A popular post from January 2010
By Julie Wright
An author is defined as the person who originates or gives existence to anything. It is understood that typically, "anything" refers to a written work. Not always, but typically.
It's hard for people who aren't authors of written work to understand those of us who are. How can that happily married woman write steamy romances? How can that nice young man who is so helpful and thoughtful write about serial killers and sci fi monsters? How could she write about child abuse? How could he write about drug addictions?
And they assume that in some dark part of our lives as authors, we've lived these things personally. And some of us probably have.
I haven't. I make it all up. But I know there are a great many people who secretly believe I have had a baby out of wedlock and have given it up for adoption. They also believe I was abused as a child.
It's not true. My parents were (and are) incredible people. I've been spanked exactly once as a child and I deserved it. And though I threaten to put my kids up for adoption, I've never actually done it. But I was able to write about these things because I believe one of the things that makes artists who they are is their sense of curiosity. To create something from nothing, we must be able to view that something from all angles--to understand it completely. It means we have to be interested in things--all sorts of things--even if we have not experienced those things for ourselves. This is why Annette Lyon and Josi Kilpack have spent time researching books about murders and dead bodies, why Heather has researched the middle east and the different factions of political control there, and why I've researched abortions, adoptions, and sexually transmitted diseases.
We also have a sense of beauty--of the fantastic. We notice it, breathe it in, and let it alter us--if even for a moment.
While on my book tour with Josi Kilpack, we traveled through forests, deserts, rain storms, snow storms, and ocean side communities. It was beautiful. But we were very short on time between signings so there weren't a lot of stop-and-smell-the-roses opportunities offered to us. So I resigned myself to taking pictures out the window as we sped by.
So here we are--artists who are curious and so easily struck speechless by beauty and yet we're also a little egocentric, because we not only believe that people will WANT to read our work, we believe they will PAY for the opportunity. And we find that when we are rejected, or given a poor review, we become almost irreparably depressed.
What other profession out there is so emotionally exhausting?
So why do we do it?
The answer is found in the definition of who we are: An author is defined as the person who originates or gives existence to anything. We are creators and by so being must create.
So when your neighbors start avoiding you because they realize you write books about the inner workings of demons, or your family stops calling because you've been acting moody over a rejection, don't feel too bad. Because there is a group of us out there who understand you're still a nice, normal person.
We know you can be a nice person and still write about murder, or that you can be a loyal spouse and still write romances. We know this about you because you're an author, and all of this is simply the anatomy of an author.