May 3, 2006

On Writing...

When I started officially writing - about 2 and a half years ago - I discovered something. Actually, I discovered a lot of things, but some were surprising. There was nothing I could imagine would be more rewarding and exciting than actually being a 'writer', so I was amazed at the people who did just that - and complained about it.

I also discovered there are many, many forms of writing, and very few of us actually get to devote ourselves to the specific form that makes our heart beat wildly. I've discovered novelists masquerading as tech writers, poets writing ad jingles, and columnists writing the news. It's the way it goes, and I don't see much point in whining about it.

Garrison Keillor smacks it about here today and sums it up really well. Of course, he's one of the one's who writes whatever he wants and gets paid for it, so perspective is everything.

I actually went into this with a mid-life wisdom of sorts; one of my heroes, Erma Bombeck, once wrote that writing is work. You set the alarm, you get up, get dressed and sit down at your desk and do the work. Waiting for the muses is not an option. Every successful writer I know realizes this. Very little glamour, usually no glory, but the opportunity to do the only thing that really works. I've had many, many different jobs, and this is the only one that hasn't had me stressed and quitting, or stressed and getting fired, or stressed and dreading Mondays.

I do some tech writing that's about as far from my column stuff as you can get. But the process is the same - get up, get dressed, do the work. I usually average about 12 hours a day at the computer...something I could never do for any other discipline.

I actually believe that everyone does have a book in them, which is the first thing people say when talking to a writer.

The hard part is getting it out.


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