Is it pretentious to name your blog post on writing ‘On Writing’ just like Stephen King named his book on writing ‘On Writing’.
Yes, but here we are. Deal with it.
I will not say that I’m a bad writer, because there are plenty of people ready to say it for me. This is no false modesty – I know I’m not very good – but I’m alright with this because I know I will get better.
What this is, and what I hope to do every week is simply make a post about some of the things I have learned about writing. I’ll probably contradict myself a bit, but that’s ok – I’m a contradictory sort of person.
One thing I’ve learned is that writing is easy.
Yes I said it; writing is fucking easy – see, I’m doing it right now. I must be magic.
What is not always easy is re-reading what you just wrote. My early pieces looked like bad Ann Rice fan fic with lots of big and clever words trying their hardest to eject as much emotion as they could into each sentence. Re-reading it was like chewing sick.
What is even worse is editing what you have written into something that looks like a half formed sentence. All those mistypes, spelling errors and grammatical fuck ups can gang up on a work and make what felt like a fun romp through fairyland into a romp through Romford. Because fuck Romford.
What is even harder to do is make an entire page of this cold sick on a plate writing you just did more like a page of simply ok writing. And then do that with every page.
So, in an overall sort of way, writing is not that easy really.
In fact, it’s a lot of fucking work.
As such it must be treated like work. This means that I have to do it every day. I know, it’s awful isn’t it. To think, I have to get up every day, put on some pants and go do stuff. Fucking criminal.
But in all seriousness it is work. I enjoy it, but that doesn’t make it any less like work. Just like top business type people I need to go to meetings and talk about how to improve sales, attend training, get progress reports and have a lewd workplace affair with Deborah from accounting.
But seriously, it’s a lot of work. Being a writer is like being an entrepreneur (took me three tries to spell that correctly). You have to have an idea. You have to craft your product. You have to market your product and you have to sell that fucking thing. I’m still struggling to do all of these. My novel, the Hoven Institute is on its third draft and I still haven’t found an agent or a publisher willing to take it in. I’ll get there one day, by god I will. If not then I’ll strike a deal with some of my lovely artist friends to do me a cover and have it up on Kindle.
Oh yes; just like work, writing takes discipline. Up every day to write, early as humanly possible, then do other human things and then come back later for the edit. You have to shut yourself off from outside distractions and focus on the work in front of you. Keep writing according to that plan, keep focused on the goal. Do not click on that cat picture/donkey porn link.
For example, I can’t write at home anymore. The temptation to fuck around and look up donkey porn is too enticing. I have to bumble off to the library and hid in a corner like some angry badger in its set. Once I’ve crapped out my word count I can go home and start being a human being again. Even at the library I have to stop myself from killing the children and reading clubs that decide to make the place some sort of rave. I have never wanted to club someone to death as much as I have that little bastard who kept on about Miller’s Death of A Salesman. I like it, sure, but shut up and fuck off.
Oh, another thing; the Muse. You want to write? Fine, get rid of the notion of the Muse. I’ve heard people harp on about how they can only write when the Muse is with them and all I can say to that is; Bollocks!
If you were an electrician then you wouldn’t say ‘I cannot work, alas, as the Fuses are not with me’. Ah, electrician jokes, the cheap gin must be kicking in. Anyway, to sum up my feelings on the Muse I’ll use a quote from someone much smarter than me, Richard Feynman; “when I cannot create I work.”