The Trunk Space in the Back of Your Head

What is the difference between a writer and someone who wants to write?

As the story goes (and you can find a version of this story in any writer’s blog and/or magazine), the would be writer has a great idea for a book, which has simmered in the back of his/hers mind for years but has never written it, while the true writer has written a boat load of them and is working on a new magnum opus even as we speak.

Or not.

You see, one thing that writers, especially the published ones….


Sorry, authors….

Really don’t talk about is about that one book they always wanted to write but have yet written. Some how the moment you pen, (or type, stab, ink, whatever) a book, any book, the epic dream that was the One True Novel they were going to write gets tossed and locked inside the dusty trunk somewhere in the writer’s mental backspace, where in it becomes an impromptu tea table over which the imaginary versions of Freud and Jung discuss the writer’s troubled childhood dreams.

Why is that?

I think it has to do with the transition from aspiring writer to true writer/author. Real writers are defined by the books they have written (and authors by the ones the published) not the works they could have, should have or would have written. It seems childish, if not unprofessional (and impudent) to talk about the things you would want to do as opposed to the things you are doing now or have already done.

I mean, why hasn’t the writer written (the writ of words which we wrote….) I mean done it already?

Or is it that we, as writers, don’t want to admit that a part of us still retains the uncertainty of those days when we too thought about writing but never did? As if somehow we have exorcised that part of ourselves by actually doing what we wanted to do in the first place and there is no need (or want) to go back to the days of indecision and doubt.

I don’t know.

All I know is that I am a writer, and I still have a lot of stories stored in the back of my mind that someday I will write.

No shame in that.

And now DJ Tiesto meets Sarah MacLachlan. Enjoy!

3 comments on “The Trunk Space in the Back of Your Head

  1. There’s still novels I have sketched out (however briefly) that I’m absolutely shit-scared, terrified beyond words and utterly incapable of seriously thinking about, no matter how much I have already written. Don’t forget those… Maybe it’s too great a generalization, but I still hold that every single author on the planet has one novel in them which refuses to come out easily, no matter how many they have already written. My one isn’t particularly long, or complex, but the tone is so simple and dream-like that I have always stalled when I try to capture it.

    The more complex a story is, the more you can hide behind the telling of it. A great example of the stripped-down style is from an old television show starring John Hurt – The Storyteller. Every word is carefully chosen, the narritive is delightfully clean and clear, and every time I listen to his voice I’m immediately jealous beyond words that a writer had the talent to craft those well-known tales into something fresh and enjoyable.

    I’ll stick with explosions, flesh-eating monsters and aliens until I have the courage or talent to strip the fat away from my writing like that. It’s much easier for me to race along with events than it is to write a story that takes its time. Everyone else may weigh in on this with derision, but I’m serious… There’s a real art to presenting things without all the smoke and mirrors that is commonplace these days. I’m not quite at the point where I can relax enough with my writing to do those kinds of stories justice.


  2. I have so many ideas brewing in my head, I simply couldn’t write them all. (yet) I’ll get to them, just one at a time…. 😉


    • Thank you for the replies @Tasha and @bigwords. Apologies for the delayed reaction, been busy with thanksgiving and all of that. Hope that your holidays got off to a great start.


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