Monday, March 14, 2011

Shattering The Myth

Writing isn't a transcendental, mystical experience - it isn't about a feeling of magic when the words miraculously appear on the page. Writing is fucking hard work. Years of fucking hard work. Decades of it.

Writing is getting up early for the day job after editing your latest novel well into the wee small hours. Writing is squeezing in a few hundred words on your lunch break while your workmates are trying to bug you with trite comments about last night's TV. Writing is sitting at the dining room table working on a chapter while your wife tries to talk to you, and sitting with you laptop on your knees while your kid plays at your feet. Writing is sitting in front of a computer long after midnight, when you really should be sleeping.

Writing is like making a cabinet or putting up a shelf. Everything has an order, a sequence, and it's important that the right parts go in the right places. Writing is making sure you don't lose the screws or misplace the screwdriver. Writing is all about learning a craft that might just produce art.

Writing is what you do when you don't know how to not write.

12 comments:

williemeikle said...

Every word true. Nicely said.

Zakgirl said...

Loved today's post.

Thank you.

Zak.

Gary Mc said...

Thanks, guys. I guess I'm just a bit tired of a lot of that high-brow "suffering artist" stuff I see in various places on the web.

Mark West said...

Great post, Gary and very true.

Steve said...

Great post, mate. I loved that.

FishSama said...

True words, Gary.

Weirdmonger said...

...although writing fiction *can* be mystical or magical, I suggest. The writing of LOST, for example, and King's huge DARK TOWER series of novels I sense are not pre-planned but absorb a certain amount of "binding power" from who knows what forces out there.

And I found a lot of stuff ostensibly unintended by the authors when real-time reviewing their work, or things they often *say* were unintended. I think writing may be mystical whether the author recognises it or not?

Charles Rudkin said...

Spot on, mate

mdlachlan said...

I agree with a lot of this. Just doing a synopsis and hadn't a clue. By sitting at the keyboard and not allowing that thought to interfere, just keeping the fingers moving, I've come up with something I really like.
That said, there's nothing better than the feeling that your writing is just arriving from the ether, when a character appears and says 'hello, I'm afraid this book is about me now'.
I think the truth is that all arts worth their name have large elements of craft and graft in them.

Mick Curtis said...

T recall Ramsey saying, at a convention many years back, that writing is a craft, not an art, which pretty much echoes what you've said here, Gary.

Martin said...

Amen, brother!

Martin said...

P.S. I referenced this post on my blog, I put a link in to this one, I hope I've done it right and not stolen anything...