Friday, August 11, 2006

The Writing Life

Don’t worry.  I haven’t forgot about discussing the journey of my published works.  I’ll get to the rest soon.


Infuze has a good interview with Melanie Wells, author of the “Day of Evil” series.  I would put down the web address, but since I now blog from my e-mail, I’m not sure the link would transfer.  If you want to read the entire interview, there is an Infuze link over to the right of my blog.


Writing is hard work.  If it were easy, then everyone would be doing it.  And just like anything else that is hard, the rewards can be great.  And I’m not talking about monetary awards, although they are nice when they come along.  Few people make a living of just writing and even fewer people become wealthy from it.  The satisfaction is in the process, in the end product, in the know that you have created something out of nothing.  Like Melanie says, the best part of the writing process is “holding the book in my hand the day it comes off the press.”


But it’s the next question and answer that got me to post this.  The interviewer asks, “Is there any part of writing you loathe?”  Melanie answers, “Um . . . all of it?  Writing is much too solitary for me.  I usually feel a little foggy and grumpy after I’ve spent a day writing.  I don’t think I could do it full time.  And though I love spinning the story, creating and developing characters and writing snappy dialogue, the actual doing of it is tedious.  It’s like being constipated all the time.  You’re constantly straining to get something out of your brain.”


People who don’t write seem to think that there is something surreal about the writing process, particularly the fiction writing process.  It’s as if we sit on the porch of a cabin by the lake and the words pour out of us as the squirrels scurry about and the birds fill the air with chirping.  Trust me, most writers would like to live that life, but we can’t afford to rent the cabin, much less own one.  And at times the words flow, but more often we are trying to force it out, or as Melanie says, “Straining to get” it out.  Work is work, no matter what it is.  Some people like to write as a hobby because it’s fun, but when something changes and that hobby becomes a job, the fun seems to deteriorate and some of the joy is lost.  That’s why it’s important to work at something you love, no matter what it is.  Life is too short not to enjoy it.


Melanie also talks about being a musician, which ties in nicely with what I want to talk about next week.  She says, “Writing is very much like music.  As a classically trained musician, growing up listening to jazz and symphonic literature, I learned how to deconstruct a composition while I was listening to it.  You listen for theme and timbre and rhythm and voice and structure.  And you pick it apart and then synthesize it into a whole and you do the whole thing unconsciously after a while.  Writing is the same thing – I use all those skills very naturally, which is by, I think, my books seem to have a natural rhythm and continuity that works.” 


I believe all art has the same basic tenants.  An artist can learn by studying different forms of art and applying those forms.  Melanie has seen the connection between music and writing.  And I want to talk more about God’s connection to music and how we can apply that to writing.  That’s the plan for next week’s discussion.





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