Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Writing: The Game

"I do not like to write - I like to have written." Gloria Steinem

Here is the fence. On each side are writers. On each side are paths worn to dirt from anxious contemplation of what it will take to leap to the other side. Sure there's the fear that on the other side dwells a big, bad monster who will consume the writers. Not "kill" them or "destroy" them, but "consume" them to a point where springing back across the fence will prove impossible. And, yet, every writer needs what lies on both sides of that fence.

On one side is actual writing: the toil of wrestling with a basic story along with all its posse: style, voice, character, setting, grammar, etc.

On the other side hunches the ugly ogre of marketing. Not merely finding the right "home" for the writer's story, but all its elements: finding an agent; dealing with editors, publishers, publicity departments, printers; developing a fan base; selling the finished product (constructing and maintaining websites; attending conventions and conferences; visiting bookstores, libraries, and schools).

"But all I want to do is write!" one writer says.

"But I love being on the road and meeting other writers!" another writer says.

Of course, any writer can straddle the fence. A lot of "writers" do that quite successfully. Some attribute their location to "writer's block." Or children. The day job. No inspiration. No money. No control. (Fill in the black.)

Still others pace back and forth on their side of the fence. It's a familiar place. Less scary.

Either could readily swing their arms around Gloria Steinem's words: "I do not like to write - I like to have written."

Yeah, less work. Less stress. "I just want success and a gazillion dollars!" more than one writer says.

Stephen King, who retired a couple of years ago after a very successful career as a writer, has announced the publication of yet another new novel. Is this his fourth or fifth since his "retirement"? I think Mr. King likes wrestling with the words more than he confesses. No fences for him.


Ass on the chair and write!

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