(Triple negative in the title – whoah)
I’ve just come back from a book reading and talk by Mark Haddon, author of the world best seller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and HURRRRRAAAAAGH he revealed that he finds writing a GREAT BIG SLOG. He compared it to climbing up a mountain: you struggle, struggle, struggle until eventually you are rewarded with a delicious view.
If you’re like me, you feel sick whenever you hear a successful author bang on about how they ‘get into the flow’ and just create, create, create until BOOM! the book has literally written itself. Because that is not how I write. It’s how I would like to write…it’s how, until tonight, I thought ‘real’ writers were writing. So, how refreshing, and reassuring, to learn that a very successful author finds the writing process a great big pain in the arse.
I’ve always thought that my relationship with creative writing was a little perverted: I find it painful, yet I tell myself that it is the thing I love most – that it’s my life’s purpose. I’ve also had a niggling feeling that because I find the process so painful perhaps I don’t really like it at all…and that I ought to be honest and find another life’s purpose. I thought that real writers love the act of writing, and that that’s what gives their writing the edge over amateurs’.
Interestingly, I love the process of writing for other people, and for businesses. It always flows for me…but I suppose the difference is that it is not my duty to come up with ideas, but to convey other people’s in a creative and effective fashion. I suppose with my business writing, I do it because I love the process…but I rarely get excited by the ‘view’….the view is for other people to enjoy.
I shall now see my struggle with creativity as merely a sign that I am climbing up a very high mountain indeed, which means there’s going to be ONE HELLUVA VIEW at the end of it.
(Mark Haddon was promoting his new book The Red House which sounds very good indeed; I got very excited by the fact that the village in which I grew up is mentioned on the first page. Ah, it’s the trivial things that do it for me.)