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 Pixabay.com