a learnable craft

shut up and write
shut up and write

Conversation with Deborah Bouziden, continued…
DB: Do you have a set writing schedule? If yes, what is it? If not, please explain how you work. I read that you write your drafts in a spiral notebook with a pen. Why do you think that process works for you?
SW: Since writing is my job (see yesterday’s post), I go to writing the way I would go to any other job–regularly and on a mostly-daily basis. What I love about my job is that it varies. Some days, I sit with my pen and notebook, and dream and make stuff up and write it down. Other days I’m at the computer, dictating pages (reading from the handwritten draft) or working on revisions. Or I might be listening to music and making a collage of images and objects that evoke my book-in-progress. You might even catch me creating a playlist for the book or (it has to be said) taking care of business, like responding to this interview, updating my web site or doing whatever PR my publicist has come up with. The reason this works for me is (surprise) that I love my work.
Just an aside–many emerging writers I meet are looking for a free pass or special formula that will finally kick their asses in gear and get them to finish and publish their novel. Newsflash–and we all knew this on some level–there is no mystique to this process. It’s a craft. A tough one, yes, but a learnable craft. Sure, there is that element of talent that can’t be taught, but that’s the easy part. Craft is the hard part. If it was easy, everyone would do it. It’s not easy. It’s work. We love it but it’s still work, still a challenge, still out of reach of anyone except those who have the passion for it.
Readers might want to take a look at Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, an examination of how real-world people achieve excellence and success. Here, I’ll give away the shocker ending: Work hard.

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0 Responses

  1. I guess I’d just as well be brutally honest here, as I was on Barbara Hannay’s blog the other day. (Though that bit of honesty concerned tea cups.)

    Today’s brutally honest comment is that I work *at* writing all day, almost every day, but I accomplish much less than I should. Yes, I have some publishing credits, and a couple more books coming out this year, but none of them are huge books, and they didn’t take terribly long to write.

    If I were as disciplined as you, Susan, I could do better. Not that I’ll ever be you–looks as if you’ve got that covered–but I’ve got a ways to go to be the best possible version of me.

    Does this series of blogs come with a therapist’s couch?

  2. I guess I’d just as well be brutally honest here, as I was on Barbara Hannay’s blog the other day. (Though that bit of honesty concerned tea cups.)
    Today’s brutally honest comment is that I work *at* writing all day, almost every day, but I accomplish much less than I should. Yes, I have some publishing credits, and a couple more books coming out this year, but none of them are huge books, and they didn’t take terribly long to write.
    If I were as disciplined as you, Susan, I could do better. Not that I’ll ever be you–looks as if you’ve got that covered–but I’ve got a ways to go to be the best possible version of me.
    Does this series of blogs come with a therapist’s couch?

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