Writing is in my blood. It has turned me into a mad man with a pad. I’m always thinking of new ideas, honing my craft, grabbing ideas out of the ether and putting them to work. I record conversations I hear, lines from novels I enjoy, you name it, I’ve probably jotted it down. It’s helped me to create some very realistic characters, but it’s also turned me into a full-time observer.
As a writer, you can’t really help it. You hear something catchy, or you’re struck with genius, you record. You store that data for prospecting. When you get down to writing, you’re going to strike gold with your words, you can just feel it. It’s an amazing experience, but it’s also a burden. The down side to always writing is that you’re never fully engaged in your life. I love my life, I love what I do, but everything has a price.
Not to jump too far into the deep, but some of the best moments in my life, I’ve been elsewhere in my head. I’ve been absorbing the details, the interactions, in such a way that I’m no longer a part of it, I’m outside looking in. It’s a very surreal experience and, more often than not, I’m not aware I’m doing it. This sense of always watching, never interacting, is the very reason why Kesey stopped producing work. He’d rather “be a lightning rod than a seismograph.”
Adding to that, I have deadlines, the desire to produce more work faster, the desire to produce polished gems, the desire to get it all done and still have time to live the life I write about. It’s intense (just like camping), but it’s what I live for. To that end, I’ve come to adopt the do what you do when you do it lifestyle. Writing is what is most important to me. If I write a hundred books, that’s swell. If I only write two, that’s okay. I will produce as much as I can in the time that I have, but I’m not going to destroy myself because of it.
It’s important to keep your priorities and take everything in moderation. Time in this realm is brief, so make sure you’re enjoying it as you create works to entertain others.