Monday, September 6, 2010

What is going on in her head???

One of my standard pieces of advice for aspiring writers is:
There are two parts of being a writer
1) The ability to sit, alone, for long periods of time, behind a computer, makin' stuff up.
2) The craft. All the skills you need to write a good book.

Now the SECOND part is huge and at Seekerville we’ve been writing blog posts in large part about that for almost three years now, THAT’S HOW HUGE IT IS.
But the thing is, you can LEARN the second part. The FIRST part though, that’s different. I think you’re either born with that or you’re not.
My mom is a really talented pianist. She’s the organist in our church. And she tried so HARD to get all of her eight children to play the piano. NO LUCK. The thing I’ve noticed about my mom is, she LOVES playing the piano. She loves it. I think people with a gift for something almost always, also have a love for it. My mom talks about how she loved to practice the piano when she was a kid.
I hated it. Poor mom.
But I love writing.
I’m so delighted that someone is willing to pay me to do it because I can’t seem to stop. I think, if all my writing contracts dried up, I’d probably still write for the rest of my life.

When people are frustrated and heartbroken and crazed because they can’t get a book published I tell them if it hurts that bad then QUIT. Just quit. Why put yourself through it? The bottom line is: Quit if you can.

Most writers can’t.

I’ve been thinking (always dangerous) about what exactly goes on in the head of a writer.
The Seekers and those who hang around here, we are all different from each other.

Some have jobs outside the home. We have city and country, metropolis and small town. Young and old. (well not THAT old, c’mon!) We have different churches, little kids, grown children, grandchildren, different number of children. Some of us have nice houses, some live in a mold-riddled, rodent infested, drafty, 90-year-old ranch house from which there is no escape (no, I’m not bitter!)
But there’s a common thread.


So what makes a writer different than a . . . let’s go ahead and say the word shall we?...NORMAL person?

Since the denizens of Seekerville are for the most part writers, I want to spend today asking, "What makes a writer a writer?"

I really consider myself an almost completely (and boringly) normal person. I mean a REGULAR person. By that I mean, no great trauma in my childhood. Nice parents. I’m from a huge family, true there were eight brothers and sisters, but that’s pretty typical really for a baby boom era family. I’ve never had a life threatening accident or illness. Good health. I’ve got four really lovely children. A nice husband—(well maybe not during the busy season, but that’s another post altogether). Only ONE husband. We’re neither rich nor poor. I’ve never come close to starving to death (refer to my alarmingly OVAL shape as proof).

But I like to sit behind a computer and make up stories.
I don’t just like it. I LOVE it. It’s really fun. Honestly, think about it. Almost all the PAIN of writing comes from the PUBLISHING end of it. The writing is fun, it's getting published, pitching to editors, attending conferences WAY outside your comfort zone. The dreaded public speaking. The editor directed revisions, deadlines, marketing, obsessing over sales, will I get another contract.
All of that is fraught with pain.
But the WRITING, that's just fun.

I did it for ten years before I got my first book published. I was typing away before we had internet at the house. Before I discovered writer’s organizations or writer's contests or critique groups. Before the Seekers.

Those years when I labored along in mole-like anonymity, what made me do that? I mean I can sort of remember what caused me to start writing, what made me type, “It was a dark and stormy night. . .” for the first time. But why did I stick with it?

I think there is only one reason. I love it.

I like my own company (Why not? I have plenty of imaginary friends).
I am a day dreamer.
I am, despite the way I act online, extremely shy. I have it under control. I recognize it and overrule my knee jerk withdraw reflex, but it’s there. I’m just perfectly content behind my computer. ALONE!

I think that’s NOT normal. Is it? Someone please answer.

But it feels normal to me.
A lot of writers talk about ‘people watching’. Sitting and watching the world go by and getting character ideas from that.
Not me.
I’m tuned out most of the time. I'm living inside my head.
I think it might be at least somewhat a learning disability and I’m not kidding about that. I have some strange glitch in my short term memory. I can be asked to do something, for example, by my husband, “Can you turn the water off in the cattle tank in about an hour?”
Husband, “You’re not going to remember.”
He writes it down, on the bathroom mirror. When next I am in there, OOPS. Cattle waterer.
It's completely gone until then. But when I see the note I remember he asked. That's not right. Glitch.

It’s just how I am. Things bounce off my memory and I can actually almost PHYSICALLY feel things when they click over into my long term memory at which point I'm going to remember to go somewhere, do something, mail something, buy something, without making a note of it and sticking that note somewhere I will be sure to see it. (I totally get Sarah Palin writing things on her hand btw. To me it's a survival skill)

Is the learning disability a factor? Maybe my mind is uncluttered with useless information like YOU HAVE A DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT!

