How much time do you spend writing, or thinking about writing?
My friend asked me that question a little while ago. We'd been discussing books and various gender-related tropes (yes, all my friends are nerds), and he said he was curious. When I'm at home with my other half, for example, am I thinking about writing then? What about when I'm on the train by myself, or at work, or in bed?
The answer is almost always yes. Writing thoughts have occupied the majority of my brain-time since I was at least twelve, when my friend and I wrote an enormous (and by that I mean multi-thousand-page, with concordances) alternate Star Wars universe. (With myself as a genius, pre-teen pilot, smuggler and Jedi who was friends with Han Solo, natch! Hush, don't pretend like you've never done that.)
When I wake up, I'm usually crunching on whatever I'd been working on before bed — in this case it's my 2010 NaNoWriMo and a urban fantasy-ish YA novel. At work, I'm either editing or writing (if it's between classes and I've finished my lesson planning) or thinking about writing (if I'm teaching and the kids are working independently on something). If I'm in the staff room and have some time, I'm usually online, talking about writing with my friends, and screaming inside when the bell rings and I have to go. Once I'm home, I catch up my other half and writing partner on anything that I came up with, and she gives me her new plot details or shows me the new grammatical rules she came up with for her conlangs. Then we usually take a break and watch an episode of something before planning or writing again.
Nearly all my significant connections with people have had writing at their core. Even if the other person isn't a writer, we still find ourselves talking about particular elements of books or films and what makes them work or fail — and this isn't just restricted to other women. The friend who prompted this post is both male and heterosexual, but we've had lengthy discussions about the gender binary and double standards in print and on screen. Just yesterday we spent the commute home discussing, in all seriousness, the tropes that make or break various Kamen Rider series. He was also one of my beta readers for this year's NaNo, and provided me with invaluable feedback.
Most of my friends now started out as readers of my work or writers of what I was reading, and have evolved into some of the closest, most intellectually intimate relationships I've ever had. It's so nice not having to justify why I'm up at three in the morning, tapping away on my keyboard because I just have to finish this scene. They understand when I skip a social event to stay home and write or brainstorm. Heck, most of the time when we meet up in person, that's what we're doing — sitting in a coffee shop with our laptops or notebooks, chatting away about our worlds.
As for me and the bestest, I'd say we spend a good three-quarters — at minimum — of our time on writing. We have a number of collaborative universes together, so we're always interrupting dinner with "oh hey, I got some new info today", or texting each other throughout the day with random character conversations or things that we've come up with. It's how we pass the time on long train trips, in queues, in waiting rooms. If we plan a movie night, but at the last minute one of us says "Oh dang, I got an idea and need to write now — can we postpone?" the other not only understands, but is excited! We've missed plays or films or been late to social engagements because some characters ran into a problem (a fight, a personal crisis, a plot twist) and we couldn't leave the house until we'd fixed it. When we were stuck on the bus back from Ise and I thought I would go mad from boredom and car-sickness, we worked on character and media details for one of our novels.
I have no idea what life would be like with a non-writer. I imagine a lot of patience and understanding on their part, with me feeling guilty half the time. I'm not sure it could work. Some people insist that their friends or partners share the same ethnicity or religion; me, I just need them to be passionate about the written word.
So what about everyone else? How much time do you spend writing, or thinking about writing?