They are no easy task to create.
Writers spend months and months—sometimes years—writing a book. It doesn’t happen by magic. It takes hours and hours of sitting at a keyboard. It takes sweat. It takes hitting the delete button almost as much as you type forward. It takes a stern, dedicated mind and a passion that never fleetingly leaves you.
That passion though can be a horrible detriment to the rest of the author’s life. What happens to an author who stops writing due to circumstances outside of their control? What does that passion—now not exercised—turn them into?
Last week, Terry Brooks posted a blog on his website about the hardships of being sick. He didn’t focus on the fever. Or the snot. Or the cough that kept him up all night. Those were not the things he griped about. It was the inability to spend time writing. Unable to work, he grew grouchier and grouchier until even his wife wanted to take him on a long walk off a short pier.
Terry knows the grave truth about writing, as I suspect most writers do. Writing is a drug. It gets inside, to forever reside. It is a monkey on the back. A moment of pain and then release when done. It won’t be denied and if a writer tries it doesn’t work out well for them.
What happens to people when they don’t get drugs?
They get cranky.
Terry is a strong case in point. It is easy to tell when he hasn’t spent his morning writing. He is annoyed easily. He becomes vacant and doesn’t take part in conversation. He can barely listen. He is somewhere else, in the worlds he creates, unable to truly exist in this world or that world. It fractures him. He hates it. I suspect that’s the driving reason he has written as many novels as he has in his 35 years of professional writing.
I am a lot like Terry. I too am a drug addict. For me, I get agitated and easily provoked. Unlike Terry though, I can still focus on the other things in my life that must get done. But something builds in the back of my mind that I don’t think exists in his mind, an altogether dark passenger like the serial killer Dexter carries with him, capable of being unleashed at any given moment. It becomes an anger requiring release. Writing for Suvudu every day only softens the hardship. But if I don’t write in my own worlds, I am not the Shawn Speakman people like—not that many do anyway. Ha!
Now imagine living with that dark passenger every day of your life. There is no magic that lessen its potency; there is no silver bullet to kill it. There is only writing. Writing lulls that passenger to sleep for a while, gives the monkey a banana. Every book you have read has featured that dark passenger in between the lines, after every period, at every beginning of a new chapter and climax.
When you pick up your next book, realize it is the product of a drug addict.
But oh, what a great drug it is!