“Are you okay?”
I hear this question frequently while writing in public. Usually from my bride. At first, I didn’t have a clue why people asked me such a question. But then I started hearing the same explanations.
“You look disgusted.”
“You seem so upset. Did something bad happen?”
I realized my facial expressions reflected the mood of the scene I was writing. So, I started saying, “I’m wonderful! I’m just really into the scene I’m writing.”
That will you get a few raised eyebrows at McDonald’s. At home, my family’s gotten used to it. In fact, my wife emerged last week with this sign.
It’s become the family joke. “Dad are you—Oh you’re writing.”
Now all of this doesn’t mean I’m okay. I think writers need to be a little different than everyone else to do what they do. And to most people out there, we’re a bit odd. But whether you talk to your characters, they talk to you, or you scowl at a laptop, these are all just ways we accomplish our goal.
To create a powerful emotional experience for our readers.
When I heard my wife sniffling in the other room as she read the climax of Soul Yearning, I had a private fist pump moment. She might give numerous reasons why she liked my story, but tears speak volumes more.
When writing I try to picture the scene like a movie with full musical accompaniment (See, I told you I’m not really okay). But at times I struggle to describe with words what I’m seeing and hearing in my mind. The best way for me to find those words is to imagine myself in the scene with all its joy, pain, frustration, or anger.
Hence the scowling.
So as I tap away on my laptop, I wear my sign proudly.
Are we writers okay? That’s debatable. But our quirkiness has a purpose. This is what works for me.
What works for you?