As a your girl (which was, in fact, not that long ago )when I thought of a writer, the first image that came into my mind is a lone fellow with a week-old beard sitting by his desk in an ancient monastery-looking writing chamber lit by candlelight.He has a throbbing hangover, and his hand trembles as he reaches for a bottle of booze on his desk by a chaotic pile of yellowing papers. He lights the hundredth cigarette of the day, inhales deeply and takes his quill into a shaking hand. He takes a profoundly spiritual look toward the ceiling, and words start flowing onto paper as a divine inspiration, a call from God himself, quakes the very soul of this fragile entity.
My image has slightly altered of late. That is, ever since I've been proud to claim the title "writer". Though my first novel has only been in bookstores for barely a month, proud I am, because I always wanted to be a writer. Secretly, of course. So secret was my ambition, that my editor was among the very first people who even knew I was writing.
I had thought writing was some magical, mystical process that requires a long-suffering existence, a drug addiction and scarcely-clothed loose women laying around. Even though I wrote, this stereotype of a Real Writer haunted my brain. A Real Writer could recite hours of complex poetry from memory. He would walk into a room full of people, who would instantly be silenced by his intellect and his piercing eyes. A Real Writer's whole existence would be marked by his painful yet intriguing path.
I couldn't see myself in that picture.
And yet, I was writing. Or more likely, I couldn't stop writing if I tried. I scorned my sinful writing-habit as just "scribbling" and "a little hobby" and laughed it off, until one day, the novel was finished.
What was I to do now? Add it to the pile of hidden manuscripts in my drawers and start another one?
Or dare let someone else read it?
Maybe even an editor?
Six months later, I got the call that changed my life. And altered my image of a writer.
A writer is a woman, in her late thirties. She has two children, both under four, and she hardly ever has a hangover. She has also quit smoking (for the moment). She cooks healthy, wholesome meals, takes brisk walks and leads a generally happy life. Although her work space is in fact, by some strange coincidence, an ancient monastery writing chamber, her house is filled with toys, diapers and cooking pots like any house with kids in it. There are no booze bottles or quills laying around -piles of paper though, oh goodness, yes- and the woman hardly ever waits for a call from God or other divine intervention inspiration. She sits down and starts writing.