Shyness--short term memory hardwiring failure--daydreamer?
What is the common denominator between us?
What makes a writer a writer?
Any thoughts?


  1. I can relate. I recently was so lost in a writing project, that I completely spaced out right in the middle of a soccer video game with my son. There I was just frozen on the screen, while he ran circles around me. I'm blessed to have a merciful family :)

  2. Oh my goodness, Mary. I think I'm your twin separated at birth, except for the normal family part of it (that's my other story). It gives me great relief to know I'm not alone. It validates me. It makes me want to jump up and down. Sometimes I think I should put a lock on my writing room door, because anytime I step out of it I'm sure to lose something - my coffee, my glasses, my train of thought. This is especially true now that I'm writing on deadline. I'm in my cave, my little world, and no one is invited except for my imaginary friends.


  3. Oh Mary, this is such a wonderful post!
    I wish I only mentally fogged during writing, but it seems to be all the time. I think I'm sometimes stuck inside my own head? My husband has fishtanks and sometimes they start blowing air, but most of the time I don't notice and he doesn't understand how I can't see it happening...I don't understand either.
    This was such a cute post. ;-) And I think you're right about that first thing.

  4. First things first:


    First in sets the pot going, guys, sheesh....

    BUT since we have a new Keurig one-cup brewing system, that's not even half important any more, so you're off the hook. And I brought apple crisp, I broke my Atkins diet to have some, it's soooo good and totally September.

    Lovin' it.

    Mare, we're freakin' nuts. Accept it. Embrace it. And keep writing because I LOVE Connealy books. So fun. So wonderfully written.

    I feel like I kept my writer caged long enough to raise my six kids and help with a few others... now it's time to play. I never, ever, ever think of writing as work. EVER.

    This is the dream and I'm living the dream. Case closed.

    Like you, I love it. Love what I'm doing. Love GETTING PAID.

    And I like the people aspects of it too, the talks, the hand-shaking, the visiting, the marketing. That's the salesgirl part of me showing up.

    But way more than that I love writing. Creating.

    This is a lovely post that makes me feel less freakish when I'm among friends. And "I call you friends"....

    Great words of wisdom and warmth.

  5. WHAT MAKES A WRITER A WRITER??? Well, in my experience, you have to be just a little bit right or left of center field, you know what I mean? Unique, quirky ... and PASSIONATE about writing ... just like you, Mare!!

    Of course, some of us are more extreme than others (ahem, Ruthy and Mary), but I find that I really LOVE having writers as friends because they are just so darn INTERESTING and fun to be around (the Seekers are a prime case in point!).

    I am still trying to figure out, however, how someone as sweet and shy as Mary Connealy (and she IS really shy unless you know her or she's online) can be one of the funniest (and most creative) human beings I have ever met. I figure it must be all those people/stories bubbling around inside her head, feeding her great lines. :)


  6. I too dwell largely in my head. My family remembers all sorts of things from my childhood that I just don't and the only way I can explain it is that I was there, but I really wasn't.

  7. What? You're suggesting I'm not normal? I thought everyone had people talking in their heads.

  8. I'm sitting here enjoying my coffee, trying to edit, and I'm staring at a coupon for a free caramel apple cobbler douhnit from Krispy Kreme. I figure that thing likely has enough calories to provide sustenance for an island nation.

    What makes a writer? A desire to drive your family nuts? A desire to disappear at lunch when you're at work because it's the only way to get what's inside you out of you? A willingness to live without sleep?

    And because we love it also works.

  9. My imagination would totally ruin my life if I didn't give it an outlet.
    Maybe my head would implode. hmmm, bad visual. sorry.

    I'd be in my head more than I normally am. For the years I wasn't writing, I was compulsively creating some kind of hand-crafted item or redoing a room, etc.

    There is also nothing more satisfying to me than finding 'the right word' or phrase. That makes me a writer.

    Thanks Mary!

  10. Interesting that so many of us are shy. Maybe we run up all our daily word count talking to our imaginary friends/book characters.

    I think one thing we definitely have in common is persistence. The ability to keep writing no matter what. The need to keep writing, not for publication, not for anyone else's eyes but for ourselves and the Audience of One.

    Thanks for the coffee, Ruth. I needed that. And we definitely have some of the best apples in NY, so I'll have a piece of the crisp. I'll bring some cheddar cheese and ice cream to go with it.

