Thursday, 11 October 2007

The lifestyle of writing

I'm a writer.

I don't write for a living or even as frequently as I should; I've never published a book and only one short story; I'm in no way a professional writer. But I feel like, intrinsically, that's what I am, that's what I'll always be — even if I never write another word again.

It's like a lifestyle. Writing affects everything I do. And I mean apart from my crazy grammar-Nazi thing.

Writing affects my fashion — I'm incapable of not buying any and all clothing related to books/reading or writing.

Writing affects what books I buy. I have to buy things like the Six Pack and Huia Short Stories because it's supporting New Zealanders like me — who love writing and want to do it, and do it well — I'd be betraying my own cause not to buy them, and encourage others to buy them. Support NZ writers! Buy NZ made! Go the patriotism.

Writing affects other books I buy, too — I'm interested in writing about Regency England, so I buy books based in Regency England — relatively historically accurate ones, e.g. Georgette Heyer rather than Ken Follett (at least she researched the era properly).

Similarly, I feel like I have to complete events like good ol' NaNoWriMo, and even be ML for it until someone else is able to take over my region or until I (please dear God, please!) move away. It's good practice, it's good experience, and it's getting things done. When I discovered Kiwi Writers, initiated by the fantastic Kerryn (NaNoWriMo ML for Wellington) and some other WriMos, I had to first join, and then sign up for any and all writing challenges I could find.

Writing affects the way you talk and think and observe other people, writing makes you note down funny comments and spy on interesting strangers in coffee shops and make mental memos of what different people say and wear and do and act around you.

I feel like I could never write another word, and still be a writer.

Although honestly, I don't think that would happen since I'd get out of that way of thinking. But writing...it is, to me at least, as much of a lifestyle as an activity; it affects everything I do (albeit very subtly).

If I'm trying to work out an issue in my life, I sometimes write little fictional stories about characters in similar situations, and helping them work it out helps me work it out.

With Massey, all my papers are geared towards writing — writing and journalism papers, literature and history and classics paper — a good literary writer needs at least a basic knowledge of those areas.

I feel the need to travel, to experience more life outside NZ, understand different persons and peoples and cultures — I can't just keep living in small-town New Zealand and experiencing nothing for the rest of my life. What kinda writing am I going to be able to do about that? I need experiences, ones I can't get in New Zealand or from just visiting other places — I'm so glad I grew up overseas, even if I never get to live overseas again. But I hope I do.

I've been thinking lately about how important it is to me, how central to my life — past, present and future — and dreams for the future.

This entry may not sound finished; that's because I'm not.

1 comment:

Writing Angel said...

I love this! It is exactly how I feel about the life of writing. I'm off to link to this now. :) And not just because you called me fantastic.