February 26, 2010

So, You’re a Writer, Too?

I’m afraid today’s post is a bit of a rant.

I was talking to someone the other day who said, “Oh, I have a book in my head. All I have to do is write it down!” Every writer’s heard this at one time or another.

The person who said this was well meaning. They just wanted to make a connection. “See how we’re similar! We’re both writers.” I will grant them that. I love the fact that they were interested in books and writing and that they want to be a writer. Heck, I want to be a writer.

Ah, but the phrase “all I have to do is write it down.” That’s like saying, “I’ve got plans to build a rocketship to the moon all in my head. All I have to do is build the rocket.” Or “I’ve got some great plans for a city. I think I’ll call it Rome. Now all I have to do is build it.” Or “Oh, you’re only a mother? A father?”

Yes, it’s naivete on their part. They’ve never tried to actually write a book, so they don’t know what goes into it.

BUT, damn, I worked on my first novel for SEVEN YEARS (and I wrote lots of short stories and other things in that time frame and worked a full-time job and freelance and got my master’s). My second, FOUR, and I have been sending it out to agents for another year. I know I can do it faster, as I’m learning as I go, but still.

Sigh.

What I’m Reading Today: Joyce Maynard’s very moving personal essays, including “The Stories We Tell.” Oh, the amazing courage it took to tell these stories, and the depth and nuance she gives them.

2 comments:

Pembroke said...

What? You mean writing a book isn't easy? My favorite is when I tell people that I have some stuff published, and they look at me and say, "Wow, you must be RICH!" It's all I can do to keep from laughing...

Tamara said...

Yes! And this person was going to write the next- wait for it - Harry Potter. hehehehehehehehe