  11. Happy Labor Day!

    Mary said, "A lot of writers talk about ‘people watching’. Sitting and watching the world go by and getting character ideas from that.
    Not me.
    I’m tuned out most of the time. I'm living inside my head."

    It's my curse as well. I also post notes to my bathroom mirror. I have to go there occassionally during the day. I'm sure to see it.

    I'm glad to see I'm not alone. Well, I am alone. But not the only head in the clouds largely unobservant person who has to write everything down or they'll explode.

  12. Kindred Spirits, that's what we are.

    The daydreaming has a lot to do with it.

    I said to my husband a few days ago, "I don't think it's normal how much time I spend in my own head, but I can't seem to help it, and I don't really want to."

    He patted my hand and said, "I know."

    He's such a nice fellow.

  13. Since it appears we're having crisp for breakfast, I'll add
    the peach/blueberry one I just made because it's blessedly cool again and I don't mind turning on my oven! I swear, I will never complain about the cold again.

    Mary -- I loved this blog post -- so real and honest and contemplative. I don't think I'd survive the public aspect of authorship -- formal galas and public speaking and book signings -- Oh my! I think not!!!! I am selectively shy and would be tongue-tied at any of the above.

    I'm definitely someone who needs a healthy dose of alone time. Only I'm not really alone. My head is spinning with ideas and characters and they can be more distracting then the flesh and blood kind.

    When I was a kid I never minded going to bed or long Sunday afternoon drives. I viewed those times as opportunities to socialize with my story people. It was years before I learned that most everyone I knew didn't have a headful of stories clamoring to get out. By high school I had perfected the 'studious' face which enabled me to appear intricately involved in school, while really I spent the whole day writing alternate endings to books I had read. Sigh, I was never a NORMAL child, but isn't normal hight over-rated? LOL

  14. I can so relate, Mary! Most writers--or at least many writers--are introverts and live within our heads. We don't find ourselves boring, although maybe other people do! Fun post.

  15. Hmmm...I am a people watcher and eavesdropper. The eavesdropping drives my husband bonkers when we're out. He also doesn't buy into the fact that it IS writing research.

    I didn't realize for along time that when other people saw a couple walking down the street...they were in fact just a couple walking down the street. Because in my mind it was a story...I saw the couple and started wondering, or making up a scene, about them. Ha! Just the way I'm wired I guess.

    Happy Labor Day!

  16. Can I tell you what makes a writer? Not really. I can't explain to myself why I can't get the people out of my head until they are on paper. I can't explain why when I stopped writing to homeschool my three kids I got depressed. I can't explain the excitement I get when a really good story starts churning.

    I just know that whether I get published or not (hopefully yes!) that I'll be writing. Whether it's poetry or fiction or short stories I have to write.

  17. Like James Michener once said, "I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions."

    That's me.

    Plus, I love having a legitimate reason for talking with the voices in my head without being committed.

    Great post, Mary.

  18. My theory is that the only common denominator is that we have really active imaginations. Because some writers are extroverts. But most of us are introverts, because having a big imagination is a little weird. We know it. Other people know it, and they let us know they know it. That's why I've never been part of the popular crowd! LOL

    But at the same time, writing has gotten me more friends than I've ever had in my life, and I like having friends. :-) Especially other geeky people like me who make up stories and love it.

  19. I remember when I'd be upset about something, thinking highschool here. Terrible invention...high school....
    It would torment me. I learned to write it down. I'd write heated letters complaining, telling someone off, raging about some issue.

    Then I'd burn the letter. But somehow, getting it on paper got it out of my head.

    I highly recommend telling people off on paper. Or on the computer. That saves on matches because you MUST DESTROY IT.

  20. Alex, I know just what you mean about getting lost inside your head. I'll just be gone then something will snap me back into the world again and I'll have missed a whole lotta stuff.

    Carla, the thing about that 'cave' is, I'm so contented there. I'm so happy alone.

    So very, very alone.

  21. And, just fyi, NEXT POST FROM ME...

    will be a giveaway of Wrangler in Petticoats. It's releasing October 1st. I should have my authors copies by that time.

    I sooooo wish I'd have them by ACFW. If I do, I'll bring some along, but I usually get them about a week before their release, so probably not.

  22. I just finished the galley edits of Sharpshooter in Petticoats. I spend last week doing that.

    I am soooooo in love with that book. I don't even know if anyone else will care but it's just this wonderful, explosive conclusion to the Lassoed in Texas series, the Montana Marriages series and the Sophie's Daughters series.

    I just had more fun than a human being should be allowed to have.

