Friday, 19 September 2014

I am a writer

When I was eighteen, which happens to have been more than half a century ago, I wrote a poem titled "Shall all my tears" which asked "Shall I be a writer?" and said "writers have a meaning, what meaning have I?". Borrowing from Omar Khayam, I concluded by wondering whether me tears would wash out every word.
Looking back I believe now I missed the point. Writers don't need any deep meaning, they just have an idea and the inner drive to shape words around it. More than that, they have the inner drive to write better, to work at their words to give that idea life.
The reason I am writing this today is that I have been thinking a lot lately about how I want my life to be in the fifteen or so years I probably have left of my life, and the one constant is that I want to be somewhere I can write. To that extent I can answer myself of 1959 that I have indeed become a writer. Not a published novelist, which I would have liked. Certainly a published short story writer, although none of my stories is likely to be studied in literature classes. I write. It's who I am. It's as simple as that and it's nothing to cry about.

Personality types

I Googled personality types and found a web site which sets out 16 different personality types according to the Myers Briggs code. I have no idea whether they are realistic, although I understand they are used by many companies to vet staff and allocated them to positions etc. For me, as a writer, they provide outlines for characters I can use. For example, one of my characters, Will, is a thinker, ex military analyst. One of the types outlines has just such a personality - always studies things carefully before making a decision etc. I can use these traits in my character to (a) differentiate him from other characters and (b) make him consistent throughout the novel. When I came to Debby, my main character, I could not find a type that matched, which possibly means I have created a character who does not fit any norm. I can't see anything wrong with that, so I have selected traits from a number of the personality types and used those to create my personality outline for Debby.The reason I needed to do this was that I wasn't sure that I was making her consistent. She was changing as she reacted to different situations I created instead of staying consistent in the way she reacted to them. Now I have an useful tool to check if I have her acting consistently or not.