A recent string of truck commercials makes me chuckle every time. They claim the participants are not actors but “real people.” My imagination gets carried away. I envision my favorite BBC dramas with, instead of “real” actors, perhaps marionettes portraying the characters. Or the incredible dancing in the play “Hamilton” depicted, not with Broadway stars, but with puppets or paper dolls!
If actors are not “real people,” then exactly what are they??
Of course, I understand the point of the commercial that these are not professional actors/actresses. But it still has an air of comic absurdity to the claim.
This ad campaign also got me thinking about “real writers.” What exactly IS a real writer? So I went to several experts in that arena—writers who have published works on their resume. I asked these writer pals if they would finish this line: “You know you’re a real writer when …”
I love the answers and I’ll share them with you here.
Alice Wisler, Author of Still Life in Shadows
You know you’re a real writer when . . . your heart and mind dance together and there’s no way anyone can steal that passion from you.
Susan F. Craft, Author of The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia (Xanthakos Family Trilogy)
You know you’re a real writer when. . .characters, story lines, and settings whirl around inside you – teasing your thoughts, warming your heart and finally fanning fire to your creativity demanding that you bring them alive through words on paper.
Candee Fick, Author of Focus on Love
You know you’re a real writer when…you get so sucked into the story world you’re creating that you forget the current (real) season and head outside woefully un-prepared for the weather.
Laura Frantz, Author of The Lacemaker
You know you’re a real writer … when you’d rather write than eat! And that is truly saying something from a foodie like me! (I can relate, Laura!)
Sandra Ardoin, Author of A Reluctant Melody
You know you’re a real writer … when story structure dissection, rather than entertainment, becomes the focus of a movie or novel. I’m often thrilled when I can call out the hook, inciting incident, middle moment, and black moment. Ah, the things in a writer’s mind.
Janet Grunst, Author of A Heart Set Free
Elaine Marie Cooper (me) Author of Saratoga Letters.
I knew I was a real writer when … I looked back at my life and realized I was not a daydreamer since childhood. I was busy plotting my future novels!
Carol Stratton, Author of Lake Surrender
I knew I was a real writer when:
1. I started worrying and praying for my character. (or maybe I stepped over the line separating reality and fantasy).
2. I became compelled to describe scenery to myself instead of just enjoying it.
3. My cooking skills diminished as I burnt several dinners while finishing up a project.
4. I had the courage to say, “I am a writer.” Without stammering.
I love these responses from my fellow writer friends because I have shared most of these same experiences. I saved Carol Stratton’s for the last because of the significant truth behind her statement: “I knew I was a real writer when I had the courage to say, “I am a writer” without stammering.”
Ah yes. Do you see it is a battle we all struggle with? Not one of these authors based their self-description as a “writer” on getting their book published. It was an inner revelation that they knew, within their being, that they were called to write. They were indeed, a real writer.
It takes courage. But God is in the business of instilling bravery when we trust in Him.
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:24) NIV
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. (2Timothy 1:7) NIV
Photo courtesy of Silatip via freedigitalphotos.net
Elaine Marie Cooper is the award-winning author of Fields of the Fatherless and Bethany’s Calendar. Her latest release (Saratoga Letters) was finalist in Historical Romance in both the Selah Awards and Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She penned the three-book Deer Run Saga and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. She freely admits to being a history geek. You can visit her site at www.elainemariecooper.com