In Hope Clark's Funds For Writers for May 26 she quotes Neil Gaiman, a multiple award-winning English author of short fiction, novels, graphic novels, and just about everything else that involves writing.
This is his observation, as quoted by Hope: "The process of writing is not necessary an enjoyable one. The process of writing is way up there with ditch digging. You write a novel a word at a time. And this will go on for hundreds of pages."
And then he continues with: "There are two kinds of writing. What you do when every word drops from your finger like glittering diamonds and it just comes out in such an enthusiastic rush, and you just sit there and a few hours later, you look up and it's magic. And then there are days where you sit down, where everything's a pain, and every word's stupid, and it's all so boring. But you know you have to write it."
He finishes the observation with: "The sad thing is a year later when you get the galley proofs and you're reading it again, sometimes for the first time since you wrote it, you suddenly realize that you can't remember which is which."
That is all so true, though I personally never experience boredom when writing. Even when I struggle and accomplish two or three sentences in an hour, I never find it boring.
I've had writing sessions where the words are just there, awaiting only my ability to write them down. I did not have to think about them or struggle to find the best one or two. They were all available, the best words in the correct order to convey the message I wanted—be that part of the overall theme or just the bad-ass nature of the hero or villain or the sad circumstances of the victim. I had a lot of those wonderful moments while writing Witchery and Just Lucky.
Other times I've had to struggle to find just that one perfect word. When, after many minutes of thought and voicing total dissatisfaction with my mental processes I either discover the word or relent and settle for a second-place phrase, I reread the sentence in context of what comes just before and realize the whole damn paragraph doesn't belong there. It belongs two paragraphs earlier. I had a lot of those in Just Lucky also, and am having plenty in Saving Atlantis.
The cut-and-paste feature of word processing is a tool so valuable I sometimes wonder how authors ever managed without it.
And Mr. Gaiman is correct also in his observation that a year later you re-read it and you can't recall which parts were struggles and which were the effortless flow.
I want to repeat some serious advice to all of you who consider yourselves writers, or want to do so someday, or even just want to expand your horizons in the writing universe.
Subscribe to C. Hope Clark's Funds For Writers newsletter. It is one of those rarities in this world that, though free, is worth much more than you pay for it. Or, pay $18.75 for one year (26 issues) and receive the Total Funds For Writers.
An even better option is to buy an autographed copy of one of Hope's books and then email the receipt to Hope and receive Total Funds For Writers free for one year.
And that is it for this session. My presence is required outside, helping the boss put seeds and seedlings into the ground.
Thank you once again, and take time not just on Memorial Day, but often, to appreciate the sacrifices our veterans and their families have made for our country.
God bless the United States, and please keep our country safe from those who would subvert her purpose and her heritage, both foreign and domestic.