  23. Hahaha who would have guessed that Mary is shy? Not me! She's such a live wire online! Guess what though, I'm REALLY shy too! I don't think it shows online but in real life I make nary a peep around new people. I don't mind being alone at all. Maybe I should try my hand at writing. :-P

    Thanks for another great post!

    XOXO~ Renee

  24. And I love talking to other writers. I get almost desperate to talk to them and I really can't believe how LONG we can talk.

    I saw Erica at a book signing a couple of weeks ago. Good Golly Miss Molly, how many HOURS did we sit and talk???

    Maybe...five or six hours. A three hour supper and a nearly three hour breakfast.

    And it never flagged, we just speak a strange language and mostly, I think NON-writers find that excrusiatingly boring. (Maybe that's just me! they find boring)

    But another writer, you've got all this WRITER stuff dammed up because no one wants to hear it, plus you've got the whole story inside your head and finally a willing victim to discuss it with.

  25. Lisa and Teri Dawn are ladies I've met this year on the road.

    Are you both going to be at ACFW?
    I hope so. It's so wonderful to see familiar faces. And Teri, you're bringing one of your writing students, right?

    A Genesis finalist. Sooooo proud of her.

    I'll see you soon!!!!!!!

    Okay, I just had a stab if panic. Giddy excitement laced with panic.

    I think I'll try and catch that feeling in a book. :) Except I don't know how I'm going to send one of my cowboys to a writer's conference???????????

  26. Walt, this line:
    A desire to disappear at lunch when you're at work because it's the only way to get what's inside you out of you?

    That's what's going on. Stuff inside we need to get out. Why would putting it on paper help though? Why? Why? Why?

  27. I was so painfully shy as a child it was just sick. I remember hiding behind my mom, my face buried in her skirt.

    I was the third of eight kids and maybe there's something about having that huge family, you've got everyone you need right there, you don't have to go out into the world to find friends ( sisters and brothers...that I probably squabbled with about eight hours a day-mom has a hearing aid now, she was probably PRAYING for her hearing to go back then)

  28. Kav, I remember when we'd be driving long stretches when my girls were young and they'd be all..."Are we there yet??"

    And I'd say, can't you all just TUNE OUT? Can't you daydream? Just do it. This trip will pass a lot more quickly if you all spend an hour inside your heads.

    That made sense to me. I suppose they all just thought Mom was crazy. But I totally get the daydreaming, tuning out thing.
    I do it TERRIBLY watching TV but a book pulls me in HARD. I'm all the way invested there.


    I am reading right now, The Healers Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson.


    Melanie, I swear I can HEAR your heroine's voice, see the world you've created. I knew it'd be good because I've read some of your stuff, but it's brilliant.
    Get your hands on it

  30. Rose, I do this ALL THE TIME. I see something and it's BAM a book, the foundations of it, written in the blink of an eyes.

    Strange behavior really.

  31. Dianna, you really got depressed when you couldn't write? Wow, I love knowing that. It's like, "Honey, the doctor says I have to......"
    I'm writing now for MEDICINAL reasons. :)

  32. Renee, the think about ONLINE is, we are WRITING. We aren't really talking to people. And writing, hey, that's what we do.

    People ask me sometimes to give a speech. I avoid it like the plague but sometimes there is NO ESCAPE.

    So they'll ask me to speak and I'll say, "No, save yourself, run, you don't want me to speak."

    Then they'll laugh and say, "You sound fun."

    And I'll say, "This is WRITING, you don't know what your getting into."


  33. This is such an amazing post-I think we should send the comments to Psychology Today.

    I am totally ADD and have been since I was little but I was blessed with an amazing memory which has made me a prime candidate for Jeopardy or a Protocol Assistant to the First Lady.

    I have an almost photographic memory.

    Instead, I write.

    However the draw back is I am easily bored and I can't sit still and I have a hundred projects going at once. It kills me to be linear and work on one msc at a time.

    While everyone else talks about the joy of writing I am in deep pain trying to finish one project at a time.

    I thank God everyday for my eyes because since I first learned to read I have never been without reading material. I read the contents of people's restrooms. I tune out the world to read.

    An overheard conversation propels me into a make believe story no matter where I am. And being ADD I can hear the entire conversation of at least 10 people in any room at one time. Restaurants and airplanes are particularly difficult as there are so many things going on and I am aware of them all.

    I wear headphones and earplugs a lot for my own safety.

    My writing and reading world is often referred to as Tina's Happy Place.

    And it is...

