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.


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.


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