A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why am I up? (Artists vs. Writers...Break Room edition)

It's barely 4 am.  I've been up since 3:30 am.  Why am I up?

It's simple: I need computer time for my writing, and I don't get it after work.  Downside to only having one computer.  One of us has to take their time in the morning before work (we leave together since he's my driver...and we have similar schedules).  The other gets it when we get home.  Given that I'm usually really tired after work, it works out - although personally I think part of the reason I'm so tired is the fact that by the time I go to bed I've been up for 16-18 hours.

My roommates asked me why I'm doing this.  "You've got a pen and notebook.  Write that way, and then on your days off write on the computer.  He doesn't get up until late afternoon anyway."

They've got a point, but I made another one: I need to do research.  Half the time I spend online is because I'm doing research on one topic or another.  I'm getting a good starting point for when I finally pay off those pesky library fines and can start checking out library books again.  Once I do that, I'll probably still spend quite a bit of time researching because, frankly, the internet is a lot faster and easier on the budget than driving to the library twice a week.

That got me thinking: what exactly is it a writer does?  We got onto a discussion of art vs. writing in the break room one day because one of the art students was working on her research paper, and I was working on the notes for the WIP.  One of my co-workers made the crack that writers have it easy.  "All you do is sit down, put words on paper, and voila! You have 'art'!"

I get up early, do my research, write between calls and on my breaks long hand at work, and when I get home I'm STILL working because I'm revising notes, editing manuscripts, and going over my research from earlier in the day/week.  I've talked to writers from the NaNoWriMo group who routinely get into fights with SO's because they don't understand this drive to write that we all share.  Even outside the yearly torture in November, they spend hours during the week writing.  Most of those like me who work in jobs where they can write in their spare moments do so.

Others actually travel to the places they're writing about or using as references for their work.  We put a lot of effort into our "babies", and then when we're done we ruthlessly chop our "babies" down and then send them out to be further ridiculed by those in authority.  When we FINALLY get someone to take our "babies" seriously, we end up having to do more chopping and tweaking until it's time to see them go out into the world to be introduced to others who we hope will love them as much as we do.

When I explained this to the co-worker, she just snorted and made another crack: "Artists still have it harder than writers."

I don't think we have it easier or harder than anyone else.  We just do what we do and hope for the best.  Both artists and writers are like that.  We're no better than each other.  We have our different mediums, our different artistic styles, and we all have different ways of seeing the world.  We take those different views of the world and turn them into works of art - even if they're only works of art in our own eyes.

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