“Easy money at the brick factory.”
- William Goldman (legendary two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter, and novelist), on when s*&^ gets hard writing
So, with ARISEN, I always reread the series before I write each new book, mainly to work out where we are in various character arcs, remember obscure setups so I don't forget to pay them off, and just basically know what the hell is going on. But as the series stands at about 1.25 million words now, obviously this has gotten more time-consuming. It got a bit easier when I figured out I could do it while walking from place to place, chopping garlic, etc. i.e. with the audiobooks.
I've finished that listened to the series for the last time, as I'm writing the climax and conclusion now but I guess I got used to using all the interstitial time productively, so now I listen to podcasts. I've long liked Scriptnotes, done by two jobbing Hollywood screenwriters, who really understand the craft as well as the business of storytelling. However, lately, they've veered more from the former to the latter.
So, digging around, I discovered Beautiful Writers when I saw they'd had both Steven Pressfield and Robert McKee (two of my very top muse/gurus), I was sold. Was especially tickled when the last two I listened to McKee and Seth Godin made comments that rhymed perfectly with my recent dispatch on how writing is simply work.
Writing as therapy is really a specious idea. It really is. It's no fun to write. I don't know where people get this notion. I mean, if you're a serious writer, you've got to put a gun to your head to get in the chair.
You've got to face the awfulness of Resistance. And, you know, you're paralyzed constantly by the fear that I'm lying, I don't know what I'm talking about, this is bullshit, this is off. I mean, you know - it's no fun. It's no fun. Writing is just, simply, not fun.
It isn't, you know - it's work!
- Robert McKee
I'm trying to remember the last time I was in the mood to create
. I don't think that comes up very often, for people who do it professionally. You know, I had knee surgery last month and I did not ask the surgeon if he was in the mood
to remove part of my miniscus. Right? You don't want to just have surgery when the guy's in a good mood. You want him to be good at surgery all the time
. So, I think we make a mistake, if we call ourselves a writer, and then talk about how we need to find the right emotional moment to do our writing. What we need to do is write, and then write some more
, and then if we are any good at it, we will edit later, by throwing out the stuff that doesn't sing. But if this was easy, everyone would do it, and they would do it well. The fact that it's hard makes it worth doing. But you have to do it.
Regardless of what mood you're in.
- Seth Godin