GENREALITY

Archive for July 2nd, 2012



Monday, July 2nd, 2012 by Carrie Vaughn
If Not Writing, What?

I’m still drawing on some questions I solicited on my Facebook page awhile back.  This comes from Gregg Chamberlain, and it’s one I get asked a lot in blog interviews:  If I wasn’t a writer, what would I be doing?  Would I have some other creative outlet?

What I usually say:  What would I be if I wasn’t a writer?  Institutionalized.

Seriously.  Like a lot of writers, I feel like if I couldn’t write, or didn’t write, I’d go crazy.  Completely bonkers.   Even taking a step back and considering the question seriously, it’s still tough to answer because I can’t imagine what else I’d be doing.  I’ve spent so much of my life on stories and writing, that a huge chunk of my current identity would be totally different.  I’m a writer because around the time I graduated from college, I decided there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do with my life, my career, my time.  It took about twelve years after that to be able to write full time, but I did it because I didn’t give myself much of a choice.  I don’t want to consider what other career I might have gone into besides writing, because it would change my life too much, and I like my life the way it is.

The question of what other creative outlet I might be doing if I didn’t write is a little less traumatic to consider, because I’ve always had lots of creative outlets.  Art, sewing, theater, music.  Looking back, I think I could have made a career at any of them — if I had chosen to put as much time into any one of them as I put into my writing.  Writing won out because it’s easy to do any time, any place.  A pen and paper, that’s it.  Art and music have steeper learning curves, I think, and the rewards aren’t as immediate.  Theater usually needs  collaborators.  I sometimes think in an alternate universe, I did follow one of those other paths, and in that universe I’m wondering what would have happened if I’d become a writer.

I’ve been on a couple of panels over the last couple of years about other creative outlets writers have.  Lots of writers knit, make jewelry, play in bands, and so on.  I do find I really love making things with my hands after days and days of working mostly with my brain.  But I don’t consider trying any of my crafty hobbies professionally.

How about you?  If you didn’t write, would you be doing something else?  Do you have creative outlets in addition to writing?