(for my new friends and readers)
In case you haven’t already figured this out, my name is Nichole, and I’m a writer.
I say this in the same way as I would were I confessing to an addiction, because in many ways, it feels like one. You see, writers—we don’t always behave the way people expect, or in ways that others see as normal. Sometimes, we’re social. Especially when we’re in the company of other writers or artists. And when we are, we talk and laugh and behave as though we live in real society. Or, what feels to us like real society.
Other times, we appear to be very far away. It’s entirely possible that a writer will walk or drive right by someone they know—someone who is a good friend, even—and not see them. Not acknowledge or hear or speak to them. This is not a show of anger or disrespect. More than likely, it’s because our minds are on the other voices we hear—the ones that speak only inside our heads. Go ahead and talk to us if you want. Real voices are usually loudest.
Writers are observers by nature. We are the people who attend sports games and watch, but sometimes don’t speak. Most likely, we have not only seen and catalogued the game, but also every conversation, mannerism, name, and rule—broken and followed. We somehow manage to capture and remember pain, joy, and confusion in a single expression, in a single moment.
We are the describers of emotion, who sometimes delve so deeply into our own feelings that we come out on the other side bruised, battered, and occasionally permanently scarred. We are warriors of words, fighters of battles, healers of hurts, wielders of the sharpest weapons ever invented.
For a writer, staring at the wall for an hour sometimes counts as a productive day. 50,000 words in a month is completely doable if it happens to be November. Another month, 5,000 words feels like an unreachable number.
We sometimes run internet searches about things like poison and weapons and chemical or biological warfare, and then talk about these things in public without causing alarm. We are the people who will go shooting just so we can accurately describe how it feels to hold a gun, and who might fictionally murder someone who has wronged us in real life. We are the people who cry when our villains die, because no matter how bad they are, we are their parent, and we love them.
Sometimes our homes are spotless and organized and efficient. Dinner is made and the laundry is folded and put away. And then we wake up, and realize that we haven’t actually done housework for weeks.
We believe in magic, and fairies, and mermaids, vampires, and werewolves. We have seen the end of the world, and who survives and how they live. We have started revolutions and fought wars. We know what it is to truly, deeply love, and the power found in that. We know about destruction caused by hate.
Some writers wake before dawn and write in the wee hours of morning, others (like me) do our best work after midnight. (Side note: I am almost never coherent before 10:00 a.m.)
The endless list continues, but alas, this post cannot. This is merely a glimpse.
My name is Nichole, and I have experienced all of the above.
I am a writer.