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Fiction, My Novel, The Writer's Life

So This is What it’s Like to Be a Real Writer

I get up around five or six and drag myself to the coffee maker, and then to the laptop. I stare out the window, at my fellow Victorians on their way to work. Should I get right to it, or read a little more Saul Bellow?

Despite this self-imposed retreat occurring in the heart of Victoria’s hotel district it’s remarkably quiet around here—gotta love those courteous Canadians—and conducive to novel writing. Great view, solitude, and the sounds of sparse traffic that make a decent substitute for crashing waves. About the only things missing are the granola and organic coffee sit downs with fellow retreaters—you know, where we lie about how much we’ve written before breakfast.

But I’m accomplishing much here. A story is developing, and yesterday one of my characters did something quite unexpected, but so right for her, and it revealed her true personality to me, and hopefully, to future readers.

So this is what it’s like to be a real writer. To rise and not have to worry about taking out garbage, or did the sprinklers come on last night, or wonder how long I can answer emails and still make it to work on time. To live in a world in its own time zone and with its own rules, and transport myself even further away, to a place where the story takes over, and all I have to do is figure out what it means.

One week in. Twenty thousand words done. I might just make it.

More next week. Wishing you all good writing.


About Joe Ponepinto

Co-publisher, with Kelly Davio, of Tahoma Literary Review. Author of "Curtain Calls," a featured Kirkus Review. Married to Dona. Dad to Henry, the coffee-drinkin' dog.


20 thoughts on “So This is What it’s Like to Be a Real Writer

  1. That’s like a million words a year!
    I envy your discipline and commitment. Would that I could.
    Carry on, stay in the groove and come home word-drained, word-rich and word-energized.

    Posted by Jon Zech | June 9, 2012, 1:48 PM
  2. That’s wonderful news, Joe, keep at it.

    Posted by michellemorouse | June 9, 2012, 2:19 PM
  3. “To live in a world in its own time zone . . .”

    So very well imagined!

    Posted by Paul Lamb | June 9, 2012, 10:06 PM
    • Hopefully this novel (and the last one) will be published someday, and then you’ll see what real imagination is. :-)

      Thanks for the comment, Paul.

      Posted by jpon | June 9, 2012, 10:47 PM
  4. Your novels will be published. Can’t wait to read them. Good luck.

    Posted by Nadia Ibrashi | June 10, 2012, 4:41 AM
  5. (Instead of arm wrestling or collecting skins, we tell stories of how many words we wrote yesterday. Very funny.) Ooo la la, you make that sound so good, so romantic. You make me want to be a real writer, too!

    This post is particularly antithetical now, as we are dealing with sewer line lateral issues. Poor me.

    Posted by girl in the hat | June 10, 2012, 3:02 PM
    • What a thing to deal with on a Sunday. I don’t even want to think about what’s breaking down back home.

      Posted by jpon | June 10, 2012, 3:35 PM
  6. Lovely post. At first I thought you were at a victorian writing reenactment camp, but the granola helped me figure it out… Happy writing!

    Posted by Stephanie Barbé Hammer | June 10, 2012, 4:08 PM
    • A Victorian fantasy camp–what a great idea! I’ll bet there are some, but if not we may be talking about a great business opportunity. And you’re right, I should have reiterated that I am on a personal writing retreat.

      Posted by jpon | June 10, 2012, 4:28 PM
  7. Congrats on your progress! More folks should take solo retreats, IMO. I try to make my life feel like one…most days.

    Posted by August McLaughlin | June 11, 2012, 9:26 PM
    • Thanks. It’s easiest on those days when I don’t have to do to work, but I usually try to do the same.

      Posted by jpon | June 11, 2012, 9:31 PM
  8. Cheers on all of this progress! It sounds so peaceful and lovely. And like work, but good work. I’m about to start day one of a two week writing conference on the east coast — and now I’m kind of looking forward to breakfast everyday, and all that fibbing. (ha)

    Posted by Teri | June 12, 2012, 12:13 PM
    • Enjoy the conference. Sounds like it will be a great experience. And remember, you wrote five pages this morning, two before you even got out of bed!

      Posted by jpon | June 12, 2012, 2:20 PM
  9. Mmm…It’s funny, but I am amazed at how I’ve fallen into the natural pattern of a writer’s day. Up before dawn, coffee in tow, awake past midnight, blurring the line between me and a villain. Crawling willingly out of bed before six would have required the imminent arrival of an F5 twister. I’ve finally found something I like better than cheesecake. Reading your words this morning lets me know I’m not alone. I’m in good company. Thank you!

    Posted by J. Powell Ogden (@JPowellOgden) | June 12, 2012, 2:39 PM
    • And thank you as well. It’s nice to know that in the solitude of writing, one can still be connected.

      Posted by jpon | June 12, 2012, 3:08 PM
  10. jealousy…need i say more?

    that said, looking forward to reading your stuff.

    Posted by the circular runner | June 15, 2012, 1:28 AM

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