Even in non-fiction one has to distance themselves from the information to become objective and create a flow. You have to think, research, create a hook, think of the psychology behind your characters, think of how to strategize and all that takes time. Did I say think several times? Concentration is required.
It’s only an uninformed person who believes that once you have the material you simply speed away at the computer.
When I was a columnist writing on philanthropy and the arts, I once encountered technical problems. With a deadline approaching, I borrowed my brother’s home office. My sister-in-law was surprised that my 750 word column took me an hour and a half to complete. Being a reader she was right-on. Not everyone is that astute. What I didn’t tell her is that I had already spent 2 hours thinking and planning my strategy.
Over the years, I’ve come to experience the certainty of my statement. It doesn’t get easier or go any faster. It’s a process. If you’re a writer, you have to write. But writing can be difficult.
In fiction, the days when inspired beauty flows straight from the brain of God via your computer into the world are few. It has to come through you, which is why you need quiet, solitude and space to concentrate. Even then, it can be a lot of staring at the blank screen, or writing a sentence only to delete it, or trying to get into the head of a character who persists in remaining opaque.
New forms can be either very exciting or very challenging. The best time-out is to read. But then one has to be careful that what you write is authentically yours and not something that got buried into your unconscious as a recapitulization of another’s labor.
It takes truth to stay focused and commit to what you write on paper.
Unfortunately, despite their integrity, writers are not appreciated. Because it’s not a visible art form until it’s completed which takes time, and no one can see or connect with what’s going on in your head, it gets undermined. It’s not like speaking. Speaking tolerates mistakes, writing does not. Considered the most difficult art, as a human art, it takes logic, skill, practice and creativity. Both hemispheres of your brain have to perform and be adept. Writing requires that you use them systematically and intelligently. There is no cookie-cutter technique.
A painter may have before him the beauty of nature, the sculptor the figure or cast, the musician sheet music, a dancer their body, but a writer must relate sound wholly to a character. An imagination must be used to draw a mental picture and correlate language to move an audience emotionally. And that is why all artists need the writer. So that the writer can transmit their artistic message and form a mood.
Writing as the art of expression has to be easy to read and well executed. It’s got to have form and movement to create an entire world. The medium is wholly abstract— relying on visual symbols: words, you have a recipe for an art that takes a long time to learn and great labor to enact.
And just when you think you are done, you’re not. Just like death and taxes, you can always count on re-writes. No one is exempt except for the novice who mistakenly believes they are finished.
Finally, there is a massive amount of rejection, where you have to pick yourself up and go again, even when you feel fragile.
So there you have it, reader, not the easiest road but the one I chose and that I pledge my allegiance to, heart, mind and soul.
Do you agree or disagree with my statements and why? I’d love to hear your comments.