Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Writing calm.

I love how Robert Boice opens his book, How Writers Journey From Comfort and Fluency,

It was such an environment--a comfortable home, a fragrant garden, an evening walk with gay sisters, an encouraging word from a father who praised and peddled her manuscripts--that put into Jane Austen's novels a fresh air of peace, health, and goodwill, and that gives to her unhurried readers a quiet satisfaction hardly to be found in any other novels. She had learned that the day itself is blessing enough.

(Will and Ariel Durant, The Age of Napoleon)

And then Boice continues,
When we write with both calm and confidence at hand, we work in an ideal state of motivation, one marked by patience and enthusiasm much like Jane Austen's. Without this combination, writers too seldom find their work appealing and comforting; instead, they force writing with a hurried pace, a lagging confidence, and a lingering malaise. As a rule, poorly motivated writers remain ambivalent about writing and inconsistent at turning intentions into actions. The result is misery, silence, or both.

I find even this first paragraph a breath of fresh air. I hear endless stories about scrambling writers working their last nerve trying to finish a book, essay, story, or copy project. They talk about sweating blood and they delight in being miserable. I always wonder about those kind of reports, similar to what ran in the New York Observer a few weeks ago: My Book Deal Ruined My Life.

I read the piece, but was a bit disgusted at these authors' myopic egotistical blatherings.

I kept saying, "yes, but you are writing a book!" and wondered if they truly hated it that much.

I get a lot of comments on this blog that I choose not to publish and a few came in yesterday scoffing at my claims that people should take a few moments from each day to write rather than holing themselves up in a room for months at a time (similar to the writers featured in the Observer story).

I'm only chronicling my journey through writing. If you need to be more miserable than me, go for it. But don't try to convince me how to write a book, go write one.

More writing talk tomorrow.

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