Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Glamorous Life of a Writer

I cannot tell you how many movies and television shows I have seen over the years that depicted a writer as living the glamorous life. It is no wonder that writers are often the envy of many.

Indeed, the public perception of a writer is synonymous with glamour and the good life--based to a large extent on Hollywood productions.

I have been to my fair share of functions where readers and others have asked me about my "glamour life," including travels, other "famous" people I have met, size of house, new book deals, books optioned by producers, etc.

Admittedly, it is an easy conversation starter when you tell people you are a writer. Of course, it is easy to embellish the life of a writer, feeding into the listener's fantasies.

Or, as is often the case with me, you can be straight with people and tell them what it is really like for the vast majority of writers.

One thing I like to say is an old adage, "Writing is the loneliest job in the world." Yes, you can often find yourself surrounded by people over the course of life, but when you spend as much time writing as I do, you have to do it with solitude as your constant companion. It is really the only way to get things done and stick to a schedule of deadlines, rewrites and more deadlines.

My life as a writer in anything but glamorous. I spend 10-12 hours in my office every day, typing away on my computer, trying to finish a chapter or start new one. Or otherwise working on plots, characters, proposals, etc.

It is a decidedly unglamorous life that extends beyond my humble abode. I know lots of other writers and most also live a less than glamorous life. If only we could spend all our time sitting by the pool sipping cocktails in Maui. Or dancing at a hot nightclub amongst stars. Or moving back and forth between mansions we own. Or counting all the money coming in from mega bestsellers.

But the truth is that writing is hard work, harder to get rich and famous by, and not all that exciting, per se.

The good news, though, is that we can write about writers who live the good life and thereby live vicariously through them.

What type of glamorous life do you live? Or do you, like me, leave the glamour to others?


Anonymous said...

I most definitely leave the glamour to others! I would love to hop from mansion to mansion, jet off to the Maldives to research my latest novel, live in solitude on a deserted island with turquoise sea and George Clooney emerging from the waves, but I enjoy living the life I live, that of a loner in my office!

CJ xx

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana and I were just laughing about this tonight while watching Misery, showing the writer in that movie as one of those who hobnobs with the rich and famous and eats it glitzy places. I guess he's modeled on King himself, but most of us aren't quite in that league.

Jewel Amethyst said...

That was my perception as a child, based of course, on Holliwood movies. That quickly changed the moment I told my mother of my desire to be a writer and she told me of the writer who spent most of his life panhandling while trying to peddle his books.

I am one of those authors who require a day job to sustain me. Or as Liane so eloquently put it: "I work to support my writing habit."

Liane Spicer said...

Lol, Jewel! Yup, no glamour around these parts...

G said...

No glamor for this guy. I's just a lowly slightly overpaid (according to most columnists in my state) guv'ment worker.

Marissa Monteilh said...

So true - my writing life is anything but glamorous. I think most believe that staying home is a luxury, and it can be nice if you're full-time, but it is very isolating and you must be disciplined with your time, not easily distracted. Also, if you break down the pay we get considering the # of hrs. we work, it can be .03 cents per hour - I'm just saying, that's not glamour. =)