This blog post originally ran in 2013. Aside from needing a few tweaks, it’s as fresh now as it was back then. And since we just celebrated Thanksgiving, I decided to run it again. Happy
Thanksgiving, belated though it may be!
When I do author talks or school visits, one of the questions I’m often asked is what I like best about being a writer. Until now, my answer has usually been twofold. I’m most thankful, I generally say, that I can write in jeans and slippers (there’s something incredibly freeing about not having to pluck, mousse, iron, and endure heels before plonking down at the desk). I also like that I can spy on people at the grocery store without feeling at all guilty about it. Character is truly revealed in the mindless acquisition of food. Is my subject buying Kraft dinner or quinoa? Wearing sweats or silk? Do they stack and toss? Smile or glare? Rush or linger? Treat the cashier with kindness or indifference?
But there are many other reasons I’m thankful to be a writer.
I can ask questions of anyone, anywhere, and at any time, all under the guise of research (Although I do refrain at weddings, funerals and during bikini waxings).
I have a valid excuse for a few extra pounds since writing requires sitting for many long hours. Even a regular gym routine and using a treadmill desk hasn’t helped (and, no, copious quantities of mint Girl Guide cookies have nothing to do with it).
I get to read. A lot. And this I can do on a treadmill or an elliptical. Even in the car at a stop light. Until the guy behind me honks.
I can write anywhere and at any time. Though I don’t recommend mixing laptops and hot tubs. Especially after midnight. Trust me on this.
I set my own hours which means I can get a root canal or take off to watch a movie do intense research at the archives in the middle of the day. And I don’t have to ask my boss.
I am always learning. Fun, neat facts like ‘intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair’ and ‘women blink twice as often as men do.’ Without these random bits of trivia my life would be seriously incomplete.
I don’t have to draw – not characters, not covers, not inside art. And everyone else is thankful for this too, believe me.
I get to experience the thrill of the unknown twice a year when the royalty checks land in the mailbox. Sometimes I even get to shop afterwards. On a related note, self-publishing as Laura Tobias means I don’t have to wait nearly as long for royalties. The money shows up much faster. And that’s much better.
I’m allowed to daydream. Staring into space for long periods of time is mandatory. And my family understands that even when I look like I’m paying attention, sometimes I’m not.
I play every single day. And that, really, is the thing I am most thankful for. I play with words, with worlds, with people and emotions. In my slippers, on my laptop, at the gym or in my office. I play. Only everybody else calls it work.