I've been in love with the writer's life since before I started writing. I nearly stopped breathing the first time I saw Jessica Fletcher typing away at her kitchen table in the opening credits of Murder, She Wrote.
That was what I wanted to do.
Over the years, I set that dream aside, and tried to focus on more "practical" careers. It is no coincidence I ended up hating all of those jobs after the initial excitement of the first paycheck. The only job I didn't hate was my first real one: I was young, surrounded by very appreciative Army ROTC men, and since it only lasted two months I didn't have a chance to dislike working there. (Ironically, that job required the use of a now-ancient typewriter, although it was way more advanced than the relic Jessica Fletcher pounded away on.)
Still, even though I tried to ignore this crazy notion of being a full-time stay-at-home writer, that Jessica Fletcher typewriter image would keep popping up in my brain. I'd try to squelch it, but it was more persistent than I realized. I consider myself stubborn, but this idea could give me graduate-level lessons in obstinacy.
For a little while I had the opportunity to transform my fantasy of a writer's life into reality. I didn't have the distractions and agonies of a full-time job, although I will admit I had the distractions and agonies of impending financial disaster instead.
But I don't regret it. Because this is the life I love, and I'm willing to forego other things that get in the way of having this life.
I love waking up and having my brain fill up with answers to the questions about my story that puzzled me when I went to sleep.
I love sitting down with my coffee each morning and opening the lid of my laptop, a veritable pirate's chest of writing-related treasures.
I love thinking about blog topics, and exploring different ways to express my ideas about writing, while learning things that help my own craft.
I love engaging with other writers, on blogs and on Twitter, and, occasionally, in real life. This weekend I went to a local writers' conference, and it was so fun chatting with abandon about things only other writers understand (or obsess about).
Today, instead of sitting at my kitchen table clacking away at a noisy typewriter, I'm sprawled on my couch, tapping on my whisper-quiet laptop. It makes me very happy, this updated, modern version of my lifelong dream.
This is the life I've always wanted, the one I was meant to pursue. It's not a charmed life, nor is it always an easy one. But it definitely fits me.
Somehow I know Jessica Fletcher herself is smiling at the progression of my writerly dreams.
Do you remember the first moment you decided the writer's life was the one for you? What do you love best about it? What does it mean to you to be a writer?