stay in their pajamas or sweatpants for days. They put signs on the door ordering their family to leave them alone. They cut off their phones and emails fall by the wayside, ignored and unanswered. Their only concern is what’s happening to the people in their pages.
OR…if you’re like me, you don’t sit at your computer and force yourself to write. You clean your house. You dust, you sweep, you mop, you get out a toothbrush and clean the chrome in your bathrooms. While you’re doing all this excessive tidying, you are definitelythinking about your story but you just can’t get those fingers on the keyboard until there’s no stain in your bathroom grout.
And therein as they say, lies the rub.
We all want it. We all want the fame, the fortune, the glamour and the glitz. But it’s the really true writers that persevere through the distractions and the interruptions that finish a project, whether it be a novel, a play or even a short story or a poem, who actually grab the brass ring on the merry-go-round of becoming an author.
A very wise published author once told me that the secret of writing was simply to write. He said to do whatever it took to write. Get up early or go to bed later. Whatever inspired you to write, he said to do it. As long as the words get from your mind to the page, that will be the day you become a writer. I’ve been trying to live by that advice and most days I manage to eek out a page or sometimes twenty.
Other days, the grout in my bathroom really does need a good scrub.
Julia Rogers Hook comes to Columbia, SC after almost 30 years of life in Los Angeles where she worked as a journalist in radio, television, magazines and newspapers. She covered local politics, community events and national news such as the 2000 Alaskan Flight 261 plane crash off the coast of Ventura, CA and the 911 bombings. She also taught courses in broadcast writing at PierceCollege in Woodland Hills, CA.