After that fateful assignment in the sixth grade that spurred me into the writing life, I confess the road has not been easy. Two years later I started writing a fantasy novel based off Dungeons and Dragons characters. My cousins were involved, as well as my brother, and I allowed my mother to read a bit of my work.
I remember the piece because I was particularly proud of how I’d delved into the mindset of a traumatized woman. My life to that point had not been terribly traumatic so it was a stretch of the imagination to get there.
My mother’s response was that if I wrote things like that, people would think I’d experienced something like it.
I didn’t believe her until a year later. Bored with a spelling assignment, I decided to stretch those imaginative muscles again. The assignment was to use specific words in a sentence and I wove a short narrative to entertain myself. This was of a darker nature, which I blame on my reading pile at the time, and resulted in the teacher sitting down with me and the counselor.
I had to explain that I was just playing with the assignment and hadn’t experienced anything of the sort – I think I had the narrator watch someone fall off a cliff, but can’t quite remember – and that all was well. The teacher and counselor both seemed uneasy but satisfied by my answers, and it was then that I realized how different I was.
Sadly, I was not self-aware at the time, but I have come to understand that the main difference between myself and the majority of the world, is that I don’t just see people for who they are. I see them for their potential, both good and bad. And while that serves me well as a writer, it has often brought about complications in my personal life.
Because while I see the potential for bad, I strive to help them reach the good, often at great cost to myself.
Not so in my writing. There I explore how bad things can get, and willfully cross the threshold with my characters until there is no turning back .
The rewards of writing far outweigh the cost for me. They are much the same as the rewards from reading in that I am able to visit new worlds and cultures, experience jobs I would otherwise never encounter, and touch on that deep vein of humanity that courses through us all. The difference being that as a writer, I am submerged within the storytelling, privy to all the character backstories and world building that is only shallowly represented in the completed work.
This is my happy place, where I exist in tandem with the stories I tell. And if I’m a bit daydreamy to friends and family, I am comforted that they love me in spite of it. Or, in the case of my husband, they love me because of it. In this I count myself the luckiest woman in the world.
See the costs and rewards for my fellow authors in this month’s Round Robin discussion.
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
A.J. Maguire https://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/ (YOU ARE HERE)
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1qD
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com
5 thoughts on “Costs and Rewards – November Round Robin”
We definitely dance to a different piper and see possibilities others don’t. But that’s our blessing and the inspiration for our writing.
Enjoyed your post, especially the part where writing is your happy place. I like that – works for me.
Some people have strong empathy for others from birth. Like you, I was one. For my 6th birthday, my mother took me to the circus. A clown slipped on a banana peel, and started shouting, “I’ve broken my leg!” Everyone laughed, but I cried.
I agree with Skye. We writers march to a different drummer. Lots of readers will think we’re writing about ourselves and our experiences, when it’s all come out of our heads. Imagination is a wonderful thing for any writer, as is empathy. You did not seem to find any negatives, but in my own writing career, there have been a few, but I feel that they’ve made me stronger.
Imagination is a wonderful and ever-expanding journey. My contemporary western romance is quite steamy in places. A lady of around about 90 read it and politely asked if I ‘did all those naughty things?’ While I admitted to the basics, it’s part of the human condition, after all, I also explained that I read a lot and talked to other writers who wrote stuff more steamy than mine.