Monday, June 08, 2009

So, What's Your Method?

Whenever I walk past my computer, I'm compelled to sit for just a moment, and when I do, words pour forth beautifully and effortlessly from my fingers. I frequently find myself laughing aloud with joy at this enchanting experience. My characters amuse and amaze me so; writing is much like reading along, for me. The story has a mind of its own and simply tells itself!

Did I oversell it?

Writing is not like that for me at all.

I enjoy the movies based on Nick Hornby's books (High Fidelity, About a Boy) and have been meaning to read the novels. His British sense of humor is very much my cup of tea. (Sorry for that one.) So I was excited to read Barrie Summy's review of A Long Way Down on her blog last week, and was thrilled by her quote about Hornby's writing process:

From the author's website, here's a description of a typical day: 'I have an office round the corner from my home. I arrive there between 9:30 and 10 a.m., smoke a lot, write in horrible little two-and-three sentence bursts, with five-minute breaks in between. Check for emails during each break, and get irritated if there aren't any. Go home for lunch. If I'm picking up my son I leave at 3:30. If not, I stay till six. It's all pretty grim! And so dull!'

Yay! Vindication of my method! OK, so I don't smoke. But I do drink coffee instead.

It's not fashionable to talk about writing being hard. It's all about how lucky one is to be able to do something so fun for a living. Writing is supposed to be like . . . play! One just sits at the computer as the muse takes over!

I believe that it's like that for some people. But clearly, not for everyone.

Hearing that it's hard, sometimes boring work for other writers feels really good to me. It's vindication. My struggles at the keyboard don't mean I'm not cut out to be a writer.


Barrie said...

It can definitely be hard. And lonely.

Sarahlynn said...

And it's weird. Sometimes I'm writing along, thinking, "I'm such a hack. This is so boring. No one will read this; it's like watching grass grow."

And then much later, when I reread, I think, "Hey, this is not to bad! Parts of it are actually funny!"

So the hard work doesn't always show, which is good!

Sarahlynn said...

"not so bad!" That "to" was a typo, not a homonym mistake!

sarah said...

I'm not a writer, I'm a painter and that describes the time I spend in my basement studio so well. I complain about the frustrating process to my very supportive husband, but he doesn't quite get it, as he will make a comment like, "But you love painting!"

Sarahlynn said...

I also love having worked out a whole lot more than I love working out. Writing/creating is a little like that for me, plus a whole added layer of - wow! I did that! I made that! That came completely from inside me and now it's a whole real thing! And I like it!

Sarahlynn said...

Oh! Sarah! Hi!