For me, writing is more than just a hobby. It's not just something I do for fun, or to kill time when I'm bored. To me, writing is my life. It's what I went to school for, and it's probably the only thing I'm really good at (besides baking). I can't do math to save my life, and science goes way over my head. I'm not crafty, or a good businesswoman (I could never advise people on money, since I spend all of mine). I'm a huge klutz, and I hate sports. I can't stand the sight of blood, and as much as I wish I could paint, I can't even draw a convincing stick person.
No. For me, it's always been writing.
However, I've come to realize a small downside in being a writer, and that is the tendency to become a hermit.
I am guilty of this, I will admit it. I wish it weren't so, but the fact of the matter is, when I'm writing, I tune out the world. I get so wrapped up in this other world I've created, that I forget about the one I'm living in. As I mentioned last time, I forget to eat. I forget to go to the bathroom, or comb my hair, or put on makeup. Half the time, I forget to change into something other than pajamas. I don't sleep a lot, and forget about (or choose to skip) class. The characters in my story feel so real that I sometimes forget that I have real friends, who matter a great deal more.
After being locked away for the last two weeks, I emerged from my writer's cave today feeling oddly out of touch. I have seven other roommates, and hadn't some of them since before spring break. I had no idea we were having a party this weekend, or what had been going on in their lives, and I felt terrible.
As writers, we tend to get sucked into the vortex of our imaginations. Characters in our story feel like real people, and maybe you feel like you even know them better (this is probably true, considering you created them). But it's important to remember that they're just that - fiction. They will never be a real person you can interact with.
The nice thing is, my friends and family understand how important it was for me to finish this book. It wasn't just my thesis, it's what I'm hoping to base my writing career on. It's not just an A on my transcript. I'm so grateful to have people that understand why I sometimes disappear for weeks at a time. Even still, I am hereby promising to never pull a two week disappearance act again, unless absolutely necessary (which, I'm hoping, it won't be). I missed my friends, and the way we can make just about anything funny. I missed hanging out in the living room and making fun of people on TV. I missed planning themed parties, or cooking. Or just talking to people. Granted, I had a strict deadline to meet that got moved up unexpectedly, so I couldn't help my disappearance this time. Next time, though, I will make sure to remind myself to take a break more often, and to make sure I spent time with the people who matter most.
As much as I love Lottery, Aema and Darius, friend and family are infinitely better.