A writer's world...

...is a strange place. All kinds of crazy things happen in a writer's world. Pigs fly, flowers have rainbow blossoms and love happens against all odds. Miracles are an everyday occurrence, sailing the seven seas is a walk in the park and surviving in a country where you neither speak the language nor understand the writing system is a piece of cake.

Pretty, no?
One may wonder why writers even venture out into the real world...I sure wouldn't given a choice but unfortunately those pesky bills don't pay themselves and the potatoes for tonight's dinner won't cook themselves either. I wish they would, I really do (I really dislike peeling potatoes). In my world, that crazy place inside my head where everything and anything goes, all that happens when I swish my magic wand. Strangely enough, no matter how much I swish, my pretty magic wand won't work in the real world I have to resort to doing things the old-fashioned way which include subjecting my alarm clock to a series of death glares before I am awake enough to realise that the horrible noise won't just vanish into thin air - oh how I wish it did because that dream was really good and I want to go back to it before its memory slips right through my fingers leaving me feeling cold and confused.

After I finally manage to shut my alarm clock up, I grudgingly drag myself out of bed, chew on my toothbrush and miraculously manage to find the hot water tap to turn the shower on...getting ready for work (that pesky thing that pays the bills) can begin. I'm a grump (of course, why would I be anything else?) and my morning coffee only takes the edge off. The bus running late, which subsequently leads to me running late, ruins any of the positive effects my morning coffee had and I start afresh, trying to make it in a world that's cold, grey, dark and unfriendly for the most part. Wet too if you live in Ireland, which I do.

Thankfully my imagination permits me to escape that dull world I have to venture into so I can afford spending my evenings and weekends dreaming about flying pigs and rainbow-coloured flowers (I don't really do that...). So please forgive me when I stare at you with a blank face after you've called my name "a million times" or so you say. Yes I am guilty as charged, I have not heard a single world of what you have been saying all this time. In my defence, I have spun together a fabulous plot for my latest writing adventure and oh yes I have also settled on a new topic for my next blog entry.

My non-writer friends appreciate none of these excuses. Not ever. They let me get away with it if I smile sweetly enough and promise them coffee and/or chocolate (those more demanding friends of mine won't settle for anything less than a dinner..greedy buggers). Being a writer is a hard life indeed. Instead of spending time in my wonderful imaginary world (yes, she's going to get her significant other because a) I am a hopeless romantic and b) that's just how I roll oh and c) let's face it you get that warm and fuzzy feeling reading about it all) I am forced to abandon my pretty thoughts only to be subjected to a bunch of real life things I'd rather not deal with (who wouldn't?). Don't worry, I am not planning to moan, on the contrary, I'm about to change the subject (slightly) because you're all very lovely and it's for you that I venture out of my lovely bubble.

What I actually want to talk about is a funny Twitter conversation I had with a few friends a while back. I'm not quite sure how it came about or who started it but a distinct lack of inspiration and/or the drive to write something may have led to said discussion. You see, a writer who wants to write but has no inspiration / will / time or writer's block is really a small time bomb waiting to explode. I for example get increasingly frustrated and short-fused and it's a bit like you've taken my favourite drug away. It's pretty much in reaching distance, in fact you're waving it in front of my nose but you just won't let me have it (clearly your mother never taught you any manners!). When that happens I first try to solve it with chocolate and when that doesn't work I publicly complain about it...usually on Twitter and usually to friends who get me, fellow writers. That's how the conversation, I previously mentioned, came about it. It became an interesting discussion about all the things people criticise about writers.

You see, it doesn't quite suit you when I am lost in my own little world, plotting and scheming and then (to make matters a million times worse) it doesn't even suit you how I write. Apparently there are certain types of writers and well if I don't fit into any of those boxes I need to be moulded until I fit in. It's increasingly frustrating, especially when all I ever wanted was to write. Pick up that pen and never stop... I'll give you an non-writing related example. I grew up bilingual (German and Polish) and from the word get go I changed between the two languages without the slightest bit of hesitation. One sentence in German to my dad, the next in Polish to my mum. While I had to learn how to read and write German (they make you do that in primary school...) learning to read and write Polish was entirely optional (to me anyway). My mother however had slightly different thoughts on that. She insisted I learn, invested blood, sweat and tears to try and teach me how to write and read in Polish. She made next to no progress because I didn't care. (In hindsight I should have given in but a) children are stubborn and b) that's an entirely different blog post altogether.) In the end my mum gave up and settled for the fact that I could speak fluently, that seemed to be good enough.

Unfortunately writer's don't get off the hook quite that easily, there's apparently a million and one things I have to pay attention to when I write. I should pick a subject and stick with it and when I do pick a subject then it has to follow a certain pattern, etc. If I don't follow a certain guideline for a certain style then I'm not really a writer apparently and if my blog post exceeds a certain word count then I'm rambling and no-one will read any of that... the list goes on and on and on. The list is in fact so long that one can easily reach a point where pulling out your own hair and screaming like a lunatic sounds like a pretty sane idea. Not only do I have to try and control a bunch of unruly characters who want their own way and most definitely don't want what I want, no, I also have to regard a bunch of rules. Don't write that, don't write like this, don't use those words, don't make your sentences too long, don't, don't, don't, don't...it's a bit like growing up all over again. There seem to be very few do's, just a bunch of rules I have to follow in order to become a successful, published writer.

