A Writer in my Head

I want to be a writer

And take your breath away

“What amazing words inside her.”

Is what they all will say.

I’m full of dazzling twisting plots

More profound than what I read

I’ll tie my readers into knots

As they watch my words succeed.

I’m packed with  writer’s insight. 

I sit here smugly now

Someday I’ll grab a pen and write

But first, I’ll take my bow.


Sounds familiar?  Now is a good time to sit down, put your fingers on the keyboard, and see what comes out.  Please me.  Please yourself!  Please us all.  You’d be surprised how much you have to say.

17 responses to “A Writer in my Head

  1. Ann,

    Have you read “The Book Thief?”

    • I had the pleasure of listening to it as an audio book about a year ago. I was delighted to find something written in the first person omniscient point of view–not very common! The reader had a wonderful way with the German phrases, and some of them still echo in my mind. It was a wonderfully dense book, stories within stories, histories within history, humor and horror, plus a bit of the supernatural. Did you like it?

      • I liked it so much it put me into a writer’s funk for about three or four months. I’m still trying to wrap my head around (isn’t that a peculiar phrase?) listening to it as an audio book because much of the impact on me was seeing the unusual format of the book, and reading and rereading and re-rereading his unusual use of words to evoke images. Many, many times I would read something and ask myself why I couldn’t think of describing something like that. Thus, I have been playing with words, thinking carefully about their usual use, and then changing it.

        If you have the opportunity, look at the printed copy. This is a book worth lingering over and studying how he uses words. I made page notes on the blank pages inside the covers–and ran out of room.

  2. There is no twelve-step program for creative writers. How would that work, anyway? Would I be expected to stop cold turkey? Maybe I’d have a former writer as a support buddy I could call whenever I had the urge to open the word processing program on my computer. He (or she) would talk me down from my frenzied thoughts and twitching fingers.

    “Step away from that computer! Turn on the television to CNN or FOX news and don’t stop watching until your stomach is churning, your mind has gone numb and the urge to be creative has passed.”

    I could see myself standing up at weekly CRAMITT (Creative Writers Anonymous Mentally Instable Tactical Team) meetings to meekly confess to having daydreamed plot lines while on the treadmill at the YMCA.

    My husband the engineer is completely sympathetic but baffled by my behavior. Engineers have total control. They know how to turn off the engineering mechanism in their brains so they can drive home safely every day arriving in time for dinner. They get up from the table and routinely slip away to their workshops or their garages or their gardens for relaxation and return promptly at bed time.

    Being a writer is like having a rampant tumor that sends tentacles into the various parts of my brain, controlling every function. No matter what I’m doing, even sleeping, I need to pee every few hours. Not so when I’m writing. It’s an out of body experience. And everything, even my bladder, goes into a state of suspension while my brain goes on holiday somewhere else. Remembering meals and remaining in bed all night are simply not possible.

    Normally quite capable of multi-tasking, I quickly gave up cooking while working through story lines. Even with three timers set at one minute intervals (one loud one right next to me) I twice melted (yes, dripping liquefied metal) brand new pans into useless, chinking, reeking shells. Their contents, aka dinner, would’ve been unidentifiable without a highly trained team of forensic scientists.

    But in what other profession can we slip outside our lives to weave bits of ourselves into intricate plot lines that we’re so eager to share they send us soaring like eagles with each submission? Conversely, in what other profession would we also regularly crash to earth, our fragile egos punctured and deflated by the opinions of heartless strangers who for all we know have no more refined taste than an angora goat? (And considering how often my manuscripts don’t make it back in their SASE’s, that description may not be too far off. Or perhaps it’s the energy crisis that’s to blame. Maybe they need them for fuel to heat their meager offices.)

    Whatever the pains and punishments, writing is innate. Writers are not hard-wired with switches to turn our skills on and off. We’re delicate, complicated creatures of fantasy and faith, strength and heart and indomitable spirit. So what if we secretly scribble notes on a paper napkin underneath the tablecloth while our friends pour out their hearts to us in sagas absolutely not meant for publication?

    • Right on! You nailed it, Barbara. Write on!

    • Indeed, everyone who has ever posted to Ann’s blog can relate to what you said, Barbara!

    • Barbara,
      If you ever get back this way, I just want you to know that one of my November, 2011 students found your posting and copied it into the discussion area for Lesson 8. What an odd way to get published! But I would definitely think of it as having your words shared by others because they were just that good. Bravo!

  3. Barbara, you are a complicated creature of fantasy and faith. Bravo. A great read on my favorite subject.

    Writers on writing! Anybody else with some thoughts?

  4. Barbara Burris

    Thank you both!

  5. I want to be a writer who





    Draws you into a world other than your own

    Helps you see in a different way

    Paints with words

    Exercises your imagination

    Reassures you are not the only one

    Surprises with language hi-jinks

    Causes dark circles under your eyes because you had to stay up late reading

    Offers something to ponder

    Presents puzzles to solve

    Touches your heart

    I want to be a writer who

    Is not bedazzled by celebrity

    Is equipped with ample sitzfleisch

    Is ever enchanted by words

    And is perpetually fascinated by all the different lives in this world

  6. Barbara Burris

    I like the sound of ‘sitzfleisch’. What is it?

    • Hi, Barbara.

      Sitzfleisch is a German term for chair glue: the ability to sit still and get through the task at hand. I learned this word from the Word.A.Day listserv. Every writer needs plenty of chair glue!

  7. I was recently tasked with coming up with some expressions that a small wooden doll would say with when frustrated and then again when delighted. Here are a few. I hope you’ll add some more:

    Glory gladorama!
    Oh smatterblab
    You shiftypong.
    Oh grimblenits.

    Which is your favorite?

  8. Barbara Burris

    My gramma always said ”Oh horse feathers!” And when I cuddle my dog, I call him my woozlewart.

  9. The smell of burning pencil lead,
    The whining of the electric sharpener,
    The smell of Grandma’s thesaurus,
    The clicking keys of revision,
    The hum of a printing project,
    These are a few of my favorite things.

  10. Interesting blog.
    Barbara, your thoughts are awesome. I understand.
    I would like to be a writer, too.
    Lots of thoughts and imagination going on in my head. Just need to get it down on paper, so the thoughts are not just swirling around in my head somewhere.

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