What Does a Real Writer Look Like?

(Still in San Francisco.)

I love it here, mainly because it’s San Francisco (duh!) and who wouldn’t love to be here? The history is rich, the views are amazing, the people are friendly, the food is to die for and of course, there is the ocean. The ocean is the one attraction I am most drawn to. There is something calming about Ocean Beach. In the early morning when I like to go out, it’s cold, wet, misty, quiet. It’s also deserted. It’s so far removed from the rest of the city, very rustic and wild, it’s almost like being on another planet.

I gather a lot of inspiration from the beach. Take a long walk with nothing but sand on one side and the roar of the waves on the other and a person’s head can clear easily. I write a lot when I come here, but I also write a lot any time I’m away from home and Real Life.

Let’s face it, Real Life is no casual walk on the beach. It’s tedious and scary. I think that’s why it takes so long for me to unwind from Real Life in order to sit down and write. I’m getting better, thanks to Write or Die and an occasional little self-flogging.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past blaming my abilities (or lack of them) on Real Life. I imagined Real Writers sitting in coffee shops in Paris (or San Francisco) with their glasses of wine or demitasses of espresso, chain smoking Turkish cigarettes while penning the next best seller between spirited conversations of politics and love with other like souls. I would love nothing more than to take a little apartment here and work six to eight hours a day after my morning walk along the beach.

Unfortunately, I’ve got to work for a living.

The truth is that most Real Writers are not romantic personalities sitting in dark cafes. Most Real Writers have Real Lives.

One of my recently published internet buddies is a Real Doctor. He has a family and other pursuits, including playing mandolin in a bluegrass band and regular games of golf. How he found time to write a book, I don’t know. (Yes, I do.)

I know others who are Real Young Mothers. I was a terribly pre-occupied young mother. There was no way I could write with small children in the house, or maybe that was me then. I might have changed in twenty years. These published Real Mothers manage to crank out books all the time, even in the chaos.

A Real Writer plugs along, picking up knowledge, making the craft better along the way. The best path to becoming a Real Writer is to tell yourself you ARE. I take a jewelry making class and the teacher calls all of us Jewelry Artists. Not students, not wannabes, but Artists.

Set the bar and get there. Make it Real.