Saturday, October 15, 2011

Scaring Ourselves Silly & Other Writerly Hazards

4539970_fb6aa7c832by Elizabeth S. Craig @elizabethscraig

I was reading a great psychological thriller on Thursday afternoon. It was broad daylight, 1:30 p.m., the cats were snoozing in a sunbeam, the dog was snoring, and I was convinced that there was an intruder upstairs.

Yes, it was Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson and it scared me silly. But it wasn’t just the book. It was my own imagination.

Too imaginative? In fact, for a mystery writer, I scare myself on a pretty regular basis. I remember as a kid I’d get up out of bed all night (lifelong insomniac) and would tell my mother I heard noises or that there were monsters in my room, or that I saw a strange and ominous light moving across my bedroom…and she would tell me it was my imagination.

And darn it, it was!

This isn’t the only hazard of being a writer. I find myself in a complete fog much of the day. This comes from thinking about my book throughout the day…driving, running errands. I’ve been known to look blankly at people who wave at me from cars. I tell people that I’m just very slow to react to faces, but the truth is that I was living in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, as Mr. Rogers would say.

Changing as a reader,viewer, and filmgoer: It’s also, as I mentioned the other day, that I take a very analytical approach to most of my reading and film-going/television watching. Actually, I’ve just about given up on TV altogether.

Clutter: As much as I do online and as much as I do my writing on computer, I still end up with paper everywhere. Notebooks, index cards, scraps of receipts with scribbled notes on them, Post-Its. My bedside table is full of cryptic scribbles that seem deranged if you read them. At the end of the day, I try to collect all my papers and put them in one place. This is tough.

How have you changed since becoming a writer?

Photo credit: Muffet