  34. I can’t provide any great insight into why writers are the way we are. All I know is I started at a very young age telling stories (usually to the cows at my grandparents’ farm). My earliest memory is being five and my bachelor Uncle Henry (who I loved more than life) was asked to keep the kids busy one Christmas Eve. He took us into the living room and told us we were each going to make up a story. Mine was about a duck who travelled to an evil castle on a dark hill and defeats a troll. His took us on an adventure with a lonely squirrel looking for love who finds the love of his life and takes her to the movies where they share a bag of acorns (it was also his way of letting a little girl who adored him know that he found someone and was going to be getting married). After that it became a Christmas Eve tradition for the four of us to gather and each tell a story. My brother and cousin lost interest, but I never did. So, I guess I can blame my Uncle for getting my creative juices flowing and introducing me to the imaginary world I now spend most of my time in and love.


  35. I'll agree with everything but the shy thing. Mary, you met me. You know I'm not shy.

  36. Hey Seekerville! Missed you gals and all the fab posts. I promise to visit more often. I hate being busy! Don't ban me from the coffee and desert table lol!

    Great post Mary! Yea I'm guilty of letting my imagination run away with me and being very happy with just me, my story and computer!

    Have a GREAT day!

  37. I love your posts, Mary! They always draw me in and produce a smile or chuckle.

    What makes a writer a writer? I don't think I am quite qualified to answer that question, because right now all I am doing is sitting in front of my computer typing, typing, writing, writing, and loving it. But there is a whole big wide world out there to explore and I must say I can't wait to dive into it. Crazy I know, but hey, ignorance is bliss right?? :)

  38. Tina, I think this is why I listen to talk radio in the car. I always have at least two things going on in my head at once. Whatever is really happening and usually a conversation. Sometimes my lips move.

    I think talk radio engages that part of my brain that wanders. I have trouble with music. It doesn't seem to hook me in the same way a voice does. So if the radio is TALKING that's enough to let me focus on the driving, but if it's music, then the conversation starts and distracts me from the world.

    This cannot be a good think.

    But isn't ADD sometimes a problem with reading? I think I have it too, but a book draws me deeply in. So maybe I have a very special writer reader centric form of ADD.

    Let's go with that. It's a learning disability.
    I wonder if Ritalin will wipe out all the authors of tomorrow???

  39. I've learned to write 'on the edge' because I write at the day job. (Note I didn't say writing IS the day job!) I have to be ready to jump up to answer the phone, greet a customer who's come in, accept deliveries, etc. But in between...I'm elsewhere.

    It was slow at work in June--so much so that I was afraid I'd come home from vacation to a lay-off notice because my bosses, who were covering for me, would finally notice how little I did for them each day.

    Instead, my boss said he could see why they had to have a WRITER in there--someone who could entertain herself through all the boring hours. Yep, job is safe for now, and it's a good thing, because I rarely get any writing done at home what with the farm, garden, family, and all.

  40. I think if I pushed it, I could qualify for a handicapped parking sticker.

  41. Kirsten!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I used to talk to the cows and pigs.

    So WEIRD!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But I think that was part of my shyness. They never judged me.

  42. I love this post, Mary. I can so relate. I began writing (with serious intent) nearly twenty years ago, long hand. I didn't even have a type writer, had never heard of email, didn't know diddly about the internet or anything much at all about the writing world.

    And as for being shy, like you I have a different personality on line than in person. I'm always the quiet one of the group, and the one who stammers and blushes when more than two people turn their attention on me while I'm speaking. But I'm also trying to get a handle on that, and am dealing better with it than I once did. I've always felt there was a glitch in me too. From brain to keyboard the communication line is wide open. I can say what I mean with ease. From brain to mouth the words get detoured and caught in the rain and thrown by their horses until when they finally make it to my mouth they barely resemble the thoughts that engendered them.

    I hope we get a chance to meet at Indy, even if we just stand there and grin at each other. :)

  43. Tamera, I know no such thing.

    We're writers, that transcends shyness.

    You weren't shy with me, and you also saved my life. I'd still be curling around the edges of Canton, OH looking for an off
    ramp if it wasn't for you. God bless you, girl.

  44. I loved your post, Mary, and I LOVE writing! I have to admit, though, I'm not shy. My mom even wrote in my baby book that I'd never known a stranger. Still, I'm not much of a risk-taker, so this whole publishing thing was a big leap of faith.

    What makes a writer a writer? I don't think there's any formula, but you do seem to have nailed a few commonalities. It seems the stories are just floating in my head and I have to get them out. If I'm not writing them down, they are still there.

