Sunday, July 01, 2012

Things You Love Don't Owe You

I ran across an article about writing a book that made me stop and ponder for a while. Agent extraordinaire Janet Reid posted about the article yesterday. This article, by Corinne Purtill for Salon, was titled "My book was a bad idea" and went on about the trials and tribulations of writing a novel for the author. Please, go read the article before you click the jump. I'll wait... it really isn't that long.

I understand the writer's frustration about the labor involved in writing her novel. It is hard work. It is a labor of love. It is everything everyone tells you it is, and every single second of the trials and tribulations is worth it. 100% worth it, so long as you are writing for the right reasons. If you are writing to make a blockbuster deal, sell millions of books, and run the talk show circuit... then happen to do so, awesome! Good job pulling that off. If you are writing for the above reasons and then it doesn't happen, sucks to be you. All your hard work is down the drain.

I'm not going to make up statistics here, but I'm not going out on a limb when I say that folks writing for prestigious awards and their 15 minutes of fame are doing it wrong almost every time. It just doesn't happen often enough to make that kind of effort worth it to me. Why spend a year or five agonizing "over every sentence" when you could be experiencing the joy that is writing something real and then sharing it with whomever decides to read it?

I'm not saying that going over a manuscript with a magnifying glass and picking apart every last sentence is wrong. And in no way am I saying that it is fun. But it is part of the job of being a writer. There is no formula for the perfect novel. There are so many good novels wasting away in the bins of used book stores, desk drawers of aspiring novelists, and sitting in the documents file of others. Getting that blockbuster deal, the millions of sales, the circuit... its almost a crap shoot. It is luck. But it is also through a lot of hard work and determination of seeing things through and refusing to give up.

I did like part of the article and it is really what made me ponder. The author said:
My relationship with writing today is neither glamorous nor exciting. We will not get each other into fancy places; we will not make anyone rich. We have fallen instead into a pattern much closer to the comfortable grooves of love: two homebodies shuffling around the same desk, battling frustration and disappointment, witnessing failure and choosing, against all odds, to stay.

So the author is going to continue writing, even though her first and second novels have not given her the limelight she craves. That is the spirit! I hope anyone that reads this full article will not skip that last bit because it really is the most important part. The perseverance to continue writing after rejection is the hardest part, even though many people (even me) have said that the hardest part is battling the blank page. The blank page is the first hurdle. Keep jumping!

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

No comments: