I GOT THIS REALLY CRAZY THEORY: We all live multiple lives.
Every single one of us is totally walking around with multiple personas, which can be drawn out and utilized on a daily basis, put on like a business suit or a T-shirt and weather-worn blue jeans, when the need to face a different set of circumstances arises. Each of these lives come with a different set of priorities, a different approach to challenges, a different way in which we see the world, and that makes all the difference.
For myself, in seconds I can easily glide from the professional life of a Naval Officer to the familiar, low-stress life of a doting father and faithful husband. It’s as easy as changing my clothes. This process is one of the ways we learn to cope at an early age, and it’s as natural and effortless as breathing.
For most people, their various lives are defined by external influences: jobs, families, friends, dreams. But for fiction writers, it’s not so simple.
In my opinion, a fiction writer’s life is defined first and foremost by internal influences: imaginary worlds, compelling main characters, life-altering stories that move the writer to such a degree that he has no choice but to transmogrify the nothingness of an idea into concrete, palpable reality by getting words on the page. In some sense, the fiction writer lives his own internal struggle, but he also spends hours, days, months–years even!–breathing, raging, crying, triumphing, failing, as he experiences the lives of the characters in his fiction.
If you’re like me, it’s a strange kind of worry that–more than anything–drives you to write: fear of the life unlived.
As a beginning fiction writer (just getting my feet wet really), the manifestation of that fear takes odd forms for me. Not having lived the life of an Ishmael or a Robert Jordan or a Nick Carraway, I sometimes sell myself short or feel inadequate. Sometimes I try to overcompensate and work on five projects at once. Sometimes I catch myself in meetings (living one of my other lives) troubling over a certain turn of phrase or sticky fictional situation, only to emerge an hour later having forgotten everything I uncovered during those moments.
In short, I’m still finding my way in this fiction writer’s life, but there’s one thing I’ve learned: we can’t make it on our own. That’s why signing up for this Pay It Forward Blogfest was a no brainer. Picking three blogs to represent the legions of folks who’ve been a significant part of my writer’s journey was a big challenge, however. So many people have lent their support, while they’ve asked for very little in return. Such generosity of spirit really is quite humbling.
- Liza @ Middle Passages: Liza was one of the first writers and fellow bloggers who gave me a leg up. She reposted a goofy post of mine where I intereviewed myself, and has been a stalwart supporter and friend of WSMG ever since. Her own blog is full of wonderful prose and pictures, shared in a quiet, thoughtful way, and well worth a visit.
- Lola @ Sharp Pen/Dull Sword: Lola is one of the grooviest folks around, and one I’ve been lucky enough to get to know outside of the blogosphere as well. Her infectiously positive attitude, warmly supportive vibe and razor sharp writing and editing style have been a real influence on me, and she’s really helped shape my views as a budding fiction writer. Go on over and join the Wolf Pack if you haven’t already!
- Donna @ Donna Hole: Donna has been one of those long-time bloggers that you can tell really enjoys getting around and visiting everyone. She’s one of the most frequent visitors here at WSMG, always taking the time to provide in-depth, well thought out comments, and she’s a unique, generous person who brightens your day every time you come in contact with her. Hang around her blog for awhile and I’m sure you’ll see what I mean!
Anyway, thanks a million, ladies! Thanks for helping me along on this writing journey and for being such a good friends!
BTW, as a quick aside, I’d like to thank Matthew and Alex for setting this blogfest up. It certainly is an inspired idea–and you should go visit everyone else too as I’m sure there’ll be plenty of fiction-related lauding and high-fives to go around.
Now I’m off to see who everyone else is recommending!
Check back on Monday where I’m gonna talk some about the Kraken as part of October’s Monster Fest. Get all the details here!