    I laughed at your comment about the kids on a trip. I've thought of that so many times. I used to tell mine to just make up stories in their heads when they couldn't sleep. I'd get that inevitable, "Mooooom," signifying I was an idiot.

    Stop if you can? Well, I guess I'm a writer, because I can't. :)

  45. i always learn so much from reading your postings :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  46. Casey I think these words you wrote ....sitting in front of my computer typing, typing, writing, writing, and loving it.....

    That's a writer, girl. You don't have to have a book on a shelf somewhere to be one.

  47. Lori, the words get caught in the rain and thrown by horses. LOL I love it!!!!!!!

    Lori, honey, four magic words.

    What do you write?

    Apply these words to everyone. Guaranteed conversation. And they'll ask you and you're OFF!!!

    The ACFW conference is a perfect writer's world.

    Even if you spend a part of it in your bedroom crying. That's normal, too.

  48. LORNA is having a launch party for her book MAKING WAVES this Sunday. I can't WAIT.

    I always have a great time with Lorna, though I suppose she'll be busy. I'll get Dawn to talk to me. And Judy Miller will be there. I haven't seen her for a long time. Such a sweet lady, so talented.

    Lorna's book is wonderful.

    Buy it HERE

  49. Mary,

    I think every writer can relate to this!

    And the memory thing - I have to set timers for myself: Pick up child from work, take food off stove before burnt beyond belief: take laundry out of dryer before you have to wash the whole darn thing over again!
    Because I get so consumed in my computer, I totally lose track of time and space. Can't count how many times things have boiled over on my stove while I'm 10 feet away on my laptop. (Can you tell I HATE cooking. Standing at the stove waiting for something to cook is the biggest waste of time possible. That's when I get ADD! Must go back to my book.)

    My favourite thing is to have the house to myself: empty! And do what I want without interruption.

    As a kid, I'd always imagined different endings to shows on TV. Or imagine new plotlines.

    Normal? Not sure. Normal for me though!

    Glad to hear you're also an on-line extrovert and real life introvert! Me, too!

    Oh, and thanks to a Grade 5 fiasco of public speaking, I will NEVER speak in public again. NOPE. NEVER.

    Whew. I feel like I've just joined Writers Anonymous and the 12 step program.

    What fun on a rainy holiday Monday.

    Must get more coffee!



  50. Great post, Mary! I wonder....was it easier writing without the internet and socializing online? Or do you have the discipline to turn of the net and write your books?

    Just curious...

  51. I love writing--I don't love the business side of it and struggling to get in the door, but that's okay. I know it is part of the deal if I want to get paid to do what I love.

    I'm a social person, but I can spend hours and hours alone in front of my computer with my people. I also daydream a lot, always have, and I think I may also be slightly ADD--I get an idea and I have to follow the idea through. I have to have lists and write things down and plan to do the grunt work of house cleaning and running the household.

    My Darling Husband is extremely social, so I have to stop my work to plan for a life outside of my writing world, but I really prefer just writing and being with other writers who understand my obsession.

    Thanks for the great post!

  52. I have the short term memory thing. Definitely. Can't remember anything, unless it has to do with writing. I'm definitely a daydreamer. I hear voices and have imaginary friends. I act out scenes in my mirror to get the right facial description. I absolutely love writing and my favorite place is at my computer. My husband told me the other day that when I die, he's going to have my head cut off, stuffed and mounted, so he can sit it at my computer and things will look normal when he comes home.

  53. Oops, forgot to mention. Extremely shy also. I'm better than I used to be. When I went to school to be a hairdresser, that brought me out a bit. I realized it was more uncomfortable to cut someone's hair for 20 minutes and not talk, than it was to make conversation. But I'm still shy if I'm out of my element. Somewhere where I don't know anyone.

  54. Dagnabbit, I had a whole comment typed out earlier today and Blogger ate it.

    Anyway . . . I basically said how I TOTALLY relate, Mary! I was a horribly shy kid and haven't really outgrown it. I don't remember a time when I wasn't making up stories in my head, acting out my own little world of make-believe. Writing them down started as soon as I learned how to print and spell.

    Conversationalist? No way!!! My brain just sort of freezes up in social situations, especially with people I don't know really well. I'd rather be alone with my computer!!!

    Oh, and the memory thing? Totally. That's a running joke at our house--the things hubby insists he told me or asked me to do and I have no memory of it. Too much else going on inside my head that's WAY more interesting!

  55. I LOVE to write, too, Mary! For as long as I can remember there has been magic in wordsmithing. So amazing that these mental images can spill out in the form of words on a page to be shared with others who willingly walk into a world that exists only in my imagination--and they enjoy being there! Totally amazing.

