Hey, sorry that I didn’t post yesterday. I know I promised to post on just Tuesdays for the time being, but a few things got in the way. But here I am, so here goes.
I came across this short piece on The Center for Fiction’s website. It’s by author Fiona Maazel, who’s been attracting some attention with her novels. I’ve never heard of her, but what she wrote about what it takes to be a writer says a lot about the process, the discipline and the long-term rewards. So I thought I would like to share it with you.
Maazel talks about how difficult writing is, how hard we writers are on ourselves, and how difficult it is to get our works noticed. I love it when she says, “Ego gets you writing; self-disgust makes you revise”. That’s so true! I’m sure many authors write out their stories because they have the strong will and self-centered attitude to do something that amazing. But when that self-disgust, and self-discipline, sets in, that is when we force ourselves to make our work as great as it can be. Maazel hits the nail on the head when she says ego and self-disgust is a delicate relationship that needs to be balanced.
At the end of this short, yet straightforward piece, Maazel says what many authors agree: “Put in the time, but have fun doing it. Excoriate yourself for writing poorly. Lash out at the gods. Drown in your own self-loathing. Then get up with a smile the next day and do it all over again. There really is nothing better.”
So true. Those words remind me of when I was stopping by a bookstore some years ago, and there was an author who was having a book signing. I don’t remember her name or the name of her book, but I remember what she said to me when I asked her for advice about writing a book. She basically said, “you write because you want to. No one is forcing you to spend hours in front of a computer writing up a story. You do that because you want to.”
It really is true. Both Maazel and that author say it all. We writers do what we do because we can’t help ourselves. We also want to do it well, so we tear ourselves and our work apart. I guess it is best to say, it’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it 🙂