Thursday, October 11, 2012

Writerly Work Ethic: A Well-Earned Cliche?

Forgive me, Type M Community, for I have sinned (last week).

The fact is, I was far too happy (and thus distracted) not to do so.

But I apologizing here and admit that I missed my post last week. You see, I'm happy when I'm writing, and now 30 pages into a new novel, I got distracted, caught up in the new book, and never made my way over to my Type M commitment. I was lost in my own words. How many times have you heard that? A writer claiming to have gotten so involved in his or her book that everything else fell by the wayside while he or she was writing? An excuse? Sure. A cliche? Maybe.

Which brings me to this week's topic.

Writers hate cliches. But lines become cliche for good reason: they are either true or state something in a way that forces others to work hard to come up with something better. One read through Hamlet tells us there are cliches ("There's the rub," for instance), which one would have to work long and hard on to better.

And working hard and long to select precise words and phrases is exactly what we do--and most, believe it or not, enjoy that. In fact, hard work, when one discusses writing, is nearly a cliche, too. I found myself saying lines like these often: "Work ethic counts in this profession." "Write a page a day and in a year you'll have a novel's worth of pages." The list goes on, and like a good cliche, it should go on.

One thing we haven't discussed often here, to my memory, is perseverance or work ethic. I would love to hear what my Type M colleagues have to say on the topic.  

1 comment:

Charlotte Hinger said...

All I know is that ideas start coming when I'm actually working and I love so many things other than working--reading in particular--that it's easy to lie to myself.