Thursday, March 28, 2013

Writing Quote XV

It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer. Those who do not do this remain amateurs.

Gerald Brenan (British author and historian)

Seems obvious, doesn’t it? I can’t tell you how many times people, on learning what I do, have said, ‘Oh, I’d love to write a book!’ To which the obvious, if not slightly antagonistic response would be, ‘Would you like me to lend you a pencil?’

What we writers do is a seductive proposition. At its core, our lot is to tell stories – lies, even – for a living. We get to make things up, say what we think, research topics that interest us, create worlds, play God for a season, discover wonders we might never have discovered otherwise. And at the end of that, the fortunate amongst us see our work produced and handed over to an audience, at which point the tight shoulders and long nights and innumerable cups of coffee are magically forgotten. Yes indeed, it’s a very seductive proposition.

But it doesn’t come easily. It very rarely happens by accident. Like anything that’s worth having, it takes serious work to acquire and maintain.

There’s nothing wrong with being an amateur. After all, an amateur has something no professional has – the option of walking away when it gets too hard.

So, which are you?

1 comment:

JB Thomas said...

Hm. That's an interesting question. I'm an amateur right now because I work full time as a teacher. I don't work on a manuscript every day because when I am tired, I censor every word and become depressed at how bad the writing is. So I walk away and work on other things, like blog posts, or sketching out character profiles. Having said that, I have the advantage of 12 weeks' annual leave, and that's a great time to get some writing done.