I always meant to be a writer too, but other than perfunctory essays for my education it wasn’t something I pursued openly. I wrote in my journals, I wrote poems. Neither would I share with another soul.
Writing, reading—all things wordy—is what I’m drawn too. So my office jobs took the form of books and publishing-related and I always harbored a desire to write for myself—and that’s what it is, a desire. Some wish that needs to be fulfilled. The difference between wanting and needing.
I wrote my first book in solitary confinement. Not telling anyone about it—not even my best friend—until I was on the last chapter. It was something I did for myself. It was incredibly lonely and isolating writing in a vacuum, but I had to know if I could do it. If I failed, I would only be failing myself. But I didn’t fail and have gone on to write other books and stories.
Which leads me back to math. Math, like any science, is about problem-solving. Writing, while not a science, is no exception. Just this morning while working on a story I solved a number of small problems—should I describe that the character opened a door or is it implied by saying she entered a room.
I also deliberated on a plot point which is close to being resolved—should the main character find out a plot point now or should it only be foreshadowed. Even when I write non-fiction, journalism-type articles, I find I have to do the same kind of problem solving. I do a lot of outlining. What is outlining than organizing a problem in a way to make it more solvable?
Like mathematicians, theoretical scientists, or philosophers, I spend a lot of time staring out windows (or into space, as the case may be) writing down sporadic notes. Thinking.
So much of the act of writing takes place inside my headspace. Just like math, writing is not something everyone can do well. Yet, yet! Everybody thinks because they can speak they can write. That is until they sit down to write their article, copy, story, etc. and realize they don’t even know where to start. (Somehow one of the hardest parts of writing.)
I guess it boils down to this, have some respect for writers. Mathematicians may not be revered but they are respected. Because, seriously, if you could do what writers do you would.