Life as a Writer…

I kind of chuckle to myself now when people “ooh” and “ahh” over my life as a writer. If they only knew what it entailed I think that they might idolize it a bit less.

Being a writer is most definitely not your usual 8:00 – 5:00 (or 9:00 – 5:00) job. Nope. There’s no clocking out; no truly free weekends and no ‘normal’ night’s sleep. Creativity seems to be synonymous with spontaneity – this means that inspiration can (and will) make an appearance at any time of the day (or night).

Oh, I’m sorry – you’re not a morning person? Well, guess what? Your muse doesn’t care…

When my inspiration strikes at 3:00 A.M. (whether I’m already in bed, or just about to retire for the night) I’m faced with the choice of either getting up or staying up until I’ve committed the words to paper or computer; otherwise they will be gone with no intent to ever return.

Oh, I’m so sorry – you’re friend or significant other is at the door waiting for you so you can go to the movies? Well, that’s too bad because this is the precise moment when the light bulb of epiphany sparks. Running through your mind in its entirety now is the article (or chapter) that you’ve been trying to cohesively formulate for the entire prior week…

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all writers experience these things, but I’d be willing to bet that most can relate to some.

Other writer ‘side’ effects?

  • The addiction to coffee (or some type of caffeinated/energy beverage).
  • The need for said item at any given hour of the day (or night).
  • The new love of any food(s) that provide a quick energy boost. (Hello candy! I’m certain my dentist will be happy that you’ve entered my life).
  • The ability to have multiple ‘open’ lines of chatting/dialogue. You know – there’s your real-life friend and/or family member, as well as all those characters from whatever novel or story you’re currently writing. It’s like Tourette’s for the writer’s brain – the person across from you says something and in your mind you can clearly hear a response from your novel’s leading protagonist.
  • And sleep? Pfft! Who needs it?! Apparently my characters sleep enough for all of us…

Regardless though, at the end of the day (when I finally put down my pen or close the keyboard) I’m glad to have the calling of a writer. Just like the bards of days long gone, we writers soothe the world with our voices; and for brief moments we bring peace and happiness to others.

Candy, Coffee, Sweets






Have a great rest of your day!


Charline Ratcliff

Author: The Curse of Nefertiti, The Princess, The Toad & The Whale, and The Further Adventures of The Princess, The Toad & The Whale

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6 thoughts on “Life as a Writer…

  1. Clayton Bye

    I used to drag myself in after a 12 hour day at work, have dinner, spend a little time with the kids, then it would be off to my office to write. Usually I’d put in a couple of hours and be satisfied, but every now and then the muse would strike, and I would write into the wee hours of the morning, until I was falling asleep at the computer. At times like this such behaviours would go on for weeks. Once I wrote a book of 70 pages in 2 weeks. Another time I wrote a full-sized book in 3 weeks. It was exciting, but it was also grueling. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

    Now that I’m a full-time writer I look back at those years and shake my head. But we all must pay our dues in some way or the other. This mistress of ours is no easy master.

    So, yes, Charline I certainly empathize.

    I hear her calling now ….

  2. Salvatore Buttaci

    From the age of nine I wanted to become a writer. Entertaining readers and listeners with poems and stories is still what I want to do with my life. Is it glamorous? Hard work, rejection sometimes, and hours of revision would say no, but the joy remains. Thanks, Charline, for a great take here!

  3. Micki Peluso

    Charline, you really nailed it. I can only liken my muse to my kids who loved to interrupt sleep or a nap from lack of, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. People look at me strangely when I tell them I go to sleep at 3 AM–I’ve no idea why since that’s when I come alive. Like Clay, I used to work full time, cook a meal for seven people, supervise homework and finally put in 5-6 hours on the computer, marketing or wriitng. I have to admit as gruelling as it was I got more done than I do now. I need a dealine or I’ll procrastinate until the last moment.


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