  56. Susan, I am completely dependent on my timer. AND I got one that dings for a LONG TIME, because if it only dings ONCE, I'll hear it, then forget I heard it and go ahead and let things burn. But I use that timer for everything. Clothes in the washer and drier. My can of Diet Coke in the freezer (I'll forget I did that and let it explode)
    It's called a 'coping device'. Along with lists and notes to myself on my hand and on the bathroom mirror.

    The myriad things we do to cope with being....a different kind of normal.

  57. Sherrinda, I spend too much time on the internet everyday, I know I do. But I'm pretty discipliined about writing my 1000 words a day. The thing is, if I'd stop hanging around online I could probably write 5000 words a day. But what am I gonna do with all THOSE books, huh?

  58. Shannon honey, run for your life.


  59. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mary.
    I use my 'palm pilot' quite often for notes.
    I CAN'T. QUIT. WRITING. Even if I dont' have time to put things on paper, I have them all crowded around in my head. Constantly. Taking up all that space in there ;-)

    And, seriously, I don't really want to be normal. Actually, my parents always said I was a sweet, but unusual child.

    I like talking to myself or my imaginary friends. I like thinking 'outside the box'. IT's loads of fun. But I've wanted to give up writing before too. Recently, in fact.
    And I tried.
    But then I started getting a little irritable, trying to stifle stories. It's not pretty.
    Even if I only allow myself 30 minutes of writing - that's enough. And daydreaming....
    who can stop that from happening.
    You should hear the 'other life' I gave the elderly checkout person at the grocery store this morning, just because I had to wait a looong time in line :-)

    Oops, sorry I went too long again. Sigh.
    Thanks again, Mary. I do so love to write.

  60. What I think is so interesting about writers is how DIFFERENT we are in many ways and yet we've got this thread, the similarity, running through where we just like to write.

    You'd think with something as much in common as being a writer, we'd be similar in other ways, too. But not really.

  61. Great post Mary. I have loved your books - still do! :) I laughed as I read this post because it sounds so much like me too!

    I'm there with you with being lost in your own thoughts. So much going on up there! :)

    Thanks for your thoughts. Can't wait to read more of your books.

    Jodie Wolfe

  62. Does it count that yesterday I was editing/rewriting and the hummingbird water I was making and left on the stove for 'just a moment' set off the fire alarm? (Seriously - does anyone know how to get the remnants out of the bottom of the Corning ware? Comet isn't touching it... UGH)

    That there are still 3 suitcases on the floor?

    Sheesh. I don't know... Not that all of it was writing mind you, but I do get focused and tune things out.

    I'm still way new at the 'game' and learn every day. Sooo nice to know I'm "not alone"...

    USED to talk to pigs and cows? I've been talking to any 4 footer for as long as I remember. Guess that's why my characters are mostly 4 footed. They talk, just non-verbally. Case in point - this video that author Kathy Herman posted on her FB today...

    Loved your post Mary! Glad to get to know you better, and other Seekers/friends as well!!! :)

  63. I just went and looked at my own Facebook page and it seems that my twitter account has posted this least six times.

    What is going on?

    I'm so sorry.

    I'm sure if any of you have friended me on Facebook you have long ago blocked me.

    I have tried to turn it off.

    Should I just go cancel my twitter account?

    I think I will. Is it posting once an hour or something? I have no idea what I did.

    I apologize.

  64. I have enjoyed reading about all you others who are shy, too. I went to the same school K-12 with the same people and they will swear they never heard me say a word in those 13 years. I think I may take shy to a whole new level, though! :) I'm glad I'm not alone!!

    Mary, I just finished Doctor's in Petticoats, and I LOVED it!! I've so got to backtrack and read the other 2 series before your new one comes out. :)

  65. Bluerose, you have fallen for my nefarious scheme to make all of my books required reading.


  66. Thanks Mary, that really encourages me. More than you know.

  67. Mary,
    Such an interesting topic!!! Writers!

    I'm on the extrovert side so I need to come out of my cave at times. Plus, I hate white pages. So I do a fast first draft that gives me something to work with because I love words and I love moving words around and changing them and cutting them get the idea.

    I also like to work on the ins and outs of a good suspense. It's like a jigsaw puzzle only better...more difficult for sure. And I love to write the ending to a story when the hero and heroine almost die and they're running for their lives and the bad guys almost kill them. WHEW! That's exciting to me!

    Bottom line though, if I didn't write, a part of me--a very big part of me--would shrivel up and die. Not good. Better to write and live. So that's what I do!

