Author Katherine Noll gives some insight into why she is a writer and what led her to write the fat Fairy Tales Series…
Why do I write?
I’ve been wondering that a lot, especially since I started the second book in the Fat Fairy Tales series, The Not-So-Little Mermaid. Sometimes it’s so hard, in fact some days it can be wrenching.
Ugh. I hate saying things like that because I realize how pretentious and silly they come across. I know there are a lot harder jobs in the world, like being a nurse, or a soldier, or a miner, or a firefighter or police officer, just to name a few. I don’t want to say that sitting at my computer all day, teasing out the stories from my head, is comparable to any of those occupations. But for me, every time I write something personal and close to my heart, I have to leave this world for a little while to channel the story that’s inside of me. The transition back and forth can be rough.
One of my favorite authors, Roald Dahl, explained it best in his memoir “Boy: Tales of Childhood:”
“The life of a writer is absolute hell compared with the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him. If his is a writer of fiction he lives in a world of fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not. Two hours of writing fiction leaves this particular writer absolutely drained. For those two hours he has been miles away, he has been somewhere else, in a different place with totally different people, and the effort of swimming back into normal surroundings is very great. It is almost a shock. The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it. It happens to be a fact that nearly every writer of fiction in the world drinks more whisky than is good for him. He does it to give himself faith, hope and courage. A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He had no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.”
When I think of the worlds Dahl created, so human yet so fantastical, so dark and yet so filled with hope, it’s easy to imagine him needing a drink or two after coming back to reality.
Is there freedom in writing? Yes, but there is freedom in jumping out of an airplane, too, so maybe the thought that it can be terrifying isn’t too difficult to understand. As for Dahl, he wrote this description of his writing process after a very well-deserved long and successful career. For me, I’m still struggling with doubt and fear. What if everyone hates what I write? What if, even worse, nobody reads it? It’s as if my story isn’t real, doesn’t come alive, until the moment someone else reads it. I’ve done half the job, I’m waiting eagerly for you to volunteer to do the other half, if you so choose.
Why do it? For me, I write because I have to. I have these tales inside of me, and they won’t let me rest until I get them out of my head and onto paper.
As for the whisky? If you offered to buy me a drink after a day of writing, I would not say no. Glenlivet, neat, please. Cheers!