This is Part One of a three-part series on writing. The series incorporates stated views of several well-known writers and their observations about the craft.
After 25 years of writing for business, I started Word Nymph as a place to practice writing for pleasure. You have been patient and gracious guinea pigs.
At key intervals—one month online or the 100th blog post—I have reflected on the lessons I’ve learned. The effort has been underway for about eight months now, with my 200th entry appearing this weekend.
I have never written a book, and likely never will, but I’ve often thought I’d like to give it a try. Nonetheless, I do pay attention to what authors, playwrights and songwriters have observed about the writing process.
American novelist Philip Roth (Goodbye Columbus) was interviewed recently while promoting his new novel, Nemesis. Vanity Fair’s John Heilpern asked Roth, “Do you find writing difficult?” Roth responded, “I find it arduous and un-doable. It’s laden with fear and doubt. It’s never easy—not for me.” I imagine that creative juices, a sharp personal discipline and handsome advances eventually help one over the hurdles.
Even as an amateur blogger, I find I can relate to the observations of a few of the writing maestros:
Stephen King, from his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
Sharon O’Brien – “Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning. I wanted to know what I was going to say.”
James Michener – “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”
John Osborne – “Asking a writer what he thinks about criticism is like asking a lamppost what it feels about dogs.”
Over the next couple of days, I’d like to share insights from other famous writers, including why they write and their techniques for good writing.
Perhaps you have thought of doing more writing. Have you been carrying around a novel idea in your head, or did you read or watch Julie & Julia and think to yourself, I could do that? There’s only one way to find out. Do it.
Don’t be daunted by the comments of Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith, who said, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” Or Gene Fowler, who said, “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”
Just come back tomorrow and Saturday for goodies to put in your writer’s toolbox.