  68. Sorry I'm so late checking back but yes Mary I hate making speeches too even though my senior year in college I got my best grade in oral communications LOL! You make such a good point that this online stuff that we do is writing. I guess I never really thought of it as a creative form of writing but it totally IS!!!! I'm a writer!!! :-P

    BTW I just got Melanie's book, The Healer's Apprentice and Lorna's book, Making Waves which I'm reading right now! So far so good!

    XOXO~ Renee

  69. Im not a writer but can relate to some of the post. I am quite content to be at home reading or daydreaming I have a very active imagination but I am not a writer. I also a bit of a loner and quiet around people. but online I dont have that issue.
    I think part of the online nature is I can be myself more and people dont know me or have preconceived ideas about me. (growing up in a town and not moving people tend to identify you because of your parents or siblings).
    I can understand the loving passion like writing or in your mothers case playing the piano. When you are passionate about a something its something you want to always do.

  70. I like my own company (Why not? I have plenty of imaginary friends).
    I am a day dreamer.
    I am, despite the way I act online, extremely shy. I have it under control. I recognize it and overrule my knee jerk withdraw reflex, but it’s there. I’m just perfectly content behind my computer. ALONE!

    I think that’s NOT normal. Is it?
    It must be normal since I like being Alone with my thoughts, or maybe not. But so what! As long as you're happy with your life. Fabulous. And the books you write tell me you are beyond happy.
    I never was a normal child as I loved to sit and read Nancy Drew, Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden and then books with much more content, To Kill A Mockingbird, Gone With The Wind, East of Eden, Marjorie Morningstar, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and too many to name.
    Blessings and Keep Writing!

  71. I like my own company (Why not? I have plenty of imaginary friends).
    I am a day dreamer.
    I am, despite the way I act online, extremely shy. I have it under control. I recognize it and overrule my knee jerk withdraw reflex, but it’s there. I’m just perfectly content behind my computer. ALONE!

    I think that’s NOT normal. Is it?
    It must be normal since I like being Alone with my thoughts, or maybe not. But so what! As long as you're happy with your life. Fabulous. And the books you write tell me you are beyond happy.
    I never was a normal child as I loved to sit and read Nancy Drew, Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden and then books with much more content, To Kill A Mockingbird, Gone With The Wind, East of Eden, Marjorie Morningstar, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and too many to name.
    Blessings and Keep Writing!

  72. Loved your post, Mary. You're a hoot! Your candid account of 'life in your head' assured me that I'm not losing my grip. Thank God my hubby's so good-natured!

  73. Debby - that is great to read more about how you tackle the issue.

    I hate white pages. So I do a fast first draft that gives me something to work with because I love words and I love moving words around and changing them and cutting them get the idea.

    I also like to work on the ins and outs of a good suspense. It's like a jigsaw puzzle only better...more difficult for sure.

    Never thought of it exactly in that way. Appreciate your insight - and Mary's. Y'all give me hope!

  74. Introverts, extroverts, yack-happy, quiet, gung-ho, procrastinators--that's us. The only common thread seems to be the love to write stories. The imaginary becomes so real that we weep with and pray for our own characters, rejoicing when they're happy, worry when they're in danger or when we think they could be in danger. We dream about them at night, their bodies and personalities becoming flesh in print during the day. We become real only when in front of the computer...
    I could go on, but you know the picture already.

  75. I must write. Writing is a compulsive behavior with me. Thoughts about characters, scenes, conversations, etc. go around in my head constantly. Sometimes I think the compulsion of writing is a curse, except I LOVE to write and cannot leave it. Paradox big time. So I continue to write.

  76. The common denominator? HAHAHA long ya got?

    Let's see:
    1 short term memory
    2 I would write if publishing fell completely down the tubes
    3 I agree about Palin, lol.
    Survival skills get me through the day (such as that...sticky....note...where did I put it again?)

    Oh dear, I could go on and on. :)

    I would love to sit under that computer and write for hours.

    Till my brain hurt and my ideas are siphened and my bum is numb.

    *sigh* where is that darn stickey?!

    I love it.
    It gets my ideas down, especially character journaling lately.
    That's really helping me see where to take these characters.

    They still surprise me (and by them, I mean God;)

    Thanks so much, Mary.
    Have a good day, hon :)

  77. Mary, I'm not a writer. I'm a reader who is very thankful there are writers like you so I can get lost in my reader's world. I understand when you say you have imaginary friends; when I read, the characters become friends. (But I can tell the difference between my book friends and my real friends; didn't want you to worry about that!) Thanks for blessing us with your writing.