Next week, more than 2,000 of us will be attending the RWA writer’s conference in San Francisco. So, I got to thinking about job descriptions. Jobs are hard to explain. I’ve had all sorts, starting as a young teenager—tomato picker, waitress, prison volunteer, venetian blind salesperson, blueprint designer, RN, medical writer (still do this freelance), television researcher, and where I’ve found my niche, novelist. I think I was destined to be a writer because ever since I can remember, I’ve wondered what it would be like to be in the other person’s shoes.
Waitress taking my burger order? I wonder if she has family waiting for her shift to end. Person who rotates my tires? I wonder what kind of music he listens to. Doctor advising me on a bout of bronchitis? I wonder if she had a hard time finding a parking space. I can spend hours researching job details to include in my novels. They’re the attitudes and hidden agenda of each character, whether the person is an undercover Mountie pretending to be an alcoholic drifter (the hero in KLONDIKE FEVER) or a gold miner who’s just struck it rich and has it all stolen (the heroine).
There must be things about your job you wish you could explain to others. Difficult things, funny things, things only people in the business understand. Well, in honor of the upcoming RWA conference, here are a few humorous confessions from my life as a writer.
You Know You’re a Writer When…
by Kate Bridges
Have you ever tried to explain to your friends or significant other the headache of yet another revision, or dilemma of three main characters whose names all start with F? Getting through the daily writing grind takes energy, hard work and a sense of humor. You know you’re cursed—blessed—to be a lifelong writer if the following signs apply to you…
10) You’re breathless at the sight of your thesaurus.
9) Even brochures in the doctor’s office are interesting research to you now. “How to Manage Bunions.”
8 ) You love or hate movies on a whole new level.
7) Your partner wants to give you an extra special birthday present. You get the choice of a romantic dinner and night out on the town, or to upgrade the hard drive on your computer. You choose the hard drive and a sandwich.
6) Those painful childhood memories are suddenly very valuable. You wish you had more painful memories to draw upon.
5) You spend more time deciding on the names of your characters than you did on your own children.
4) You look forward to once-a-week grocery shopping for the social interaction.
3) When you enter the home of a new acquaintance, you feel strangely suspicious if there are no books in sight.
2) You enjoy starting hypothetical arguments with your partner—the ‘what if’ scenarios. “If I died tomorrow, how soon would you begin dating someone new?”
1) You’re thrilled to discover the word ‘infection’ was in use in 1875!
What are some of the jobs you’ve held over the years? Inside the home, or out. What was your very first job? Are there any details—positive or negative—you’d like to share?
Kate Bridges loves the writing life. She drove her husband crazy with hypothetical questions while writing KLONDIKE FEVER. She loves the smell of libraries, running her fingers along the crisp edge of a new pack of paper, and buying pens in every color. www.katebridges.com.
Link to a book on Amazon: