Being a writer is fun.
Being a writer is spending all day in your imagination,
Flying over mountains,
Swimming deep in oceans,
Making someone a saint,
Falling in love, again, again, again,
Sometimes a wedding,
Sometimes a funeral,
Saving wild animals,
Seeing it from everyone’s point of view, and no-one’s.
All of the above.
And of course it’s fun – that’s why we do it. But it’s also very hard work.
A desk job that you can do at almost any desk or sofa. That leaves you elated and exhausted in equal turns.
Full of doubts.
And that’s the dreamy creative, focussed outpouring bit.
But a massive part of it is editing, editing, editing.
And that’s really hard work. When it’s going well, it can be like stepping stones, wonderful paths that suddenly make sense and lead you on with silver promises of a story resolved. Other times it’s a dreadful slog. Sometimes boring, and sometimes challenging, and sometimes very nearly impossible.
It requires a totally different part of the brain. The one that changes all the “ to ‘ except when it’s a ‘.
The part of the mind that spends half an hour thinking up an alternative phrase, trying every combination of words to keep the rhythm but improve the meaning.
The one that works out, to its horror, that the basic premise of the story is, in fact, too far fetched. That the central character is unappealing.
And after rewriting and rewriting and rewriting, (seven years of it)
The one that compares a manuscript to to its original, and finds that of 52,000 words, only 2500 remain.
That is being a writer.