“The real secret is to do it because you love writing rather than because you love the idea of being a Writer.” Iain Banks
Hear! Hear! Mr Banks. Writing takes commitment and enjoyment. Real, honest commitment and some enjoyment. A friend said to me at my book launch: “I think I’ll get into this writing game; it’s great.” Book launches are my least favourite part of the writing life. People think you are being funny or coy when you say that, but it’s true. I can enjoy other people’s launches but not my own. It is stress of the worst kind: public stress. I am like a lunatic for about a week beforehand; on the day itself, I am unbearable, even to myself.
Another friend told me he was going to write a book. “Sure, everybody has a book in them,” he said. No, they don’t. Most people wouldn’t know how to tell a story if their life depended on it. I can’t tell jokes, he can’t write. I attempt to tell jokes and do so badly. He hasn’t, as yet, written this book that is “in” him.
I think the problem is that most Western people are literate. They can hold a pen and write words, so they think that that is writing. I bet my friend wouldn’t say to an artist at her exhibition: “Everybody has a painting in them.” There is a perception about visual art that it is difficult, but every person who can write a shopping list thinks s/he can write.
It drives me mad!