Writing Is a Hungry Hippo

Do you like lounging on the couch with a box of bonbons and your favorite show running on TV?

Oh I remember the time when I could still do it without getting fidgety. But when you are an aspiring writer and your head is flooded with stories, it’s difficult to take a break from your craft or put distance between you and your work even though it’s usually very healthy. When you have a passion like writing, just sitting still and not doing something for your passion is pretty damn difficult. I’ve noticed that the need to write has become so ingrained over the years, it’s nigh impossible to just relax and watch telly and air your stuffy head for a moment.

So I tell myself, no, you have to relax now, forget about writing for a moment. But after a few minutes I find myself sitting on the couch with a laptop, writing or planning something, or beta-reading. T is playing the guitar next to me, practicing some song his band is planning to record, and JAG or Adventure Time or whatever we happen to dig at the moment is running on TV. Yeah, I’m supposed to watch it, give a friggin break to my brains. But after a moment we are drawing some of the characters and scenes from our stories. I’m thinking about going back to the WIP. We’re getting fidgety. T is arranging a photo session to get the covers done for another WIP of ours or he starts doing dry-fire drills with the 9mm, something in addition to watching TV. I’m wondering what I could do for our story to make it better without tampering with it again (because I know that at the editing stage, it’s counter-productive to edit it all the time; you become blind to the mistakes pretty quickly). But, hell, I know we should be watching TV and relax.

I feel like I need to get out. But even then, when I am out there, I’m just thinking about how to make the story better. I dump the boxing gloves and go bare-knuckle ‘cause I’m writing a bare-knuckle boxer. I look into the nightless summer night and wonder how I could best put its beauty into words. Everything I do, everywhere I look, the writing process, our passion, is there, and I’m feeding it all the time. In fact, it’s impossible to stop feeding it.

I think I’m finally beginning to understand what people mean when they say they live and breathe writing. Though to me, this passion feels like a hungry hippo asking for food, and I don’t mind feeding it.

How about you, guys?
How does your passion to write affect your everyday life? Can you do anything without somehow linking it to your writing process, whether it’s about wondering how to describe a certain action or image with words or embarking on some mad quest to be able to write it better?

– K. Trian –


2 thoughts on “Writing Is a Hungry Hippo

  1. I don’t really do anything that isn’t somehow tied into writing. I’ve had to sit in the living room (away from my computer) in the evenings recently because the geriatric dog much prefers to be in there, which means I can’t write/edit, so instead I draw pictograms for my made-up language or design buildings for my imaginary cities or watch a movie and make notes to myself about what I could draw from it — images, feelings, characters — to make my work better. I’ve been told I have terrible taste in movies because I tend to like the ones that make me think of ways I could write them better, which in turn inspires me in my own writing.

    Likewise with books: I can’t read a book without being critical or jealous of the writer’s style, and while I’m reading I’m constantly trying to guess where they’re going with their plotlines and character arcs. When I can think of a complication/surprise twist that seems to be foreshadowed but never happens, I get very disappointed in the writer — like, why didn’t you do that, why didn’t you think of that? So for me, any type of media-consumption is a kind of a dialogue between me and the maker, them telling me the story and me going ‘but why? oh, no that was a bad idea, oh wait I liked that, eeeee that’s fantastic, no no what the hell? fix it! FIX IT WAAH!’

    At work, I have a grunt job, so my headspace is always full of my story — planning it out, editing it in my mind, letting my thoughts wander to come up with new twists and complications. My friends are readers and gamers, with whom I’ve played out my characters or drafted into beta’ing, so my social life revolves around the work too. Sometimes I think that I’m just a channel for it, like an automaton built to weave the disparate threads into a story and without much other purpose. But I’m fine with that.

    • Thanks for sharing! That’s very much like how it’s with us too, actually. K also has a grunt summer job, so she’s got plenty of time to plan stuff. T is on sick leave so it’s the same with him. It’s somewhat annoying, almost, to have this dialogue going on with movie/tv-show makers and other writers: things get over-analyzed: “Oh, I coulda done that better!” Sometimes it’s like leading a double-life: your own and the one of your characters (guess it could be a triple-life then… depends on how many characters one has).

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