Writers Are Not Normal to Normal People

crazy authorI learned some hard lessons in 2013, but hopefully I learned them well. One of the things I realized is: people really don’t get what a writer’s life is like. I’ll expound on that in a moment. First, let me tell you what else I learned:

– Sometimes, the people you meet online will have your back when the people you’ve known all your life, or at least met in person, are the ones stabbing you there. Sometimes your true friends are really your virtual ones. I’m so very thankful for my online Indie Author family.

– Of course, that’s not to say you should trust everyone you meet online. And sometimes the people you think you can trust turn out not to have your best interests at heart. There will always be cliques, and I will always be on the outside of them. But that’s nothing new to a loner like me, really. Sometimes it is surprising (not to mention sad) to discover who’s in the clique, though.

– People who respect you know that your time is worth something and they are willing to offer something in exchange for your expertise. Many authors I know need to learn this lesson.

Once you start valuing your time, the people who expect you to hold their hands will magically disappear. It’s like you’re sending out a beacon without even having to say anything. It was nice to be needed, but it wasn’t nice to have the energy drained from me helping people when I tried to show them repeatedly how to help themselves.

– I learned that the TRUE meaning of Indie means not being afraid of doing it yourself. Being of the “trad” era, I truly believed that I HAD to have a cover artist and I HAD to have a formatter. I let those ideas cripple me. The logic that “I can’t make a cover, I’m not trained to do that,” was poison. Yes, a person should know his/her limitations, but I learned from my Indie friends that being an Indie meant “knowing my limitations, then kicking them in the nuts.” And that’s what I did.

And I am the better for learning all those things.

The most interesting thing I learned, however, is that I’m not normal. Well, I’m normal to me. But it isn’t normal to normal people that someone would sit at a computer from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. chewing crushed ice and working away on all things writing. I love my awesome French door refrigerator, but I have a feeling the ice machine hates me. Sure, I take breaks – to go to the bathroom, to eat dinner (so I don’t get food in my keyboard), and… um, well… yeah. I take breaks. I used to take breaks to walk Mr. Pish, but… well, never mind.

All in all, I have no idea why this behavior is considered strange to people. Recently, an aspiring author asked me what it is I do all day. When I answered, he stared at me slack-jawed as if I had just told him the most warped, freakish thing he’d ever heard. That’s when it hit me that people just really have no idea.

Perhaps I should have had a clue when friends back East emailed me with “All I ever see on your Facebook page is writing stuff. I want to hear about YOU.” Huh? “How are YOU? What are you up to?” That’s a joke, right? I write. I help run Indies Unlimited. I evaluate books from Indie Authors. I try to market my books. I try to get press. I coordinate free print books to damaged libraries, and free eBooks to soldiers and veterans. I coach less experienced authors. That doesn’t leave much time for anything else. Sure, at around 8 pm on any given day, I’ll “retire” (sounds so classy) to the couch WITH my laptop and watch true crime and forensics shows as research for my spy series. But I’m always still working while I’m doing that. Unless my brain is fried, in which case I ponder plot twists in projects forever percolating in my brain.

All of this brouhaha made me wonder: do I actually get anything done? Then I went back and counted how many titles I’d published in 2013: eight. I had no idea I’d generated that many.

I live, eat, sleep, and perspire writing. I am a writer. That is what I do. And I’m glad. I’m glad to have so much passion for something…and it actually makes me feel badly for people who don’t. Sure, some friends don’t get it, and they fade away into their own lives, disgusted with me. And so, maybe I’ll end up with no friends, and maybe I’ll die alone. Hey, Edgar Allan Poe died alone. At least I’ll be in good company.

Author: K.S. Brooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist, photographer, and photo-journalist, author of over 30 titles, and executive director and administrator of Indies Unlimited. Brooks is currently a photo-journalist and chief copy editor for two NE Washington newspapers.Β  She teaches self-publishing and writing topics for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and served on the Indie Author Day advisory board. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit her website and her Amazon author page.

75 thoughts on “Writers Are Not Normal to Normal People”

  1. Love, love, love this, because I’m traveling the exact same road. This makes me feel as if maybe I’m not so very odd after all – or at least if I am, I’m not the only one. πŸ™‚

    1. Hey, odd shouldn’t have a negative connotation. If I may be so bold as to quote from the preface of my collection Odd & Odder:

      β€œThe word β€˜odd’ means nothing more than something that is not ordinary. So why is there a negativity associated with the word? Oddities are what make this world interesting.”

