The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any. ~Russell Baker

This quote makes me laugh. Hard.

But I fear it’s a common misconception that writing isn’t ‘real’ work. Afterall there’s no sweat involved. No commute to the office. Heck writers don’t even bother with getting dressed most days.

And then when we sit down at our computers to ‘work’ what do we do? We stare blankly at the screen, watch the birds outside the window, check our emails, maybe even waste precious time on a Facebook game or two.

To the outsider I can see how this would look nothing like work. What’s difficult to show is how much is going on in our minds. While we’re fiddling around ‘doing nothing’ we’re actually letting our minds wander strange and sometimes twisted roads.

We inhabit a world where our characters have entire conversations, fall in love, flee from danger and decimate entire kingdoms of gnomes. We envision entire scenes, chapters, or sometimes mere moments before moving our fingers across the keyboard and filling up the pages of our books.

What’s so hard about that, you ask?  We not only have to tell an engaging story. We have to cull from our life’s experience those emotions best suited to illiciting a corresponding emotion from the reader.  Choosing the words to create the proper mood is more difficult than you can imagine since they come from deep inside us and who really likes displaying their innermost feelings to the world?

So the next time you see a writer ‘doing nothing’ don’t interrupt. They just might be saving that kingdom of gnomes.

One thought on “The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any. ~Russell Baker”

  1. Noooo!!! Not the GNOMES!! 😀 SAVE THE GNOMES!

    I agree completely with every word. I just wish my kids understood that Mom working doesn’t necessarily mean getting up off the chair.

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