The Mind of a Writer

by Sparkle Abbey

“The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing.
Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination, consumed by
feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a
good day.”

Not exactly complimentary, yet as soon as Robert DeNiro
delivered those words on the Academy Awards show last Sunday, Facebook and
Twitter lit up with cyber-nods of agreement from writers everywhere.

Yes, we’re an odd lot.
So what really goes on in the mind of a writer? 

For most of us we’ve always known we were different. Or at some point we’ve had an ‘ah-ha’ moment where we realize that not everyone rewrites the endings of books or movies.

Writers are curious. We’re interested in almost everything. We take movies apart, we question, we dissect. Writers study people and things and motives and places. We wake up in the middle of the night and write down story ideas. Sometimes they even make sense in the morning. 

A writer’s mind wanders off – sometimes in the middle of a conversation. We’re sorry about doing that. It’s not that we’re inattentive or uninterested in what you’re saying. It’s just that something you said clicked in our heads, and suddenly we’ve figured out that troublesome plot point. Or you said some random thing like “oranges” and it get us thinking about Florida and we realize our suspect couldn’t have been the real killer because he was on a plane to the Sunshine State.

We shamelessly eavesdrop on strangers’ conversations. Writers are people-watchers. Observers. We wonder what makes people do what they do. And then we wonder what might make them do something different. We ask, “What if?” The writer’s mind is always working. Always questioning. Writers see story possibilities in almost every situation. An off-hand comment, a newspaper article, an overheard personal drama.

Writers spend hours searching for the perfect word. We work very hard to find the precise words to describe for you the stories in our heads. To help you see the characters who are so real to us. Then we change the words, polish them, revise them. Sometimes we dump full sections of a chapter we’ve spend hours on. And then we begin again. We want it to be perfect. Yet we know it can’t be.

The writer’s mind is packed with worry. When we’re stuck, the doubts come trooping in. Can we do it? Maybe this time we really did bite off a story idea too big for our skills.

The mind of a writer is also magic. It creates people and worlds from nothing more than a speck of an idea. And then it somehow gives us just enough courage (or maybe insanity) to throw our hearts, our stories, out there to share with the world.

At least on a good day.

Our publisher has recently repriced all of our backlist on Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook and we also participated in a fun short story collection. We hope you’ll check it out. 

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