      Odd is wonderful! Thanks for joining me there.

  2. Nah, you’re not unique. It’s a solitary existence but the advantage we have that authors from years gone by have not had is the online relationships that we form. We’re all in this together and YOU’RE not alone, m’dear.

  3. no one should get so lost in themselves to the point where reality has no place to be, in existence,, it creates a void to the mind that has lost its sanity

  4. What a wonderful community this is and you’ve helped make it such. Besides, people who eat crushed ice and have French door refrigerators with ice makers are all good people

  5. I do the same thing except I take breaks in my writing to go to various social media sites and catch up on what is going on there or being said. Like I am doing now, Once a week I will take a movie break so except for the news, I rarely watch TV. My wife wonders how I can sit in front to the computer screen for so long. Also when I am not writing on one of my books, I am reading someone else’s book I downloaded and doing a review on them. A.G.

    1. ADHD allows me to be on social media while writing and chewing ice. My brain might explode otherwise. Good to see you on here, A.G. Thanks for your comment.

  6. This made me cry. You know why, Kat. I think it is one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever read on IU. <3 Thank you for saying what most of us think so eloquently. Much love to you!

  7. You have helped me so much. You always seem to have time for me. I can’t tell you how special that makes me feel and how special that makes you to me. You are a true professional.

    I wish I could make my husband understand that when I am “writing”, when I am “in the zone” that showers are optional, so is eating. And for that matter, so is sleeping.

    I have a friend who is an accountant. When February rolls around he works 24/7 and is rarely home. Everyone knows it’s tax season. Lucky for him it’s only a few months. For me, I can never shut off writing season.

    1. You’re a dynamo, Susan. I’m looking forward to your guest post running next week so everyone can see how amazing you are. Writing season. Love it. Ain’t it the truth. Thanks for your sweet words. πŸ™‚

  8. K. S. BROOKS,

    You are indeed an inspiration to anyone who embarks on the challenge of being a Writer. I have worn many hats; Military Police Combat Defense Forces (K-9 Handler) Police officer, Executive Recruiter, Individual Trustee for a multi-millions dollars trust and Chief Investigator for a law firm specializing in criminal defense. The most challenging and by far the hardest job I’ve ever held is being a Writer!

    Thanks for all of your help!!!! Wishing you and yours a very Healthy, Happy and Prosperous 2014.

    1. Aw, thank you, Michael! So glad to be of help. And your careers sound varied and fascinating…some great material for writing, I’m sure. *making note of police and criminal defense experience for later* πŸ˜‰

      Happy New Year to you, too. I hope you see much success.

  9. Kat, you are such a strong woman and a wonderful gal – brimming with knowledge, skills enough to outfit a whole team at NASA, and molars that can crush ice. And 8 books in one year?? My Gawd! I long to reach your level of achievement and I am so blessed to be able to count you as a friend. Write on! Best wishes for continued success in 2014.

  10. Isn’t it great to be among people who understand you? πŸ˜€

    Kat, I’m in awe of everything you do — for IU, for the Hurricane Sandy project, and everything else. And I have to say that you’re the most energetic assignment editor I’ve ever worked for. πŸ˜€ Most people who come here have no idea how many of our articles start with a question tacked up on the bulletin board in the minions’ lounge: “Has anybody here heard of this?” πŸ˜€

    In short, you rock. 8)

    1. Aw shucks, Lynne! You are awesome. I knew that from the first time we emailed and then I coerced…I mean convinced you to come aboard. πŸ˜‰ You’re an inspiration.

  11. Its always reassuring, and validating, to hear another artist say such things. It reminds us that we are not alone in what we choose to do, what is inherent. The part about letting people go to deal with their own lives, is especially something that comes to those of us who know, for sure now, the path we must take, and to hell what anyone thinks. Nice post.

