In a previous post I said that I don’t have a process for my writing. And now, in the rest of this blog, I’m going to try to tell you what it is. So far so logical.
But that’s the thing about writing. It isn’t. Logical I mean.
It isn’t organised, and it isn’t pretty.
Most of the time it isn’t even fun.
OK, sometimes it’s fun. Do you think? Please comment.
It definitely isn’t a way to make a living. If you ask most writers why they do it, they might have some clever answer prepared, but the truth is, they don’t know. They just can’t seem to stop.
Most of us do it because we can’t not.
But there’s probably still time for you. Get out now, while you can.
No, really. If you think you want to be a writer, my first suggestion is …
Here’s a quote:
If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, … shoot them now, while they’re happy.
Or maybe I’m still not being completely honest.
(Here’s a word of wisdom that I am certain about: If something sounds clever, you should suspect it. Inspect it. There’s another quote somewhere that I vaguely remember: something about ‘words that are beautiful and may or may not be true’.)
Yes. You should suspect it when writers say they know how to write novels, and you should also suspect the ones who say it’s a horrible experience.
Because we keep fronting up, don’t we? There must be something we like about it. Well, with regard to that … I can’t exactly explain this, but I could have a go …
This is why I write.
Producing something — even if it’s not what you first hoped, even if it’s only a bit good and it’s also a bit disappointing — producing something out of nothing is about the most satisfying, exhilarating, life-affirming experience there is. Once you’ve been doing it for a while you start to think it’s the most important thing you could do.
Then it becomes almost impossible to stop. After that point, if you are not creating something your life feels … less.
Are you like this? I really am interested to hear.
Over the years, I’ve received some praise and some encouragement for my writing. And I’ve received a lot more advice and constructive suggestion. And I’ve had some really scathing criticism, including one anonymous reader (the really unhelpful ones stay anonymous) who told me my writing had no charm.
ME? NO CHARM?
What am I supposed to do with that?
Is there any response to that, except giving up?
Here’s a helpful comment.
A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. **
Anyway, what I’m saying is, when you see writers giving talks and receiving awards … this is the good bit. Behind the scenes there’s a lot of other stuff, and some of it is not nice.
If you are determined to be a writer, you’re in for a lot of pain.
But there are ways of dealing with pain. And no matter what the world throws at you, it probably won’t stop you. Because if you’ve got this far with this blog, you’re probably pretty keen.
You’re probably like the rest of us. You’re going to keep writing, wherever you are, whatever the world throws at you. Even when you’re told to walk away and not look back.
You are going to keep writing … Because you can’t not.
*1959 November, Esquire, Book Reviews by Dorothy Parker, Start Page 26, Quote Page 28, Column 4, Published by Arnold Gingrich, Esquire Inc., Chicago, Illinois.
**This is something attributed to, but not said by, Richard Bach (see http://richardbach.com/famous-quotes-i-didnt-write/). Haha, what was I saying about the hall of mirrors? But it’s good isn’t it? I think he should be allowed to keep it.
Thanks to these people for the images.
“Chaos”, by Levelord on Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/chaos-room-untidy-dirty-messy-627218/
“The Acting Manager” by Walter Sickert on Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HelenCarte1885.jpg
“The Bitter Draught” by Adriaen Brouwer (circa 1605/1606–1638) – mgF1ctFQ6hIcQA at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29097420