Today I welcome fellow MuseItUp Author, Sara Jayne Townsend to the blog for a special guest post. Take it away, Sara!
BEING A WRITER – CURSE OR BLESSING?
By Sara Jayne Townsend
I’ve always said that I never chose to be a writer. Being a writer is not so much a profession as a calling – you are born to do it. In some ways, it’s as much a curse as a blessing. Writers are incurably nosy. We eavesdrop on private conversations in restaurants or on trains, and then feel embarrassed when the person having the conversation notices and fixes us with an icy stare. Non-writers have to be careful about what they say to writers, since they never know what will end up in the next book. You can never say, in casual conversation, “what would we do if x were to happen?” to a writer. The writer would stare at you, say, “that’s a brilliant idea” and scrabble about for her notebook so she can write it down.
Writers are not like ordinary people. We exist in a world of imagination. Everything around us is an idea for a plot, or a character. And the type of stories we write affect our outlook on the world. Romance writers are always looking for the happy ever after. Fantasy writers find different dimensions in ordinary things – in the back of the wardrobe, under the bed, in the kitchen cupboard.
And then there’s me. I write horror and crime. I am always looking for ways to kill people. I pick up a kitchen implement whilst cooking dinner and consider how it might be used to kill a person. The builders working on our house leave their tools in the yard overnight so they can come back in the morning and get back to work quickly, and I stare at the power saw and worry a serial killer will break in at night and use it to hack me to pieces in my bed. I’ve had many a conversation with fellow writers about how to get rid of a body. Fortunately these conversations tend to happen at genre conventions full of writers who understand each other, or else we’d all be shut away in padded rooms by now.
But being a writer is also a blessing. We have a way of looking at the world that makes us unique. We are able to channel any aggressive feelings we have into our writing, instead of taking it out on real life people. I have, on occasion, taken people in real life who have instigated stress and aggravation into my life, and turned them into fictional characters which I take great pleasure in killing off. It makes me feel a lot better, and the real-life person still gets to walk around unscathed.
Being a writer is what you are, not what you become. I can no more imagine not writing than I can not waking up and getting out of bed every morning. And so no matter how many rejections I get, or how often I struggle with an elusive plot point, I will carry on writing.
Because I am a writer and I don’t know how to be anything else.
Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror. The first two novels in her amateur sleuth series, DEATH SCENE and DEAD COOL will be available from MuseItUp Publishing later this year (Summer and Autumn respectively). Her horror novel SUFFER THE CHILDREN (e-book) and collection of short stories SOUL SCREAMS (print and e-book) are available from Amazon (UK link – http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B003QROE8S and US link – http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003QROE8S ),