Well you know what? This blows! So I say, scrap that. I am not going to follow any rules (except for those posted above). I'm just going to write what I want, when I want it and how I want it. I might decide to climb on top of my living room cabinet and write on toast with a pot of butter for all it matters...anything to stand out, to show that I have a voice and want to be heard just the way I am.

Now, please don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean I'm turning down reasonable criticism, no writer would ever turn that down, they'd be mad to. In fact constructive criticism is more than welcome but unfortunately seldom given. When criticism however exceeds the boundaries and becomes a rulebook to the degree where writing suddenly becomes a tedious daytime job I'd rather live without then I will recoil. I reserve the right to write for the fun of it, to explore places no-one's dared to explore. When I have pen and paper (or a keyboard for that matter) in front of me, I have a voice and I intend to use it but I won't have you tell me how to use it, thank you very much.

Advice and guidance are most welcome but you have to bear in mind that muse and inspiration are fragile things. They're easily scared, they run off and it takes time and effort to coax them back, to make them feel safe. When they're gone, there's just no fun in writing. I may as well just forget about it altogether and watch crap daytime television.

So I guess what I am saying (in the nicest possible way) is 'back off and let me breathe'. Writing is a bit like a relationship, it takes work, it takes effort, it takes time, it takes willingness to spend hours scoped up in a corner with coffee and cookies while all the cool kids are out having fun and are blogging/tweeting about it too.

You see, when writers are unhappy, they're really unhappy. This is why I (for example) surround myself with coffee and chocolate (some writers prefer wine or tea) and a bunch of other cool things. It takes the edge off when your blog page to refuses to upload all those amazing pictures you've taken to transform your blog into something informative and pretty to look at. It makes unruly characters, wonky plot ideas and endless hours of research worthwhile but add to that all those tedious rules and no amount of coffee, cookies and wine can entice me to pick up that pen or utilise that keyboard. A writer needs to thrive and they do so best when left to what they do best...which is write, however they want, wherever they want and most importantly whatever you want.

That looming thread "continue writing like this and you'll never be published" really only makes me want to throw our toys out of the pram (and believe me I can be pretty good at that if I want to). Those writers who have a passion for writing, a fire fuelled by endless ideas and imagination distinctly prefer to put writing first, then they'll pay attention to anything else. Writing is their life and if you pour water on the flame the result won't be a pretty crackling fire to warm you but an ice-cold room. The last I want is to feel like I am not good enough because I dare to think outside the box. So I guess what I am trying to say is ease off on the rules, let me breathe, let me write and whereas I can't promise you that the outcome of my writing will always be amazing when I do share some of my work with you, I have faith in what I have produced (for the most part anyway, it's still daunting to think that there's someone who will be reading my work!). Still I have enough faith that after spending hours and hours on perfecting what I consider to be my offspring I'm putting it out there in whatever shape or form (blog, eBook, book, etc.) for you to read and hopefully appreciate. Let me tell you clicking that "publish" button is never a piece of cake. It is downright nauseating because once it's out there, well it's out there and I can't ever take it back. It makes me want to bite my nails and run...I'm not quite sure in which order.

Come on in!
In light of the Twitter conversation I told you about before, a little project (which is still in development) sprung to life. Thanks go entirely to the very talented @SashaPeakall (Check out her Evolution of a Dreamer blog) who devoted some of her time to create Writer's World. For now this is only a a Facebook profile (and a Twitter account as of today: @writers_world) but we're a lovely bunch of writers who thrive on being allowed to write for the fun of it...we're quirky, have a great sense of humour and love a good laugh / banter. There are no rules (well there are some for spammers but that's a different topic altogether), we've banned those in favour of putting the fun back into writing. If you're tempted you're most definitely welcome. We write for the sake of writing (some of us are even crazy enough to write for NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month) and we share loads of lovely things.

Before you head over to Writer's World, I've a little something to share. I wrote a little something today. It's a little poem, although it doesn't follow any rules whatsoever. On the rare occasion that I write what I consider to be poetry, it never follows any rules, it just flows...I don't think much about it.

The thrill of holding a pen,
The unspoiled paper, smooth underneath my finger tips,
Bubbling ideas, running wild in my head.
The excitement of what's about to come...

In the silence of the night I sit and plot until it dawns,
Imagining the sweet scent of summery flowers, chirpy birds, white little clouds
and fresh grass...and oh those butterflies.
Imagining a fairytale love story full of twists and turns or maybe a stranger's darkest secret.

A quiet place, filled with unwritten thoughts and ideas,
Surrounded by books and papers, hidden away behind a desk.
A buzzing Starbucks, filled with heavenly smells and untold stories of those passing by,
A comfy chair and coffee is a must, the goal is to write, write, write.
Whatever the perfect place may be, it's time to let fantasy mingle with reality.

© Selly