Flexibility is something a writer must have. I don’t mean physical limberness but rather mental agility and the ability to work whenever you can.
The thing is, as a writer everyone else’s schedule is more important than yours. You will discover this very quickly, and it’s no one’s fault really; yet it is everyone’s. When what everyone else has to do is more important than what you need to write, you have to be flexible to fit around what others need you to do to fulfill their schedules so that you can work your own schedule into your life.
Plans change. Story of my life.
I was sitting around with two other writer friends and mentioned that fact, that if my life could be summarized into words it would be “plans changed”. One of the other writers said his life could be summarized in a similar way with only a few simple words “plans non-existent”. The third of my writer friends said he could go one better, he only needed one word “plans?”.
Writers don’t get to pick their lives, they only get to choose which stories they tell. As I found, writers are not people who work hard to become what they are. You are either a writer or you are not. It takes a creative mind, a certain amount of skill, whether innate or an intense will to learn. You don’t just become a writer, you are a writer and you can develop that, but it’s not an occupation it’s a lifestyle.
So, the plans of a writer are not their plans. We don’t live on our own schedules we live on others’. We just need to be aware of that so we can work around other people.
As a writer it is vital that we be compassionate and caring towards others especially ones that work themselves in and their own schedules take a priority over our own. We don’t like that, it cuts back on the time we have to write and limits the inspiration that we can write upon. If we have to work on their schedule how are we supposed to write in the moment, upon fresh and new inspiration?
It’s difficult to live on someone else’s schedule but very few writers have it any other way. Until you’ve made it in writing and you are the top; when your writing supports your living you’ve made it. Until that point you can’t be self dependent, you can’t operate on your schedule because you aren’t any big thing.
So be flexible, also be considerate.
Writers, regardless of if it is true of them specifically have been branded temperamental. Prone to mood swings, and I suppose we all are to an extent. But, the stereotypes that came before us have imposed upon all writers a stigma of getting very agitated when something isn’t going right with their writing. If you’re stuck on a word, can’t think of a good name, forgot where you wanted your story to go, erased a portion of your content that you thought was really good and may never get back, any number of issues that you may be having with your writing seem to manifest themselves in different ways, mostly aggression towards others.
So, maintain your integrity: as writers we need to be considerate, compassionate, and caring of others around us because often we are prone to neglect them. We’ve become so acclimated to writing characters, to dealing with things of our own creation that we’ve forgotten how to deal with real people. People who are creating themself as a character and the changes they go through we can’t control. Their attitudes and moods we can’t dictate. Sometimes we just need to step out of our world, and into our real world. It takes seeing others as they truly are to be considerate to them. We need to recognize they aren’t something out of a book, people are real people.
So be flexible, learn to work with them and prioritize their time above your own even if it hurts; and be considerate, don’t begrudge this simply because it’s not how you wanted it and it doesn’t work with your writing life. Don’t give yourself a bad name, simply because you are a writer and there has been many misconceptions placed upon you because of that doesn’t mean you have to live up to them. Be who you are, and if it be possible as much as lieth on you live peaceably with all men.
As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist