Leading a Double Life

highspeed-photography-1004250_1920

When people hear that I’m a writer I get a varied amount of reactions. Usually the first few questions are pretty simple, so I’ll go through them here that way if we ever meet you’ll know the answer to them and we can move onto other topics. 

Q: What kind of stories do you write?

A: I write about people. That’s a somewhat simplistic answer, but at the core of my writing are stories about people. The rule I always abide by is – Conflict creates Drama, Drama creates Story. If there’s no conflict, there isn’t anything to talk about, and if I’m not talking about something, what am I writing for? This goes beyond setting too. It doesn’t matter if the story is set in the Roaring 20’s like my Mythos Division series is, or if I’m sending you a Billion years in the future to romp through Monte Cook’s Ninth World where Agents of the Beyond is. The story is and always will be about the characters.

Q: Do you write under a pen name?

A: With a name like Michael Diamond? Not a chance. Names are highly important, far more than most people realize. Using your real name as a creator is a double edged sword though, because it exposes you for who you really are – a dreamer, a weirdo, and quite possibly someone who could be dangerous. Like a sniper armed with words, I take aim at my topic and dial in the focus necessary to take down the subject, and likewise there’s nothing worse than missing the mark. No writer hits all the time, in fact more often than not we graze our targets. The writers who hit consistently are some of the household names everyone has heard of.

Q: How do you come up with these stories?

A: Most creative types are always rummaging around inside their own heads. It’s a constant churning that goes on, and sometimes at the absolute worst times. I daydream a lot, again occasionally too often. For me, part of it comes from the desire to transcend my current work state and pull myself into my desired full-time profession. Professional Writer. Oooh doesn’t that sound snappy? It does to me. The other part of it is a running imagination that considers what would happen if you put X + Y together and then Z happened to them?

And then there are the other stories I create. Occasionally I am stirred to write about something because I have a specific topic I want to talk about. I have a varied number of opinions on life, the current political climate, environmental problems, and crime. These topics are personal to many of my readers, hitting close to home, and they deserve a spotlight. The downtrodden need their champions. They deserve stories for lives which have elements of their own.

 

A writer’s life is split into two. The life you have in front of you and the lives you choose to create. Writers have the power to create anything and anyone they want. We can choose to empower or curtail, we can choose to expand a story to an epic scope or close the window and turn inward where more personal stories take place. This is part of the basis for the argument that writers are by their nature reclusive and introverted, because our minds are turned up to eleven. I’m not sure if I fall into either introvert or extrovert category, but perhaps that’s because I prefer to walk the tightrope between being classified. No matter which type of creator you are, learning to lead both lives is critical. Eschewing one for another only leaves your life in shambles, with pages undone and bills unpaid. Finding that balance can be tricky, but if you want your dreams bad enough you’ll find a way to do it.

Addendum: Emalee and I spent some of yesterday mapping out where furniture is going in the new house, but because we’re a pair of dorks we used graph paper! I love that she’s willing to accept a crazy year now so we can have a calmer one next year. Now that we’re in the final weeks of living in the current house, it’s time to begin the ritual of packing everything up and preparing to move this party on to the next place. I have some final thoughts on the  current house coming in a few weeks too, ones I hope you’ll read and share.