"What is it like to be a writer?" People ask me this a lot. I never quite know how to respond. For those of you who like to write or are just curious about the mysterious world of creating books and other publications, here are five unique aspects from my life as a writer:
1. I read--a lot. Barnes and Noble is my other church. I don't subscribe to a single magazine, but I read hundreds of pages and screens per week (sometimes per day) on topics ranging from patristics to politics. Why? It's like food for the body; I cannot produce quality content without a constant flux of ideas flowing through my life. This starts with the Bible, then spills over into every imaginable area of print and digital material. New languages (Espanol, Francais, Kreyol, Deutsch, Latin, Greek, Hebrew/Aramaic) also help to refocus my mind on old ideas in new ways.
2. I type--extremely quickly. This is not to brag, but modern publishing's only handwriting includes my signature on book contracts. The faster I can type, the more I can write. Before writing, I transcribed sermons. This turned out to serve as the best preparation possible for my current work. As a result, investing in a quality computer keyboard is one the best investments a writer can make. On the downside, I am 33 and already require glasses and fight carpal tunnel.
3. I consume caffeine--too much. I could sponsor a small country on what I spend on coffee each month. In fact, the back of my Starbucks cup this morning read, "You bought 228 million pounds of responsibly grown, ethically traded coffee last year." How'd they know? I better cut back!
4. I pray--but not enough. Writing is part science, part art, all God. I know it doesn't add up. I'll never figure it out. I pray to thank God for the ability to write, ask him to help me write, pray as I write, and repeat. Somehow this is still not enough prayer, but I'm working on it.
5. I endure--no matter what. One writer has said, "Writing is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration." I don't sweat that much when I write, but you get the idea. Often, I feel like the only difference between me writing a book and the next person is that I get up early, stay up late, don't have cable TV, and don't own an Xbox (Though I really like writing for television and would really like to scriptwrite for a videogame someday.).
There you go--read, type, caffeine, pray, complete, repeat. My work life in five words.
If you have any additional ideas, send them my way. I'm always looking for ways to improve.