The dreams, as well as the realities, of being a professional writer seem alien to me. It always seems to be some variation upon a standard theme: writer as rock star.
The standard theme that I hear about a writers life is the dream of writing the next great novel that will be turned into a movie and have all of Hollywood trudging a path to your door. If it isn’t movie material, then it is a novel that will put the writer on all the talk shows to have their interviews broadcast all around the globe. Perhaps it is to spend all of their off time attending lavish parties where people can discuss how great the author is while sipping champagne and eating caviare off served from antique polished silver serving platters. Their writing supplies mansions and entourages and propels them into the stratosphere of popularity.
But this is why I feel left out. None of these things appeal to me. No only do they not appeal to me, they actually terrify me. The only thing I would like to get from my writing is for readers to enjoy it. Sure, I wouldn’t mind a little bit of money, but even money is so far down my list of writing rewards that it is practically nonexistent.
I don’t like crowds, or traveling, or lavish parties, or public speaking, or public appearances. Because of my excessively introverted personality, every time I hear authors (even successful ones) talking about the dream of being a writer, it acts as a deterrent. There is a constant fear that runs in the back of my mind about what would happen if someone really liked my stories. What if I signed a publishing contract then realized that I would have to travel to promote my writing. What if I had to be witty and happy in Twitter and Facebook instead of just being myself. I would have to become a different person, a stranger. I would have to navigate a course diametrically opposed to the course I would choose for my life.
I am not a salesperson. I have no interest in trying to convince other people to read my words. I have no interest in being popular. I nave no interest in creating a following. I have no interest in grooming an audience. All that I want to do is tell stories.
I like my piece and quiet. I enjoy my solitude. I like to let my imagination run wild without considering whether it would please a publisher or fitting into a prepared market niche. I like to play with my cats instead of going to conventions. I like to pet my dogs instead of promoting domestic sales. I like to play the piano instead of calculating optimal pricing options.
I realize that my desire to avoid the public essentially means that I will never be a professional author. I can live with that. The pressure I feel from the profession of being an author actually prevents me from writing anything at all. I would much rather make up stories to scatter into the void. I would rather enjoy my time writing instead of feeling the anxiety of being an author.