Monday, 11 February 2008

The Secret to Being a Writer

“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!


OSLO said...

You obviously haven't been hanging out with the right people ;-) I studied engineering once upon a time, and now with the help of Facebook and LinkedIn have got back in touch with some of my old college mates. It's incredible the number of them who have emailed me to say - hey, read your article, wow, didn't know you could write - as if I was in fact a literary genius. Unfortunately none of my fiction is out there to impress them but the lesson is, obviously -if you need your writerly ego stroked, hang out with an illiterate engineer; they tend not to think that anyone has a book (or a decent sentence)in them:-)

Women Rule Writer said...

Hi Jo
Thanks for the comment. You probably are a literary genius! Keep it up!
Now to find a few engineers to befriend, hmm...