Better at a Distance #IWSG

This post was written for the monthly #IWSG blog hop (Insecure Writer’s Support Group).  The goal of the blog hop is to support other writers by sharing experiences. At the bottom, you’ll find a link to other participating writers.  This particular post may seem that it has little to do with writing, but bear with me. I eventually get there.

I tend to overanalyze things–trivial things like passing comments, offhand gestures, overused phrases, even comic strips.  As I age, I find myself doing this more frequently. It’s annoying, even to me.

Recently distracted from my work in progress, “At the River’s Edge,” I came across a vintage Charles Schulz comic on the internet. It showed Linus, sitting with his thumb in his mouth, blanket held tight.  A bubble thought above his head read, “I love mankind…It’s people I can’t stand.” The absurdity of a toddler having a complex, diametrically-opposed thought made it funny. Here’s this child observing life, coming to the conclusion mankind is great, but only at a distance.


As I continued to overthink the comic strip, it hit me that Linus and I have a lot in common. I admire many things from a distance. For example, I like documentaries about oceans. The vastness, the mystery, and the creatures beneath intrigue me. But get me on a boat, and I’m losing my lunch before the pier fades from sight.

When I was considering careers during my college years, I loved the thought of being a doctor.  This was based on little more than having a high school friend whose father was an MD.  It looked like a good gig.  Unfortunately, physics, chemistry, and poor study habits got in my way. I ended up earning degrees in education and mathematics. Coaching basketball and teaching high school math became my new goals, only to have unruly students, low pay, and long hours take the luster off that career.  Once again, I got too near.   I ended up in corporate America, working for a Fortune 500 company, transferred from city to city for 32 years.

I guess taking a close look at anything can remove its allure, but writers aren’t given the luxury of admiring their work from a distance.  For weeks and months at a time, we are up close and personal with our characters and stories.  While creativity and free-flowing thought play a large role in producing a novel, much of the work is a grind-it-out process where attention to detail is a necessity.

I enjoy both the creativity and the discipline of writing.  Unlike the ocean and my ill-planned goal of becoming a physician, I don’t mind getting close to my writing.  Although, I must admit, when the first box filled with copies of my new book arrives to my front door, I love to stand back and enjoy the moment.

*Image from

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24 thoughts on “Better at a Distance #IWSG

  1. Writing is as up close and personal as you can get. When I retired from teaching –high school English– I needed an outlet and turned to my dream of being a writer. I work longer hours now than I ever did, but I love every minute. My biggest dream is to have a book on the NYT bestseller list one day. What’s life without a dream or two?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fantastic post today 🙂 maybe all of your career and academic interests have helped you become a better writer then ever. Like you, I don’t always like the up close and personal experiences. I don’t think I could ever scuba dive. I don’t like roller coasters, but i try to master the fear and least once so I have that experience and say without a doubt, nope. That’s not for me. Happy IWSG day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I’m with you on the roller coasters, although I haven’t even tried! Both my kids (now adults) weren’t afraid of them, so it’s not genetic.


  3. Tonja Drecker

    I think I’ll sit by Linus. We do get so woven into our writing, and I love it. But it would be nice to be able to flick a switch and step a little farther back during editing time. Still, there’s nothing more personal than our own stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You gotta like it all. I don’t know how these authors who churn out several books a year are able to delegate parts of the process, but they must to produce that kind of volume.


  4. Here from Alex’s blog. Your post really resonated with me. Mainly because I believe our life experiences (usually) help us mature into better versions of ourselves. Then us writers transfer what we’ve learned onto paper. Perhaps the various academic and career paths you’ve traveled have led you to find your creative side. It might not have happened if things had gone differently. Thanks for sharing, I’m not following you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kathy

    It’s not work if you love what you do… except it totally still is work. Hard work. But if you love what you’re doing, you don’t mind the effort. I love the close up stuff. Sentence level analysis thrills me. A slight exaggeration (I’m not a weirdo or anything), but the challenge of taking a sentence and making it sing? That’s such a great challenge and a great opportunity. Thanks for the post. Hope the writing looks good up close and at a distance for you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s the thing I love about writing – the intimacy. You never really leave that “world” because you’re always in it, thinking about it, planning and plotting. It’s a major selling point for me, 😉

    I read your About Me and I LOVE that your proceeds go to the animal shelter!! You are amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. debscarey

    As a Life Coach, I have to be able to examine information in a very up close and personal kind of way, and yet maintain my distance. The moment I become too caught up in it, I lose my value and purpose. With writing, I struggle to maintain the intensity of that closeness for extended periods of time, it’s why my WIPs get done in well-spaced out bursts. I find it frustrating as I feel that writing high slip away as life pulls me from the keyboard.

    Thanks muchly for the thoughtful & thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I definitely understand getting too close causing something to lose its luster, but I guess just as often I become fascinated by the detail. I guess I am lucky for writing to have fallen into the latter category. Be sure to relish the box of books arriving and each good moment. I think that is what drives us through the grueling in-between process.
    Sorry for being late on my IWSG comment, got sick on Wednesday and finally out of zombie-mode.

    Liked by 1 person

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