I am often asked, “How on earth did you write an entire book?” As though I am some magician who just conjured a rabbit from a hat. But there’s far less mystery involved in the writing of books. People – writers – get ideas and they write them down. They write them down from the beginning to the end. That is how an entire book is written. As Neil Gaiman says, it’s that easy and it’s that hard.
It is art and work intermingled.
Today is one of those days when writing is work.
There are many of these.
That initial spark which lit the fire of your story has softened to a glowing ember and now you have to actually stoke it to get any heat from it. But that’s what you do, you stoke the fire and keep typing. Why? Because there are just days like that. Sometimes the wind of the muses voices stoke the fire for you and on those days writing is easy. Maybe the words aren’t always the best but the work is pleasurable and sentences come effortlessly. Some days writing is a labour. You labour through those days because if you stopped just because you didn’t ‘feel’ it, you would get very little work done in your life.
And when you lump the glorious writing days with the below-par-ordinary days, you get a writing life. And when you live a writing life, you get a fairly nice volume of work. And in that volume of work there is bound to be – thanks to the days of slogging – some really good pieces of work. And some of those good pieces might seem effortless and intriguing to someone else and make them happy to read it. And then you can pat yourself on the back and say, “Good job, writer.”
Sorry to demystify this writing life. It’s not all furious typing with a look of abandoned glee on your face. Some days it’s a stare at your computer and pray that something comes out of your brain and on to the page. Today was one of those days.
But I am a writer. So I write. And so should you. Don’t give up so easily on your dreams.