Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Will to Write

Today is the day after Thanksgiving here in the States (I’m writing this on Friday). I spent a couple of hours today trying to get myself back into work mode by scrubbing out my toaster oven. There’s nothing like brainless physical activity to clear the mind. And to paraphrase a quote from Kwai Chang Caine, it’s very nice to make things clean.

I’m always fascinated by how each of us gears herself up for the task of writing. A few weeks ago I read an interview with Walter Mosely. The interviewer asked him how he manages the difficult task of making himself sit down day after endless day and write. Mosely replied that it isn’t a problem for him, since he loves the act of writing. He said it’s like having to have sex every morning. It may be his job, but he still enjoys it very much.

I wish I were the same. I don’t love it, as a rule, especially when I’m just beginning a new work. I love the ideas, I love working out the details of the story. I love the imagining. But for me writing the first draft is like writing a term paper. What I really love - the endorphin rush for me - comes when I am finished, or nearly so. Then I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and amazement that I created something that I like so much. Because like Peter advised in yesterday’s entry, I always write what I like to read.

Barbara’s intriguing blog entry last Wednesday addressed the rapidly changing promotional landscape for us non-blockbuster, mid-list authors. How are we going to get the word out there about our books, especially now that traditional book stores are dropping like flies? Last May, Libby Fischer Hellmann did a guest entry for us here on Type M outlining her plan to publish and promote her first original work on Kindle. On December 14, she returns to let us know how it went. I’m anxious to hear what she learned about promotion and the cyber world.


5 comments:

peter_may said...

You can come and scrub out my oven, too, if you like, Donis. I figure the more you scrub the better your writing will be. Oh, and btw, my attic could do with clearing out...

Hannah Dennison said...

I am miserable writing the first draft of any new work. Horrible to be around, bad-tempered, filled with fear that I can't do it --- but once that first draft is done, I don't exactly hurry to my computer every day, but I am a little happier. But as with cleaning out a toaster, it's all part of the preparation to write -- I'm considering re-decorating my entire apartment before I start my new book this time ...

peter_may said...

Hannah, I have some rooms that need painted...

Donis Casey said...

I'm an excellent wall painter, Peter.

Hannah Dennison said...

Peter ... that would be in France, yes? I have some vacation time coming up ...