Last week, Vicki made a comment on the Write Your Own Poetry post. She said, “I think we all get that, as writers, sadness is an emotion that can produce beauty of its own.”
That idea tickled my muse. It made me think about what else writers may have in common. There will always be exceptions, of course. But generally speaking, do a majority of writers share certain traits? I’m curious to find out . . . which is why I need your help! Let’s make this a group effort, shall we? I’ll talk about some of my characteristics, and then you let me know which ones I’ve missed, or which ones I’m totally wrong about. Maybe I’ll get really ambitious and create a poll where people can vote on the master list. For now, here are eleven of my writerly traits. . . .
- I find beauty everywhere. As Vicki pointed out, even sadness can produce beauty. I look for beauty wherever I go. Searching for beauty is perhaps my favorite part of being a writer.
- I am a perfectionist. I’m obsessive about grammar and other little details. I’m a Type A personality who organizes for giggles. Other writers may strive for perfection in different ways, but the urge is still there, deeply rooted.
- I am an introvert. I’d much rather be alone in my office all day than go out in public. Socializing is difficult for me, and public speaking is downright knee-shaking. I require a period of solitude every day, and I could probably thrive as a hermit.
- I hear voices in my head. Not in a crazy way—okay, that depends on your definition of crazy—but in a way to develop characters and point-of-view. I try to see the world through the eyes of my characters.
- I seek story ideas constantly. Every person, every trip, every day is a potential story idea. I stash all experiences in my hoard, like a squirrel collecting nuts. I may never use them all, but I have them if I need them.
- I cherish words. Whether it’s an old love letter, a shelf of favorite books, or an email from a kindred spirit, words rank high in my most prized possessions. I always crave perfect words, whether I read them or write them.
- I respect all forms of art. I am not a talented artist, photographer, musician, or dancer . . . but I love art, photography, music, and dancing. I’ve tried them all in subpar attempts. But writing is also a creative art, so I’ll focus my efforts on writing.
- I am conflicted. I want everything and nothing. I want an agent—never mind, I’ll self-publish—nope, changed my mind again. It’s not unusual for me to be happy and sad at the same time. I can kick off my shoes and walk a mile in yours. I view a situation from all angles. Gray is the new black.
- I escape via books. My idea of a vacation is reading a whole book uninterrupted. It could be in a hammock in my backyard and I’d be thrilled with the trip. Excursions to the bookstore are like holidays, and meeting authors makes me squee like a fan girl. I will stay up all night to finish a good book. I listen to audiobooks to spice up my life while I brush my teeth and do other mundane chores.
- I feel like a misfit. I’m not referring to teenager angst, though I’m a big fan of that as well. I’m referring to the ability to feel alone in a crowd, even when I’m twenty-something and fairly comfortable with who I am as a person. This feeling usually disappears when I’m surrounded by family, friends, and fellow writers. If I’m not, my mind feels like a tomato in the pickle jar. Maybe it’s my paranoid tendency to overanalyze, or maybe I really am a weird geek. Whatever the reason, imagine shoving a square peg into a triangle—that’s how I feel at a party.
- I love the mysterious. No, not murder mysteries. I mean the deep questions in our souls: “Why am I here? What’s the meaning of life? What happens after death? Why does gum lose its flavor so quickly?” When I write, I’m hunting those answers and more. As Einstein said, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.” See #1 for how I feel about beauty.
I welcome discussion in the comments! What characteristics do you see in writers? Later, if there’s enough interest, I’ll create a poll for voting purposes. Thanks for your input!
P.S. Don’t forget to read WALK TWO MOONS for the next book club meeting!