FCWC BLOG

A Writer's Life
2/21/2014 1:32:01 PM by: Dan Walsh

Every Wednesday I attend a men’s breakfast with guys from my church, including my pastor who is also a close friend. Each time I go there, guys get to talking about life and, inevitably, someone starts talking about what they do for a living. Other guys jump in and contribute to the conversation, little anecdotes from their work life. Usually, I remain silent through most of this.

Why? It’s not that I’m ashamed, but I realize, most guys have no reference point for what I do for a living. It’s easier just to sit there and listen. It seems like everyone else can relate to what everyone else is doing. What I do, by contrast, is a little strange.

I sit around all day and make up stories in my head, creating fake people who do and say imaginary things, then I write this all down and people pay me money.

Of course, that’s not what I say when asked the question: “So, what do you do for a living?” I usually say something like, “I write novels.” The look on people’s faces, especially guys, is often entertaining. As I said, they have no reference point for this. It’s not like they could say they used to do that, or they have a brother or friend who does that. They look at me as if I might be kidding. Or they say, “You do that…for a living?”

As if to say, how is that possible? 

After the initial shock wears off, the conversation usually gets very positive and they’re fascinated by what I have to say. Not that it’s so interesting, more that it’s so unusual. Since most guys don’t read books and even less read fiction, I think they must marvel at what strange and peculiar things must have happened in my life to bring me to the place where I would do something like this on purpose.

And of course, when they hear I’m writing fiction, they instantly assume I must be writing action thrillers. Because, well, I’m a guy. It’s always an interesting moment when I correct that assumption and tell them I write love stories and family life dramas. Usually, at this point I mention being happily married for 36 years and that I'm the father of two married children. I may even mention an action movie I’ve recently seen, and enjoyed, with my son.

Ah, the writing life.

What would they say if I told them I actually went shopping recently at an antique store with my wife, looking for a vintage typewriter from the 1940′s, just to have around to inspire me as I work. I purchased an exact replica of the typewriter used by Gerard Warner, one of the characters in my novel, The Discovery, which was a finalist this past September for an ACFW Carol Award.

Carol Award…named after a wonderful lady. If I had won, it would have been presented to me by ladies. 90% of those clapping, (if I had won), would have been ladies. I was the only guy at my table. The only guy actually nominated this year in any category. And you know what? None of this bothers me, not even a little.

 

But it does make for interesting conversation around the breakfast table on Wednesday mornings. 

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Comments

Tez Brooks From Orlando At 9/3/2014 12:01:29 PM

Dan I loved this. Thanks for reminding me Im not alone when I'm around other men that don't have a clue about what I do for a living. Us male writers should make it a point to hang out more often. I think it's vital. Great blog dude! Now excuse me while I go lift weights and scratch.

Tracee Jones From Mount Dora, Fl At 8/26/2014 10:36:38 AM

Love it! :) I'm working on becoming you full-time one day. LOL

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