Wake up, Polly Parrot.


Being A Writer
by Cynthia Plante

[Brian is busy this month doing his taxes at the last minute, as usual, and asked his ten-year-old daughter Cynthia to write this month's column for him.]

My Dad says I should write about what I think it means to be a writer and that the horror writers back in New Jersey will print it. I'm not really a writer like my Dad, but maybe some day I might be. Dad says I should just write about what I think it's like.

Mostly when my Dad writes something he just goes into the computer-and-sewing room upstairs after dinner while the rest of us are watching TV. Sometimes he comes downstairs and uses the laptop while we watch TV, but he doesn't really pay attention to the show. Whenever something funny happens, he looks up and asks what's funny because he doesn't know. When Mom asks him why something on the show happened he always says, "I'm not really watching." Even when he's not typing on the computer, he writes a lot of stuff in his notebooks and index cards to get ready for the writing, or else he just sits there and thinks. Sometimes Dad writes stuff really late at night and I can hear him typing when the house is very quiet.

Then there's the times when Dad spreads the big envelopes on the floor and puts the stories in them to send out to magazines. Dad has lots of stamps and a little scale so he knows how many stamps to use on each envelope. Dad says most of the stories he sends in the mail are rejected. The first thing he does every day when he comes home from work is check the mail to see which ones got rejected. Dad says you have to get used to that if you want to be a writer.

Once in a while, the story isn't rejected and someplace buys the story. Dad has a bunch of magazines and books with his writing in them. He let me read a few of them. Some of the stories he said I wasn't old enough to read yet. The ones he let me read were pretty good, though.

Writing seems like a cool thing to do, but my Dad says I shouldn't plan on doing that for my career. He says no matter what else I want to do, I can still write in my spare time like he does. Most writers don't make too much money so it's not a good thing to want to do all by itself. I want to be a doctor or a meteorologist so I can make big bucks.

What I like about writing is that you get to make up your own stories and people. If you sell a story, you can brag to your friends that the magazine has something in it you wrote. You could even have fans. What I don't like about writing is you have to sit in a little room by yourself a lot instead of doing other things. It's kind of a boring thing to do.

Copyright © 1997 Cynthia & Brian Plante

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