I Promise You Won't Learn A Thing From This Blog

The official blog for author Ashley Chappell. Check back every week for a few laughs at my expense or, if you know the love-hate process that is writing, commiseration.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Guest Post - Confessions of a 'Serious' Writer

I know I've been remiss in posting my own blogs for the past several months and I promise I'm hanging my head in shame right now. But I'm reeeeaaaallly hoping that the awesome guest post I'm about to give you will, if not earn your instant forgiveness, at least let me buy your love back through bribery.

Vanessa Eccles is one of the many talented authors that I've had the good fortune to become acquainted with over the past year. In that time I've learned that not only is she tirelessly dedicated to the craft, but that she puts that same level of investment into everything she does. She has recently launched an online literary journal showcasing southern writers and has also been documenting the transformation of a house into a loving home on the Ode to the Simple Life Blog. Did I mention that until her recent graduation she was ALSO a full-time student? Her strength, dedication, and energy are definitely an inspiration!
Vanessa Eccles

Her Official Bio:
Vanessa K. Eccles is the founder and executive editor of Belle Reve Literary Journal. She has an English degree from Troy University, and her work has been published by Deep South Magazine,  Suite T (a blog by Southern Writer’s Magazine), and Wisdom Crieth Without. She is the author of Psalms of Me and Collecting Light and is currently working on a YA novel. She blogs at The Writer's Block.

And now, on to Vanessa...

I've been seriously pursuing a career in writing for about four years now, and with every passing year, I've noticed more eccentricities about myself than the year before. My mind soars into a state of contemplation every time a unique phrase or picturesque landscape emerges, which keeps me constantly thinking about the oddities and utter perfections found in the world around us. Tolkien’s theory on people was “not all who wander are lost.” He’s right – they’re just writers. Writers are natural wanderers. We wander about the world looking for inspiration. And let’s just face it, we can be downright weird. I am no exception to the rule, so I’m going to reluctantly confess some of the things that I've learned about myself since I've become a “serious” writer.

1. I hear voices.

Oh, yes. You read me correctly. Luigi Pirandello described it right in his play Six Characters in Search of an Author. Sometimes characters come to me living and breathing with their own problems and their own stories. Unfortunately, some of these characters are naggy, annoying gnats that will not buzz off until their stories are told. The upside is that this makes me write more so that I can escape from the guilt.

2. I am a dreamer.

I’m not sure it’s possible to pursue a writing career without being somewhat of a dreamer. It’s a tough business, and often the rewards are slim. So for many of us, our real hope with writing is bringing the story to life for readers and having them resonate with something we’ve shared. I dream to someday smell my words and hold them in my hand in a physical print form.

Belle Reve Literary Journal

3. I am a hoarder.

I admit it. Ever since pursuing my dream, I’ve acquired more books than I can house. My ever-growing library can be found stacked on my piano, boxed in the garage, a few in the car, some at my parent’s house, and at least one on every flat surface in my home. It’s madness. But to be a good writer, one has to read. Reading is the study of the craft, but it’s also a crippling disease that has taken over countless hours of my life and has made me, as Phil Robertson would say, “happy, happy, happy.”

4. I’m a spoiler.

My poor husband has just now entered the world of reading, and I’m utterly ecstatic about it! We listen to audiobooks together and discuss them, but I cannot help but tell him where I think the writer is going with the storyline or what I think is going to happen next. Sadly, I’m often right. The same thing happens with movies. I have become one of those horribly annoying people that tell everyone what is going to happen at a movie. Go ahead, throw your digital popcorn at me. I deserve it. I know I need to keep my mouth shut, but it’s an inescapable compulsion. I’m not sure if I’ve become the psychic of entertainment because I write or because I read so much. Either way, I need to stop for the love of my husband and everyone else around me. Wish me luck on that. ;)

5. I’m a loner.

After reading the first four confessions, I’m sure you’re thinking, “She’s a loner because she’s nuts.” And I’m happily inclined to agree with you. I've become more of an introvert over the past few years than I ever thought possible. I enjoy silent time and inward reflection. I love escaping into novels, be it mine or someone else’s. What’s interesting is that writers can be alone and not be alone at the same time. We enjoy our imaginary time filled with our imaginary characters. We’re like kids with imaginary friends – only our friends are better developed and well-rounded. (Well, they’re supposed to be.) And truth be told, writers write when they are alone. So doesn't that make us all loners?
If you’re considering becoming a “serious” writer, I hope I haven’t scared you off. We’re an eccentric group, but we have to be. In order to share something different with the world, we have to be able to see the world in a different way.

In all seriousness, what I’ve really learned about pursuing my writing career is that it’s okay to be myself. That’s what makes me and my writing unique. Nothing is more inspiring than the freedom of being wonderfully weird.

Thanks so much to Vanessa for her awesome post!! This is such a wonderful description of every writer I know. I can only imagine my friends reading #5 and shaking their heads about all of the times they've accused me of trying out for the Hermit Olympics. Maybe this will help explain things for them :-)