Sometimes I get so frustrated by writers crapping on about how hard their job is, and how many drafts they do and what self punishing crap they do to their bodies, so as to extract the story.
I don’t understand why you would want to blog about how hard you find your job. Many of my editors agrees with me. One of them once said to me, ‘I want your readers to feel they are in confident hands when they read your work.’
Boasting about how hard it is for you to write, gives me no confidence with which to read your work, and it’s self-important.
You’re not actually saving lives.
Hemingway ended up slumped in a bathtub with a shotgun in his mouth. Romanticising him and his demons, using his life as a model for you as a writer, is not going to be conducive to creating great work. The same goes for Sylvia Path and Virginia Woolf if they’re your poster girls.
I don’t want to read about how hard your life is as a writer. It’s not hard. A hard life isn’t being a writer. A hard life is one without creativity or freedom or even books. A hard life is being a Christian woman in ‘Muddle East’, as Phillip Adams called on Twitter.
At times, all jobs are hard to do properly and fulfil your obligations to your employer. In my case, my employer is my publisher. I appreciate them and my readers, and so I work hard to ensure the next book is better than the last, so everyone gets something from the exchange.
Any job has it’s tough days, and being a writer is no different but it’s not the worst of occupations. I understand that you have days where the words don’t flow and the idea’s seem like a replicate of something else you read a long time ago.
Extracting ideas from your head and putting them onto the page in a succinct, linear fashion, and pressing and playing with the words until a gem of a sentence appears isn’t always easy. In my experience, the worst part about writing, is the slog. The careful choosing of words required to drive the story forwards.
My rules for writing are as follows:
- Is it funny?
- Does it tell you something about the character?
- Does it push the story forward?
- If it does all three then you’re bloody brilliant!
But really, it’s a good life.