  12. Our passion feeds the imagination of the world, Kat. There’s no greater purpose in life than that. And think, writers don’t ever have to retire! [or can afford to do so, but that’s another matter]. Everyone here at IU is part of a safety net we hold out to each other – and we’ve got you so relax. πŸ™‚

  13. Thanks for the wonderful post, Kat. You are an amazing woman as well as a very gifted author. I am in awe of everything you have accomplished in 2013 and in years past.
    I think I speak for everyone when I say that we really do appreciate all that you do here on IU! πŸ™‚

  14. β€œknowing my limitations, then kicking them in the nuts.” I like the cut of your jib, young lady! I’m honoured to feel I can count you a friend, Kat, and I hope that, being associated with you, some of your work ethic will rub off on me. You are a dynamo.

  15. My earlier comment may have been a bit glib – possibly because I identified with this so strongly – although I don’t work nearly as hard as you do. Please let me echo the sentiments of all the others. Simply – you rock and we love you.

  16. I agree Kat you are not normal.
    What you are though is this:


    very unusual or remarkable.

    synonyms: remarkable, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, marvellous, wonderful, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, miraculous, phenomenal, prodigious, spectacular; striking, outstanding, momentous, impressive, singular, signal, pre-eminent, memorable, unforgettable,

    Thank you for the patience and kindness you have shown towards me and all your invaluable help and advice about writing.

    Love you Kat! πŸ™‚ <3

    1. Shucks, Audrey! Always my pleasure to help. I want to say that your thrill the other day at being included in the 2013 Flash Fiction Anthology and becoming a published writer was incredibly moving to me. To see someone so genuinely excited and happy meant the world to me and moved me more than you can know. THAT is why I do this. Thank you so much for giving me that.

  17. Kat – this is a great post. Who is to say what’s normal? You touch many lives, inspire newbie authors and writers, and give much of yourself everyday. You live a life that I would like to be considered normal. Thanks for the inspiration and exploring the truth about ‘writing’. To truly be free we must write.

  18. I’m so glad we are not normal together. And I am very honored to know you and call you my friend. You have been a wonderful mentor, helper, friend and confident and we will meet one day very soon. I can’t wait.

  19. Awesome post, Kat. I can echo the same sentiments as the others. You help so many people and rarely get more than a “like” click on Facebook. Thanks for everything you do.

  20. Thanks Kat! Will pass this on to others who will come and join Indies Unlimited when they see the wisdom and support offered here. Kindred spirits, that’s what writers most often are. People who don’t write do not comprehend how hard we work at what we do. I’ve learned to accept that for the most part, but still struggle with time issues. So many requests from newbies who want to be led through the paths that we’ve foraged through on our own. You’re the best! xoxo

  21. This is why I don’t hound my indie writer Jim about ” when is the next book going to be done?” I have no idea how much work goes into “real” writing! Thanks for the break down from someone who loves to read!

  22. “Once you start valuing your time, the people who expect you to hold their hands will magically disappear.”

    That. True words from the lovely Ms. Kat πŸ™‚

  23. Great post. I can relate. No crushed ice. I am constantly having to clean my keyboard because I can’t help snacking. I mean, we are on enough!!! Some foods really don’t mix but I won’t get into that.

    It really is a crazy thing that we do. Promoting books is like having homework every single day the only difference for me is I hated school most of the time but I can’t get enough of this. It is like putting a big puzzle together even though this puzzle takes forever to accomplish. There is just NEVER enough time and there is a great balance. I mean we still have to make conversation with our loved ones, right? Now that can be a task!!! Haha!

  24. Everyone is odd, if you’re going to write for a living I don’t see how people can be surprised that you spend your day sitting at home writing, opposed to sitting in an office and… writing?

  25. Hello from a fellow ice chewer and writer. I just got published and is thrilled but none of my non-writer friends understand they just ask how much do you make.

    1. Hi D.D. Thanks for your comment. Hopefully you’ll be laughing your way to the bank someday…but until then, at least you know you’re not alone. πŸ™‚

  26. GREAT post! It seems to me that most “normals” think we only write as a hobby. They don’t realize it is who we are–and what has ahold of us–24/7. I write in my head as I eat, drink, brush my teeth, wash dishes, feed my cat. I dream books. Being part of Indies Unlimited is the most satisfying, valuable and validating thing I have ever done.

    1. Thank you, Melissa! And so glad to have you here. I’ve met some wonderful people through Indies Unlimited. I couldn’t be doing this without the support I’ve found here.

  27. sorry, brooksie, you’re never going to be “normal”….because God precluded that when he touched you and made you mensch. sometimes it’s hard travelling but you always remind us that it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. yr fellow trvler,warren

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