My father used to say I was “living the life of Riley” because I wasn’t commuting to an office or a factory but rather staying home and writing books. I wasn’t having any success back then, and that “life of Riley” tag was hard to bear.
Sometimes you have to stop writing and think about what in the story comes next. You can’t avoid it, it’s an integral part of the process. But if you’re not wielding a pick or a shovel, or sitting in a cubicle among other employees’ cubicles, too many people think you’re not, um, “working.” And since you’re not really working, they see nothing wrong with interrupting you.
But we are working! And working pretty hard, at that. The books, stories, and articles don’t write themselves. You might even have to do a spot of reading, if you want to know what you’re talking about when you write. And thinking about it is indispensable–even though it looks to others like you’re just fatzing around.
Once upon a time, my editor at Pinnacle Books thought my horror novel, Schoolhouse, wouldn’t be fit to publish unless I completely rewrote it… in two weeks! Boy howdy, was that a job! Patty feared for my health, I was working so hard. No lollygagging around the water cooler for me. I haven’t had to do anything like that since then, but I hope it gives you an idea of what a writer may be up against.
The next time you see some poor devil frantically scribbling away in hopes of being published–honest, he’s working.