Thursday, April 02, 2009

Writing is Hard

It's day number two of Blog Every Day April! Once this blog is done I'll be two for two! Go, me!

So they tell you that writing is hard, that life as a writer is a hard life, blah blah blah. And you go, yeah, sure. I get it. What's the big deal? I write something out of my genius brain, people love it, it gets published and makes a lot of money. You'll see this attitude in folks everywhere. You know, the ones who don't write.

I can't tell you how often people have said something like, "Hey! I've got a great idea for a book/TV show/movie! I'll tell it to you and you can write it and we'll make lots of money!"

Uh, no.

"No really! It's the most fantastic-est idea ever! All you have to do is write it!"

Um, no. Thanks. But no.

"Okay, well, who in the industry can I sell this idea to? Just point the way and I'll go sell it and be rich, rich I tell you!"

It doesn't work like that. Get a clue.

Ideas are easy, people. Ideas are a dime a dozen. If writing them down is so damn easy, then go take your brilliant idea and write it and make your own million dollars. Leave me out of it.

Truth is - it's the writing that's hard. People can look at your book/script/poem/whatever and say - why don't you make your main character do X instead of Y? Add a lesbian scene. Add texture, add depth, add puppies and kittens and rainbows. They say this gaily, as if they know how amazing their ideas are and how grateful you are to hear them. Then they sail away, dusting off their hands in satisfaction. Problem solved!

Well, no. There's still this pesky thing called writing that has to happen. Writing is more than just jotting down ideas. It's more than characters, plot, texture, scenary, puppies, and kittens. It involves staring at a blank page, knowing that out of all the words in the English language, you have to pick the exact right words to convey all this depth, all this tension, all these rainbows and unicorns and dancing elves. You not only have to have the idea, you have to have the bricks, the mortar, and the know how to use them. You are architect, contractor, and home owner all in one. You have to entertain, enlighten, amuse. There's pacing, plotting, syntax, vocabulary, metaphor, theme and which breed of puppy to consider. The possibilities are infinite, and you have to pinpoint the perfect needle in the midst of that Milky Way sized haystack.

So writing is hard. After you're done writing, you then have to find someone who likes it enough to pay you for it. And that's just as hard as the writing. It's not for the faint-hearted. It's not for the egotistical. You will get beat down and discouraged. You will work long hours alone with no one to tell you how brilliant you are. You will be rejected, over and over again. You will scramble to find hours in the day to write, then when you do sit down, your mind will be blank. The muse will not come.

If you have to write anyway, do it. The world needs people of determination and character who can face these problems down and keep moving forward. But remember, it's no picnic. It's not even a dinner party. It's hard. Now get to work.

1 comment:

A said...

It's the same for businesses and especially start up companies. The idea is just one step toward success. The execution (writing) is the much harder part, because that's where the details are - the hard choices, the constrained resources, the limited skills, etc. I work with clients all the time on these issues.