Peevish and Butthead

By Yolanda Wallace

I’m a writer. It’s not only who I am; it’s what I do. I write constantly. In my notebook. On my laptop. On scraps of paper I find lying around. During the week. On the weekends. In the middle of the night. At the crack of dawn. I’ve even written an entire scene while driving on the interstate. Okay, truth check on that one: I dictated the words and my wife Dita wrote them down for me while I kept my eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel. (I think she lost patience after a while, though, because each time I thought I was done “writing”, she would ask me if I was sure, I would respond in the affirmative, then another thought would occur to me less than five minutes later and she’d have to put down her e-reader and pick up her pen again).

And you thought living with a writer was all fun and games. Actually, it can be pretty fun sometimes. I have so many characters running through my head Dita never knows who she’s going to come home to at the end of the day. But she can also vouch for the ugly truth: writers aren’t very much fun when they’re not writing. In fact, I’m told we—okay, I—can be downright crabby when I go more than a few days without putting pen to paper or pecking away at my keyboard.

The best way I can explain it is writing is like an addiction for me. It has the same highs and lows and going cold turkey is a tough ask.

Each time I finish a book, I always say I’m going to take a break to clear my head before I start thinking about the next project. Two things invariably happen. 1) I start reading a good book and get inspired to start writing again well before my self-imposed deadline ends or 2) I start acting out my own version of a Snickers commercial. You know the ones I’m talking about. The various ads that urge you to binge on chocolatey peanutty nougatty goodness because “you’re not you when you’re hungry.” In my case, I’m not me when I’m not writing. Dita has never used the B word to describe me or my behavior when I’m suffering through withdrawal so I’ll do it for her. I can be a total butthead when I’m off my favorite narcotic.

Of the many witty bon mots attributed to quote machine Dorothy Parker, this one has always resonated with me: “I hate writing. I love having written.”

The process of writing can be laborious at times—choosing a setting, creating characters, deciding on point of view, crafting a plot you hope readers will find as appealing as you did when the idea came to you while you were taking a shower or walking the dog or sitting on the beach or—Well, you get the picture. And don’t get me started on writer’s block because that’s a story in itself.

But, despite the hard work (or, perhaps, because of it), there’s nothing like the feeling I get when the story elements start coming together and the light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be the finish line instead of a freight train rushing in my direction.

247I say all this because I didn’t truly know what it was like to live with a writer until I wrote about one. Finn Chamberlain, one of the main protagonists in my March release 24/7, is a travel writer. Like me, Finn initially turned to writing because it was more fun to visualize her fantasies than live her reality. My circumstances have changed—as Finn’s certainly do during the course of the book, thanks to the sexy Federal policewoman she falls for and the pesky drug cartel threatening both their lives—but one thing has remained constant for both of us: writing.

Writing makes me happy when I’m sad, occasionally moves me to tears, and has taken me to so many places I never thought I would go.

Thank you for taking the journey with me. I hope you enjoy the trip(s) as much as I do!

12 Responses to “Peevish and Butthead”

  1. 1 franci mcmahon March 17, 2016 at 10:31 AM

    Yolanda, I laughed (and cried) all the way through this. You really caught the state of being a writer. It baffles my friends and lover, especially the crabby part when I’m prevented from writing. So, thank you for putting this gift into such great focus.
    PS I love your novels.


  2. 3 Lee Lynch March 17, 2016 at 8:10 PM

    Very nice, Yolanda! I believe “we” is the correct word here: “we—okay, I—can be downright crabby when I go more than a few days without putting pen to paper or pecking away at my keyboard.” Great way to describe Dorothy Parker too.


  3. 5 Devlyn March 17, 2016 at 9:41 PM

    Good blog, very informative. I look forward to reading 24/7 to get further insight. Butt head had me LOL.


  4. 7 Beth March 18, 2016 at 12:09 AM

    24/7, and others, arrived in my mail today. YAY!!! Looking forward to this book.


  5. 9 Kim March 21, 2016 at 9:25 AM

    24/7 is in the “on deck circle” of my iPad waiting for me to finish my other read. Love your books and I’m saving this one so I can savor it on a trip! Thanks for the blog – loved the imagery of you dictating while you drive! 🙂


    • 10 Yolanda March 21, 2016 at 12:15 PM

      Thanks, Kim. Dictating while driving was definitely a new experience. Don’t know how much my wife enjoyed the experience, but it was fun for me 🙂 Have a good trip and I hope you enjoy the book!!!


  6. 11 S.A. March 21, 2016 at 1:44 PM

    Great blog! I’ve enjoyed all your books so far, and this new one is next up in my queue. Thanks for giving an insight to your process, and glad to hear that writing is such an essential thing for you. (Means you’ll keep generating new stories for me to enjoy. 😉 )


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