Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Glamorous Life of a Writer (Not!)

At a recent writer’s workshop and book signing a lady commented that because I was a writer I must lead a very glamorous, exciting life—you know shades of Hollywood. She was virtually twittering—no not twittering as on Twitter, more like gushing with excitement.

Oh, if she only knew. Evidently she’s watched way too many television movies that extol the writer as lolling about in a flowing silk robe, lounging on a chaise while savoring chocolate dipped strawberries, sipping champagne, and dictating the next best seller to an overworked, underpaid secretary. Hah!

I really didn’t want to burst this poor lady’s bubble, nor do I wish to discourage any reader of this blog who aspires to be the next great NY Times best-selling author. But, alas and alack, my real life is boring. Honestly. My day is filled with many of the same activities as anyone else’s life. I still do laundry, cook dinner, balance the checkbook, and buy groceries. Okay, I see your eyes glazing over, so I’ll stop there.

I can’t speak for all authors, just me—I’m not glamorous. While some writers go down to the local coffee shop or library to write, I find those atmospheres to distracting, so I converted a spare bedroom into my office. Because my writing is done at home, my lifestyle revolves around pajamas, or over-sized, ultra-comfortable housecoats. Forget bedroom slippers. In the summer time, I prefer bare feet and in the winter, plain ole socks will do. Occasionally, I don jeans and a t-shirt. And make-up? Yeah, right! Who’s going to see me besides my computer screen?

The characters in my books lead far more interesting lives that my own. That’s why I write. In truth, I hate to travel. Don’t get me wrong. I love experiencing new adventures. It’s just that I dislike traffic, and would rather suffer through a pap smear than experience the rudeness of airport security. Now if I were Genie and could fold my arms and blink myself to exotic destinations or wiggle my nose like Samantha the witch, then I’d be happy to whisk myself off to destinations unknown.

In my writing life, the heroes never wail because supper isn’t ready or wants to know why he can’t find his socks (because he’s looking in the wrong drawer). The heroine never has to vacuum or mop floors, put gas in the car, or scrub the bathroom sinks and commode.

Truth is I love my life, unglamorous as it may be. Being a writer allows me, each and every day, to visit new places, meet interesting people, face down outlaws, and reward my hero and heroine with their ultimate desires. It doesn’t get any better than that, right? Well, maybe the offer of a movie contract, with Ron Howard as the director and Benjamin Bratt or Brad Pitt playing the hero in one of my Westerns would (as Clint Eastwood would say,) Make my day!

Is your life as a writer or reader as glamorous as the heroines in the novels you write or read? Leave a comment and your name will go into a pool to possibly win a copy of my Western, The Twisted Trail. The winner will be notified by email. Thanks for participating.


I.J. Parnham said...

I would reply but I'm too busy right now dying of consumption in my attic while I wait for my muse to bring me my madeleine biscuits.

Carol Hutchens said...

LOL! Very funny, Ian.
But Loretta, I'm so disillusioned! No chaise? No chocolates? No MAID????

Very enjoyable. Thank you.

Susan Macatee said...

Hey! Your life sounds a lot like mine, Loretta! Great post!

David Thomas said...

Loreta, my dear friend, siting on your throne in your beautiful robes & gowns - Wayne in his fantatic tuxes & suits - YOU'VE JUST BURST MY BUBBLE! I've had these grand thoughts & sights on all that glamorous side. Now we all know the truth about you as a writer. Will we ever be the same again!?!? You still are a great person!

LaVerne St. George said...

As my husband says, "Honey, sell lots of books so that I can live in the style to which I'd like to become accustomed." Alas, it's still turtle slippers and fleece robes for me. But I'm with you, Loretta; I love my life. Not that I wouldn't welcome a change that I could also love, mind you. But I do love what I'm doing now, and that's the way it should be.

Sandy Cody said...

Your life sounds like mine, Loretta, and, like you, I love it. As for the life of my protag, I don't think I'd want that. I write mysteries and, being the wimp that I am, the first body I stumbled onto would send me over the edge.

Nice post.

Anna Small said...

Great post! Yes, we all have that lap of luxury life. My hubby will say, "sell some books so I can buy that yacht I've always wanted." Oh, sure - we'll get 2. But the best part is trying to find a spare moment to write and the family is clamoring for attention, while in the next breath asking why you're not rich and famous yet!

Sierra Donovan said...


Wish I could say I tripped over the maid on the way to post my reply, but my life is about as adventuresome as yours.

I remember the day I got the call about my first sale. I was vaguely surprised to find I still had to run and pick up my son from school, not to mention help with his science project. Maybe Danielle Steel has People who handle things like that. (But then, she never got to help build a cardboard Mars Rover.)

For most of us, I guess the glamorous life really is the stuff of fiction!

Zelda Benjamin said...

I don't know if I could handle just having time to write.
It might be nice.
I seem to do much better when I juggle my work schedule, family and writing.
But when that movie offer comes - of course I'll accept- I don't think I'd change my life. Okay, maybe I'll get that cleaning girl.

Elisabeth Rose said...

Well, I never sit about in my PJs or dressing gown :) I always get up and get dressed mainly because the odd times I don't someone comes to the door early and I'm caught out. Husband is the sitter in dressing gown type and he never opens the door to these early callers. It's always "You go, I'm not dressed." LOL
We don't have a butler you see.
We do crack a bottle of bubbly when I sell a book, though. That's about as luxurious as it gets around here.

Loretta C. Rogers said...

I thoroughly enjoyed all of your comments. Reading them was as much fun as writing the article. Ian, you had me in spasms when I read your comment.

Congratulations! The winner of THE TWISTED TRAIL is Carol Hutchens. Carol if you will email me off-line with your mailing address, I'll send the book to you.

Anonymous said...

Aw go on, Loretta...Bet'cha you do sip the bubbly in your mink-collared negligee while you remind Wayne not to overload the wash with suds and while he's brewing your tea that you like it with honey. And then you relax at your computer and drop words down like magic. You go girl! Am I right? Olivia