Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Writer's Wednesday - Being a Writer with Kathleen O'Reilly

This week Kathleen O'Reilly joins us to talk about the importance of hanging out with people who just "get it"....the craziness of being a writer, that is! Take it away, Kathleen!

Here at the Pink Heart Society, there are a lot of writers that hang out and chat, and it’s wonderful to have that sort of common bond, because, well, to be frank, being a writer is like living a vacuum from the rest of the world. You’re in your own bubble, and sometimes, sadly, you can get lost in your own bubble.

I’m an introvert. If I spend too much time mingling at conferences, I start to panic and have a tendency to go hide. However, I wander around a lot online because for some reason, for me, online is safe (contrary to what I tell my children). I can communicate much better through my written words than my spoken words, and it’s easier to seek out those whom you have a bond with. You see, the loneliness of writing is a bond. Definitely.

I get lost in the worlds that I make. I get lost with the characters that I create, and it is only through zealous list-making that I function at all. And I must say, I do a great imitation of someone who functions well in the real world. We went on a road-trip this past month, and I was mulling over a story, working out plot possibilities in my head, like examining a mobius strip, turning it over, bending it a bit, trying to see what changes in the way it appears. My DH kept trying to coax me into conversation, but I was being pulled back into the bubble with my mobius strip. Eventually, he looked at me. “Plotting?” I nodded, and after that, he left me alone.

As an author, the month the books hit the shelves is a huge splash of cold water to the face. Sometimes you are glad you’re yanked out of your bubble, and sometimes you’re not. It’s at those times, when emotional peaks are soaring, or God forbid, things are tanking, that you need to seek out other writers. No one else but a writer understands. You need to whisper your secret dreams and your darkest fears and not be alone inside your little bubble. These things need to get out. Family does not understand. Friends (of the non-writing persuasion) will not understand. To the rest of the world, the dreams and fears of a writer are the most trivial of things, but for a writer, when the world ‘gets’ a scene, or when the world bonds with a character, it’s a high that’s been most likely, a year in the making. That’s some highly fermented wine. The converse is true as well, and no one else but a writer will understand the pain when a dream gets popped.

If you don’t have your writer friends, find them, making them, seek them out. You will need them for your own peace of mind.

I love writing. I fought against being a writer for a long time, but I have now accepted my calling with quiet resignation. However, without my writer friends, I could not survive. I could not function. There are stereotypes of addled and confused writers who get lost in their bubbles, so remember the first rule of writing. Always avoid the stereotypes. Find a friend.

If you have a friend experience you’d like to share, feel free to comment. I’ll be giving away a set of Shaken and Stirred (Book 1, out last month), and this month’s book, Sex, Straight Up (Book 2, out this month) to one lucky winner.

Kathleen O’Reilly is the award-winning award of almost twenty romances, enough to know she’s an author, but not enough to be cocky. Her latest release is Sex, Straight Up, a Harlequin Blaze (and Book 2 of her THOSE SEXY O’SULLIVANS trilogy).


  1. I stumbled into a varied and wonderful group of writers about nine months ago. Since getting to know each other we've started a forum and group blog. We support and motivate each other, and provide that understanding that you're talking about. They are invaluable and will forever hold a place in my heart!

  2. I recently made a writing friend, my first. i have crit partners who i like and friends who dabble with writing but this person is different. Yup we crit or brainstorm or word war sometimes but there's no formal crit partnership or obligation. Mostly we just chat, about writing, and writing with kids, and how kids and life interrupt writing, and why/how we ARE going to succeed.
    She's great and has inspired me to keep at it when life's got in the way a bit lately.
    As you said it's so nice when someone understands!
    Hugs, bec

  3. Do I dare to think you're talking about me Bec S? If so, you beat me to it. I read Kathleen's post and thought "that describes my buddy Bec to a tee!"

    We met online through my blog (although we're both members of RWA) and a day rarely goes by where we don't exchange emails - lots of them. Without her, I'm sure my current wip would be a mess or very boring to say the least. We understand that even if we're not writing, we're thinking about writing. We share the problems of not finding enough time to write and how to balance mothering toddlers with our other passion.

    We've never met - hopefully that'll change soon - but I'm so DAMN GLAD I found Bec!

  4. I don't think it's possible to go through life without friends. School and peer pressure were more manageable for me because I had friends to rely on and who stood up for me.

  5. I apologize in advance for lack of comments beyond this, but we're getting on a plane in a little while, so this will be pretty much it. However, I'm so glad to hear that people are reaching out to other writers. Whatever happens to your writing, good or bad, there is absolutely nothing more precioius than being able to share (and/or vent) with someone who understands. :)

  6. I've been writing my whole life. I even got my college degree in creative writing! But I never had a writing friend until I started writing romance.

    I think the romance world is different. The spirit is generous, supportive, and kind. There is room for more ideas, more people, more characters to love.

    I do have non-romance writing friends now but I met them through a shared love of gin, so again, different world...;-)

    Maybe we should declare today National Hug a Writer day? (Or maybe not--so many of us are introverts. How about National Nod in a Friendly Way while Maintaining a Polite Distance Day?) ;-)


  7. friends are everything, they always there to talk too. they will tell ut he truth if u let them know thats what u want. commncation is key

    hot blaze books

    kim h

  8. Anon,

    Let me check in with the Cata-Admin and see who the winner was. I just got back in town, so we'll get right on this.

    Kathleen, the tardy

  9. Aha!! The winner is Bec_s! Bec, I don't know if you're around or not, but CONTACT ME! and I'll get the books out ASAP.