The Life of a Writer: Reality Vs Fiction

My favorite author is Richard Castle despite the fact that I haven’t read a single one of his books. I’m in the process of correcting that with “Naked Heat” and, while I’m not sure if I would normally read a book like this, I am enjoying it mainly because it’s the TV show Castle in literary format. I’m relishing the pretend play that the show and the people are real.

One thing I want beyond anything to be true is that a writer’s life really could be like Castle’s. He’s a wonderful character and his life seems easy and awesome.

How many writers out there wish their lives were like his? Apart from following around a homicide detective and being shot at more than once though I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would enjoy that too.

I mean, owning a gorgeous and expensive home, having your writing come out as easy as turning on the faucet and having water pour out, being rich and super famous, etc.

I want that. Every time I turn on the show I wish it was real…to an extent. Then I have to remind myself that those screenwriters are glorifying the life of a writer. And that’s fine with me. In fact I love it. It’s my favorite show.

But the reality of being a writer is that most people are not Stephen King or J.K. Rowling (can any two names get used more as examples of their career?).

The real life of a writer is sitting every day before a computer or notebook, always trying to write or get an idea, always thinking about it, always planning it. Sometimes the words come, sometimes they don’t. Oftentimes when they do come, they’re worthy of the scrap bin.

Some days you slog through the material, attempting to get through the molasses of your stagnant imagination. Other days your fingers zoom across the keyboard and make the most wonderful tapping music. On those days even the strongest coffee couldn’t energize you more than your writing already has.

And then comes the time when your story is done. You’ve reached the end!

Maybe you wait a few days after that to give your brain a rest or maybe you plow on ahead. Either way, you’re not done; no, you’ve merely checked off that first step on your to-do list. Now you get to edit which is usually more tedious than energizing.

At this point, Starbucks is very happy to welcome you into their open arms (if they haven’t already) and to fill your system with their steaming espressos. I love Starbucks and the baristas at my dungeon of choice know how I like my liquid stimulant.

Then you go through the hundreds (maybe thousands?) of agents out there, getting rejected about a bazillion times till you find Mr./Ms. Right. Hurray! Now go and edit again.

Here it comes…You’re published!!

And maybe a couple hundred to a couple thousand copies are sold (hopefully). Not really a hit (though I’d be supremely happy with even that much). Hopefully by this time you’ve started the process all over again because you’re not famous and you’re not rich and the bills keep coming in.

We won’t even go into the support everyone gives you while you’re struggling with this. Oh, I’m sorry. Support? What support? Maybe a few people support you but the majority give you strange or doubting looks and those are probably the nice people.

Don’t forget those few supporters you have though! You’ll want to dedicate the book to their tireless support, without which, you never could’ve made it yadda yadda yadda. Blah blah blah.

And that’s not even mentioning the difficulty of carving out free time to write if you have a day job (which hopefully you do else the bills might not get paid).

The life of a writer sounds quite depressing.

Is my life depressing? Goodness no! I get to live in an imaginary world half the time! What other job lets you do that?? Other than acting which would be too cool.

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Do you watch Castle or read the books? If you sent in one of the Richard Castle books to Nathan Fillion would he sign it as Richard Castle for you?

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About Katie St. John-Shin

I believe in living life and not letting it pass you by. I mean, come on, if you really want to do something but don't have the courage to do it so you let the opportunity disappear, you may regret it for the rest of your life. How can you know what you're capable of unless you go for it? Like every writer, I naturally plan on becoming a world-famous writer. I love reading, writing, fitness, coffee, watching my favorite movies/shows, listening to music, and trying new things even if they're sometimes terrifying. I'm a stay-at-home mom, a writer, and a POP Pilates instructor. I didn't think I'd succeed at that last one but I did it! I confronted my fears, dealt with things I didn't want to deal with, and completed the training! POP Pilates classes are coming soon to mid-Nebraska!
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8 Responses to The Life of a Writer: Reality Vs Fiction

  1. ShadowDancer says:

    My two favorite Castle quotes:

    “I’m not Patterson rich, but I do okay.” As they walk into his house in the Hamptons.

    At their writer poker game (which I really wish they still did), somebody says, “Patterson’s running about fifteen minutes late.”
    Castle: “He probably needs the time to write another book.”

    • hehehe I remember that last quote. I haven’t been able to get far enough in the show to see his house in the Hamptons so I don’t remember the Patterson rich quote but that doesn’t stop me from chuckling at it. Sometimes I wish I had a TV connection so I could watch shows on time but Netflix works well too and is cheaper. I just have to wait a lot longer to see things. 😉 hehe

  2. “The real life of a writer is sitting every day before a computer or notebook, always trying to write[…]”

    Actually, I think that describes the life of the likes of Stephen King, too. The only difference is that his fame allows him to sell more books 🙂

    • Very true. I have a feeling he doesn’t have to scrounge for agents and publishers either. Ah to be that famous! 🙂

      • That is true. Then again, being famous also means your life is no longer your own.

        I’d love to be known just well enough that I could make a living writing and share my stories with a lot of people, but I don’t think I’d want to be any more famous than that.

      • Ditto. I wouldn’t want to be super famous. I mean, it’d probably be nice in the beginning but after awhile…nah. But to be mildly famous so I can make nice money would be lovely. 😉

  3. ShadowDancer says:

    I watch them on hulu the day after air, ’cause we don’t have tv, either.

    • Ya know, with hulu and Netflix and all the digital copies of movies/tv shows out there, I fail to see the point in making monthly payments for tv channels. Most of what we see comes from word of mouth and people are always happy to gush about some show they really like. hehe

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