The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines lifestyle as “a particular way of living: the way a person lives or a group of people live.”
Dictionary.com defines it as “the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group.”
A lifestyle is something you build for yourself from all the elements that make up your daily life: your thoughts, dreams, actions, routine, work, family, friends, food, hobbies, habits, interests, and beliefs.
Keeping the meaning of lifestyle in mind, would you consider creative writing a lifestyle?
Examining the Writing Life
The writing life is unique. We work alone, most of the time. We grow thick-skinned from having our work critiqued by editors, readers, and reviewers. We’re always thinking about words counts and submissions, manuscripts and notebooks. We spend a lot of time worrying about typos. We wonder if our voice, our style, is distinct and consistent. When other people are enjoying their favorite television shows or a day at the beach, we’re busy at our keyboards, doing our writerly work.
We’re on an eternal hunt for ideas and inspiration. We soak up art and entertainment, hoping that the greats will rub off on us. We immerse ourselves in the news, waiting for some tidbit that inspires our next project. We ask questions in casual conversation, probing to better understand our fellow humans—and ourselves. We do all of this because it’s in our nature, and because we know it will inform our writing and make it better.
We’re thrilled when we encounter other writers, and we forge an instant bond because writers are rare in the world. We often find ourselves outside of social norms. Our day jobs are simply a means to pay our bills. The real work happens early in the morning, late at night, and on weekends, when the rest of the world is playing.
And the most ambitious writers, those who are driven to make creative writing not just a way of life but a career, must also look at themselves in a way few other people do. We must see ourselves as authors and learn how to brand and market our work — and sometimes ourselves as well. We have to be self-promoters, and we must be brave enough to put our work, which can be highly personal, out there for all the world to see.
All these things make up the life of a writer, the writing life.
The Writing Life
Creative writing is an adventure, and it’s an adventure that is threaded throughout every minute of a writer’s day. That’s my experience, anyway. How does being a writer shape your daily life? Do you consider it a lifestyle? A hobby? A habit? A profession? Are you living the writing life? What’s it like?