Thursday, July 2, 2009

Craft Issue #7: On Getting the Job Done

Summertime, and the livin' is easy! - right?

Not for those of us obsessed with writing. I've just received the first edit letter and comments on my novel, FAITHFUL, and I've got a lot of work to do. Nothing horrific - just a lot of polishing and cutting and deep digging to get it right.

Creativity is a tricky thing. You might think that creative artists are lit by a fire from within. That the creative spark is given as a blessing only to some...or that it is given as a blessing only at certain times. I hate to spoil the idea of the creative artist as someone who has it easy, who just receives the messages and lays fingers on the keyboard and out comes glory. Nope. Creativity is like bricklaying. Hard work.

This video, of a talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE, is inspirational. She evokes in a distinctly original way one of my favorite maxims, which comes courtesy of children's author Jane Yolen: BIC. Behind in Chair, to put it nicely. Like the bricklayer, I get up in the morning and sit down and go to work, laying one brick down at a time, stepping back occasionally to examine the structure, taking a row or two of bricks out (with a hammer), and generally sweating through the effort.

The June 22 issue of THE NEW YORKER magazine has a fascinating peek ("Real Romance", by Lauren Collins) into the working life of best-selling author Nora Roberts, who has written 182 novels at a typical pace of 5 per year. She works 6 to 8 hours a day. 27 Nora Roberts books are sold every minute. This is a lady who definitely keeps BIC. (I like the fact that this picture of Ms. Roberts shows her holding "hearts on fire". Is it about her books? Or about her own writing passion?)

So, I'll be busy this summer. Busy with edits. Busy with my newest work in progress. Oh, and yes, I will be a bit busy enjoying the green mountains and blue sky.

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