When you think about comparisons for the life of a fiction writer, a political drama isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. We don’t wear suits and ties, we don’t live in luxurious houses, we don’t attend galas and benefits, and we don’t try to get laws passed for the betterment of the state or country.

But there’s still all of the intrigue, mystery, power plays, and sometimes even backstabbing that you’d expect from a political drama.

For some reason I’ve been watching a lot of political dramas. I expect it’s because of my anticipation for the second season of House of CardsWhile I usually make my way to the other side of the room or make like Batman when talk of politics comes up, I still find the political world fascinating. The lengths that a politician will go to to get elected or make political waves in their favor astounds me. It’s almost like watching a post-apocalyptic drama where all humanity and sense has gone astray…except for the fact that the body count is much lower in politics…usually.

And then I started thinking. Isn’t a fiction writer’s life, or nearly any writer’s life for that matter, almost like a political drama? We see from our predecessors how high we can go, how much we have to gain and lose, how much influence we can have through our works and the life that we can live as a best-selling author or a prestigious journalist or blogger. Our mouths start to water, our thoughts start to churn, and our fingers start to flick over the keyboard.

Writers and politicians both start at the bottom. In both cases, the people you know can play a part in how quickly you ascend and the future connections that you make. In both cases, you have to play your cards right and strategize in order to get exactly where you want to go. There are sacrifices that must be made, hands both physical and digital that you have to shake, deals to make, and hard times that must be endured.

As the stakes are raised, politicians and writers have to be careful of what they say and the image that they project. Politicians rely on their constituents just as writers rely on their readers as well as their publishers in some cases. Write the wrong book, say the wrong thing, associate yourself with the wrong person and you sacrifice your position in the royal court.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we realize that writers want power, even if it’s just a little. Just like politicians. We want the power to create change in the writing and physical world. The power to change our lives. The power to impact the lives of others. The power to fulfill our potential. There’s an undeniable rush that comes with seeing how far we can go, how far we’re willing to go, and what we’re willing to do and sacrifice in order to reach best-seller or presidential status.

Not all writers and politicians have the best of reputations. Some politicians are seen as nothing more than lying, power-hungry crooks just as some writers are considered little more than layabout dream chasers who need to get a “real job.” At the end of the day, both groups are ambitious and willing to see their ambitions through no matter what. Writers give themselves to their writing and their readers just as politicians give themselves to their constituents and their country.

Who’s searching for fool’s gold? Who’s doing it for the wrong reasons? Who’s truly and fully committed to their cause?


In a way, I guess I really am a politician—a politician trying to literally write his own ticket into the Writing White House.