Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Brain That Ate Manhattan

... Except I don't live anywhere near Manhattan, so I guess I should say "the brain that ate Seattle". Since I sort of feel like this, some days.

Sometimes, people ask me, "How did you know you wanted to be a writer?" Quite frankly, I didn't. But that answer is hardly the exciting kerfuffle people are looking for, so I always have to make something up. "I sent a message to myself from ten years in the future," I say, "rolled up in a wine bottle and covered in gold dust and gourmet chocolate. It says, 'Karina, you totally want to be a writer.'" If I can't trust myself, who can I trust?

But the truth of it is much less awesome. The fact is, it's not that I've known all my life that I wanted to write. More like, my brain refuses to shut up.

This actually has a point to the subject at hand.

Ever since I was a kid, my brain has always been active. Thinking, processing, getting sidetracked. On and on, in cyclical discourses with itself and imaginary voices. I was the bane of my schools, too fidgety, too active, too bored by standard busy work. I'm sure I have some form of ADHD, since my dad has it and I'm exactly like him.

But because of this constant brain noise, a chatter that followed me into adulthood and all associated slavery therein, I was a bit of a career gypsy. Just as soon as I figured out everything about the job, as soon as I could do it without thinking about it—to wit, as soon as it no longer required brain power to do it—I found something else to do.

But writing is something different. For ten years, give or take the occasional slacker delay, I was able to really direct that brain chatter into something that never, ever seemed to get easier. No matter how many books I complete, how many characters I make, how many plots I make, it never stops being hard. Good hard, the kind of hard that keeps me engaged and focused and, yes, swearing, but good.

Just not easier.

And that's the beauty of doing what I do.

So I have to ask: all of you with careers you love, or hobbies that you absolutely must do to be happy, what is it that keeps you engaged with it? What do you like that keeps you there and eagerly going for more?

Who am I? I'm a paranormal romance author for Avon Romance, with my first book coming out May 31st, 2011. What does this mean? It means there will be murder, mayhem, and some seriously sexy hijinks afoot. Don't miss it!


Katie Dalton said...

Hobbies: for me, it's getting to read books and interviewing authors that keeps me going. I Love it. I am a people person, and I'm just not happy being stuck behind a desk all day.

Work: I still want to work with animals. The ocean calls to me and that's something that I will always look forward to doing. In any capacity. :)

Sharon S. said...

My hobbies are reading and Taekwondo. Learning/reading new material is what keeps me going. Just when you think you've read it all, a new book shows up that is so unique you just burst with joy! With TKD, winning a sparring match or learning a new weapon is such a rush

Anonymous said...

Both fabulous sets of reasons! I understand about just feeling as if you belong -- whether it just calls to you or you find a sense of belonging there, it's that draw that keeps us centered, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

When you said, "More like, my brain refuses to shut up." I perked right up. That so describes me. I never planned on being a writer, either, but when the brain doesn't slow down...you must write or go insane!! :)

Great post. Thanks!!

Susan Lathen said...

In your blog you described yourself as a career gypsy which is sort of what I was described at a personal office! They said I was a Renascence personality looking at all the many skills I have aquired over the years and I have enjoyed all which they claim to be very undesirable in a single job. You have identified yourself as a writer and placed yourself a square peg in a square hole I however have not identified what shape of hole to put myself into. And was shocked to hear myself say at age 56 "I don't know what I want to do when I grow up!" I sit mulling over skills I have acquired and I draw a blank when offered additional training since I have been declaired disabled by the doctors & government. My list of what I can't physically do is longer than what I can.

Helen Lowe said...

For me it's fun, enjoyment and challenge that make an interest a 'keeper.' The opportunity to hang with fun interesting people also helps keep any interest or job stimulating.