Friday, 8 July 2011

Don't be prissy, yeah?

I stumbled upon this quote today, over at AdviceToWriters, and had to share it. It's from Richard Ford. I think it's pretty spot-on.

Beware of writers who tell you how hard they work. (Beware of anybody who tries to tell you that.) Writing is indeed often dark and lonely, but no one really has to do it. Yes, writing can be complicated, exhausting, isolating, abstracting, boring, dulling, briefly exhilarating; it can be made to be grueling and demoralizing. And occasionally it can produce rewards. But it's never as hard as, say, piloting an L-1011 into O'Hare on a snowy night in January, or doing brain surgery when you have to stand up for 10 hours straight, and once you start you can't just stop. If you're a writer, you can stop anywhere, any time, and no one will care or ever know. Plus, the results might be better if you do.

Richard Ford

From Advice to Writers by Jon Winokur


Dave King said...

Well said. The activities are legion that are harder than writing!

Teresa Stenson said...

Hey Dave, I can't quite make out what your comment means, it's the expression 'The activities are legion' I can't get a grip on.

Anonymous said...

this got me thinking. it wouldn't have occurred to me to compare professions at all. the piloting and the surgery: you can't do them (well) unless you're passionate about them, same with writing. i wonder why richard ford is defensive (a form of attack) of writers who say "how hard they work", though. does he feel he's not working hard enough? otherwise, if the message is: keep a perspective, it's a good one.

Teresa Stenson said...

I read it as a perspective-keeping bit of advice.

The 'Beware of writers who tell you how hard they work' element, I think, comes from a feeling that creative people sometimes get (myself very included) that what they are doing isn't important, not really - how can it be in the face of how much awfulness there is everywhere? Who gives a **** really that you're writing? It's (often, not always) quite a selfish pursuit.