It's amazing how often you discuss writing with people and come across the same quaint notions of what a writer is. (I'm not even going to touch the popular image where we are all filthy rich layabouts like the guy in Californication with agents who pander to our every whim.)
You hear things like:
"People say it's lonely being a writer. You spend your life alone."
Hmmn. Well I guess there is no physical person actually sitting beside you, but I'm sure most writers would agree its pretty crowded in that particular space. So many characters either trying to talk at once, or waiting their turn. Either way they and the universe you are trying to create are there with you.
Then, once the writing part is over and it's time to sell the manuscript, there is no such thing as simply wrapping the thing in brown paper, licking on the stamps, posting it off to some distant publishing house and waiting in the silent parlour for a reply. At least not anymore.
People talk about the writer living in the garret, working away in the bliss of artistic isolation. In this image the writer is uncomfortable with people, introverted to the point of dysfunction. Maybe they start that way.
All the successful writers I know are incredibly dynamic. They might be an introvert at heart, but they have all worked damn hard to become just about everything else as well. Effective networkers that can move through a crowd. Polished performers that rattle off anecdotes in a seemingly spontaneous manner, keeping a workshop or panel crowd entertained while simultaneously informing and promoting themselves and their work. Strategic thinkers who can plough their way through Internet sites and magazines and absorb a bird's-eye-view of the industry, much as any steel-trap minded lawyer or analyst might.
So who exactly is this author person? An artistic introvert at home in their own skin? A networker who delights in the company of others? A performer who feeds off the room? A cool-thinking analyst, capable of ruthlessly pursing their goals who would put Hannibal Barca to shame? Which one? All of them?
It's enough to put a psychologist into a mental hospital. How on earth can one person be all this?
Any clues? Have I missed out any additional split personalities?